The honorifics for the passing of Taos Sen. Carlos Cisneros were entirely appropriate. Carlos was a union man, from the molybdenum mine near Questa, and this was different in a legislature full of lawyers, retired educators, and a few farmers. Union leaders are almost by definition “populists,” and Carlos stuck up for small farmers defending their access to the acequias versus efforts by big money landowners and corporations to take it from them.
The same forces, just with different corporate names and titles, have been behind the corruption of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nothing prevents these mega-corporations from loading up the American diet with junk food, carcinogens, and sweeteners like aspartame that are metabolized as formaldehyde. Indeed, almost no one is left to protect the public from this biochemical feast called the “American Diet.”
Early in the first years of the New Millennium, I brought about legislation to create a cabinet secretary for Nutrition and Consumer Protection. Carlos was the first sponsor thereof, later followed by Rep. Max Coll of Santa Fe, then- Senate President Pro Tem Ben Altamirano, and finally by Albuquerque Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino. All but Ortiz y Pino have passed on.
What killed each and every effort to pass this legislation? Corporate lobbyists from Coca-Cola, the restaurateurs’ association, the soft drink association, etc., all lined up out the door to testify that they didn’t like these bills.