Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tonight We Celebrate!!!

A personal message from Benny Shendo, Jr:

Tonight while the votes are still being cast and counted, whether we win, lose or draw, we will celebrate! All are welcome to join us at the Senior Center in Jemez Pueblo starting at 6:45 pm.

We are celebrating the hard-earned results of a six-month, genuine grass-roots campaign, with lots of hard work from staff and volunteers from all across Northern New Mexico.

And I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for your support, your trust, and your hard work!

We are celebrating the success of bringing thousands of northern New Mexicans into the political process, many of whom had previously felt completely disenfranchised, with no participation, no representation and no voice.

  • Thousands who agreed with us when we said “Northern New Mexico deserves a strong PROGRESSIVE voice in Washington DC, that represents ALL of us, not just the well-connected few.”
  • Thousands who agreed with the Santa Fe Reporter when it endorsed our campaign, saying, “electing people based on their political connections and/or money is destroying our country.”
  • Thousands who agreed it is time that we were all more accepting of the diverse mix of cultures we are so fortunate to have here in New Mexico, and less accepting of hypocrisy and insider dealings of elected leaders.

We are celebrating the first major steps we have taken toward building a strong and lasting political coalition between the Native American communities and the Progressive Movement here in Northern New Mexico. And we will continue to build and strengthen this coalition in the months and years to come, working in partnership with active progressive organizations like Progressive Democrats of America, which had the courage to endorse our campaign.

We are celebrating making history by running the first campaign in the history of New Mexico to put a Native American on the ballot for national office!

We are celebrating the lessons we all learned on the campaign trail—both myself as a candidate, but also the communities, groups and individuals that supported our campaign through thick and thin.

And finally, we are celebrating the beginning of the general election season where we continue to work to make sure that the progressive issues: Fighting Global Warming, Ending the Occupation in Iraq, Health Care for All, and Election Reform all stay front and center in the conversation leading to real change in November.

Again, Thank you!

Benny J. Shendo, Jr.


Today is the big day. Tuesday, June 3rd. It’s time to GET OUT AND VOTE!!! And make sure all of your friends, family and neighbors vote too!!

You must vote tomorrow. Don’t be like the woman who told us today that she can’t wait to vote for Benny Shendo, Jr. in November!

Do you know where your polling place is? It may be different from what you expect, so go to https://voterview.state.nm.us/VoterView/PollingPlaceSearch.do to be double sure.

WARNING NOTE: be sure to select the 4th option down on the scroll-down menu for which election. It’s the one that reads “ 06/03/2008 PRIMARY 2008”. The 3rd option which reads “06/03/2008 2008 PRIMARY ELECTION” does NOT work!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Progressive Democrats of America endorses Benny Shendo, Jr!!!


The chapter of Progressive Democrats of America that covers the 3rd Congressional District of New Mexico has endorsed Benny Shendo, Jr. as the true progressive in Democratic primary race for the congressional seat that Tom Udall will be vacating to run for Senate. Progressive Democrats of America (www.PDAmerica.org) is considered one of the most active and influential progressive organizations in the country, working both inside and outside the Democratic Party.

Progressive Democrats of Northern New Mexico said in an email announcement today that it was agreeing with the Taos Horse Fly newspaper, which said “Progressives should vote for Benny Shendo, Jr.” and the Santa Fe Reporter which endorsed Shendo last week, saying that, “electing people based on their political connections and/or money is destroying our country.”

Endorsement committee felt that Shendo was clearly the most genuinely progressive candidate in the race and that his positions on the Iraq Occupation (cut funding to get out now), Healthcare for all (single payer, ala the Conyers Bill), as well environment, equal rights for all were most in-line with the national organization’s progressive platform.

The group's official press release stated: “Benny Shendo, Jr. brings his native values to his candidacy, and the Native American’s were in many ways the original progressives, living in sustainable harmony with the land and respecting all people and creatures on this fragile planet. And we were particularly impressed with Benny’s qualifications and record of accomplishment . For example, he will bring a much needed perspective from his national and international relations work as a Kellogg fellow”.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Santa Fe Reporter Endorses Benny Shendo, Jr. for U.S. Congress!

While last week brought us some difficult press that distorted the intent and character of Benny's campaign, today brings good news. The Santa Fe Reporter in its courageous endorsement of Benny Shendo, Jr. for U.S. Congress today said, "We believe electing people based on their political connections and/or money is destroying our country. To the best of our knowledge, the problems in our democracy are not as closely tied to a pervasive problem of politicians standing up and asking inappropriate questions. To the best of our knowledge, our democracy can withstand uncomfortable conversations. Perhaps it might even benefit from them."

The Reporter indicated that Benny Shendo, Jr.'s strong stand against the war in Iraq was one of the issues that impacted their endorsement. Of particular note was Benny's strong presentation at the Santa Fe Candidate Forum, where the paper's staff was impressed by Benny "
speaking forcefully against the war, elucidating his positions on a variety of issues with eloquent passion, garnering loud and sustained applause several times."

The endorsement came in spite of the paper feeling quite strongly that the "Farmington Question" was poorly handled by Benny, and they held no punches in this regard, at the same time acknowledging that it raised an issue that the community needs to work on. "
Make no mistake. If we really believed Shendo was a homophobic candidate, we wouldn’t, couldn’t, endorse him. ...Shendo clearly outlines his support for civil rights for all people, both in conversation and on his Web site’s position papers. And while raising the topic of a candidate’s sexual orientation was poor form, we don’t think Shendo was trying to smear Lujan on the basis of sexual orientation, we think he was trying to smear him as being dishonest. It was a dumb move, but the furor is so intense, we can’t help but think it also reflects just how uncomfortable society still is on the topic itself." In the wake of last week's events Benny is the only candidate who called for progressive dialog based on greater tolerance and acceptance of differences in our society, especially with regard to sexual orientation.

Read the full endorsement article online or in the print edition which hits the streets today, then call and email your friends and encourage them to consider Benny Shendo, Jr. the TRUE progressive democrat with the qualifications to represent all of us.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Benny Shendo, Jr. Responds to Mischaracterizing of his Question to Younger Lujan

From Benny Shendo, Jr.

There has been a lot of mischaracterization of the fact and intention of my question to Ben Ray Lujan on Monday night at the Farmington County Democratic Candidate Forum, the first and only forum or debate opportunity for candidates to ask questions of one another. In this day of “sound bite” politics, I appreciate your giving me this opportunity to set the record straight instead of letting this be spun by the Lujan and Wiviott campaigns to an inaccurate and hate-filled portrayal of my views and serve as a distraction from the real issue and the real point of my question, which is:

Does Ben Ray Lujan have the courage to stand up on the difficult issues that face us as a society?

First, I deeply respect the right of every individual to choose their own lifestyle--and while being gay is not a merely a lifestyle choice, it does present lifestyle choices. I was raised in my native culture, which has for generations been tolerant and inclusive of all people regardless of their personal lifestyle choices. And I hold the deepest commitment to working toward the day when every single person in our whole society can be accepted publicly and privately for who they are without fear or shame.

My question the other night was not about whether Ben Ray Lujan is gay or not. And if all the people who have known Ben Ray over the years at the state house, in the community and in his own extended family, and have for years known and accepted him as gay are wrong, that’s perfectly fine. His sexuality is not the issue here.

My question was about his maturity and integrity in handling the issue and whether or not he is ready to be our representative in Congress. Being a leader means taking tough stands, and that takes courage—courage that starts in a person’s heart, and that starts at home.

The intent of my question was about whether Ben Ray has the courage to stand up to his parents, who have been a very active presence in his public life and in his campaign. Will Ben Ray really be able to stand up to his father who has already used his considerable political influence within this state to clear other more qualified candidates from running in this race at all, to secure endorsements and to bring in funding from such questionable sources as uranium mining, which, apparently, Ben Ray didn’t even know about.

Also, and since the press twisted my question to focus specifically (and only) on the possible gay deception issue (which I actually choose NOT to address by stopping the question before it got to that specific example), we should address that now. Many voters, especially including members of the GLBT community and members of Lujan’s own family, have expressed concern to me that there may be a level of public deception going on in the way that Ben Ray and his parents have handled this matter by so actively promoting publicly that he has a girlfriend.

Let’s be clear, if a private citizen chooses to keep their sexual orientation secret, that’s their right. But Ben Ray Lujan, by his own choice, is not a private citizen, but a candidate for public office, and in this context, he is asking us to trust his decision-making, his judgment, his leadership capability, his maturity, and, frankly, his honesty.

Moreover, a person who actively puts themselves forward as a public figure, an elected leader, by definition, is putting themselves forward to be a role model. As such, they need to accept a higher level of responsibility for their actions. If they actively put forward a deception to hide their homosexuality, then they send a terrible and damaging message that there is something wrong and shameful with being gay. And that does incalculable damage, especially to young GLBT people who are struggling with this issue.

I have spent the bulk of my professional career working with young people, helping them get into and succeed in college, I know first hand the damage that this kind of message sends, when leaders by their actions say that being gay is shameful and thus, by extension, that young people struggling with their own sexual identity should also be ashamed of who they are.

And that damage is especially grave when it is in the form of a person’s own parents not accepting who they are, and pressuring them into living a lie. I have seen first-hand and experts agree, when parents do not accept their children for who they are, this creates a deep wound that forms an underlying cause of many of our worst social problems – alcohol and drug abuse, depression, domestic violence, hatred and intolerance.

Some of these may be difficult issues, certainly, but all the more reason we must talk about them, and not sweep them under the carpet, with an understandable, but misguided cry for personal privacy.

That being gay is shameful is not the right message for Ben Ray Lujan to be sending to the very people he claims he is mature enough and courageous enough to stand up for. Our representatives in Congress need to be an embodiment of the acceptance we seek in our society, acceptance both of others and of themselves. This means that if our public leaders allow themselves to be the victim of intolerance –by others or even by themselves to themselves—then they are not in a position to defend the rights of others. They become party to the intolerance, and our leaders, especially now, need to be stronger willed and more principled than that.

That is what my question was about. And that’s what I will continue to fight for: that day when every child, including Ben Ray Lujan, can grow up proud of who they are, where they come from and what their place is in this world.

--Benny Shendo, Jr.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shendo Campaign opens 2nd Santa Fe Office

Today we opened a second, larger campaign office in Santa Fe in the Second Street Studios at 1807 Second Street between Cerrillos and Saint Francis (behind Backroad Pizza) (mapquest.com map)

The larger space was needed to accommodate the swelling ranks of staff and volunteers in the final two weeks of the primary campaign.

"People can now pick up lawn signs, bumper stickers and campaign literature from either location," explained Campaign Manager, Todd Doherty.

Call us at 505-867-9150 or email info@BennyShendoJr.com to sign-up to volunteer, or pick up signs and materials.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Benny Shines in Santa Fe Forum

Judging from both the applause and an exit poll, Benny Shendo, Jr. was the candidate who gained the most new voters at last night's Candidates' Forum in Santa Fe. The event was sponsored by Temple Beth Shalom and members of the Interfaith Leadership Alliance (an organization of faith organizations). Two of the religious leaders, Rabbi Marvin Schwab of Temple Beth Shalom and Aziz Eddebbarh of Taha Mosque Santa Fe, are depicted in the photo at left with Benny.

On the stage were five Democratic, two Republican, and both Independent candidates for the 3rd Congressional seat currently held by Tom Udall, who is stepping down to run for the Senate. Missing was land developer Don Wiviott, who had a "scheduling conflict” (although he was at a high-ticket fundraiser down the street just an hour earlier).

Several times during the evening’s discussion, Shendo alone drew loud and sustained applause from the audience. The two-hour session included opening remarks from each candidate, a Q&A section and closing statements from each candidate.

Afterward, as the audience filed out, they were surveyed to determine if they had been influenced to support any particular candidate. Of those who were not previously tied to one of the candidates (staff or campaign volunteers), most audience members indicated that they did not have a preference going in, but over 80% indicated that they were now inclined to vote for Benny Shendo, Jr.

One audience member summed it up nicely, “It makes all the difference in the world to see the candidates in action. Benny Shendo, Jr. was clearly the one who is ready to really represent us, all of us, in Congress.”

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Benny Shendo, Jr. Opens Mother's Day Peace Rally in Santa Fe

Benny Shendo, Jr. conducted the invocation to open the ceremonies for the Mother's Day Peace Rally today on the Plaza in Santa Fe.

After a brief opening prayer in his native Towa language about peace for all people of the world, Benny made a few remarks about how the way of indigenous peoples is perhaps more of what the Eurocentric dominant culture is looking for as a way to find peace and sustainable living, after centuries of unbridled growth through conquest, which has now delivered us all to the brink of a global climate and economic crisis that Benny described as "posing the gravest threat of any generation to the future of our children."

Benny then mingled with community members and fellow activists, discussing how we can bring about world peace through economic and environmental justice and human rights for all people.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Talking Circles" in Full Swing

The "Talking Circles" conducted in homes and meeting venues throughout northern New Mexico in the past several weeks have been a great success. Hosts enjoy having Benny visit with their guests and then sit down for a Native American tradition of respectful discussion about the issues. Several more are being scheduled for the coming weeks (see below to host or attend one!).

"The circle represents how we are all interconnected," explains campaign manager, Todd Doherty, (pictured at left introducing the Talking Circle concept at a recent Santa Fe event) "and it helps foster more actual discussion."

The typical political event has the candidate talking to the people. A talking circle is the opposite. The people do most of the talking, about their hopes, dreams and concerns for the future and what they would like to see as priorities in Washington, while Benny listens. Then there's plenty of opportunity for Benny to answer questions.

"I certainly have my ideas, and I'm not shy about telling people where I stand on the issues," adds Benny. "But the job of our Congressperson is to be our representative. That job, as I see it, really requires first listening, then having the backbone to do what's right. Too many politicians forget that the Maker gave us two ears and only one mouth. Me, I really enjoy hearing what people have to say."

Sign up now to host or attend a Benny Shendo, Jr. "Talking Circle" in your community. Call us at (505) 867-9150 or email: info@BennyShendoJr.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shendo Signs Hit the Street!!!

Large "Benny Shendo, Jr. FOR ALL OF US" signs have been springing up along roadsides in northern New Mexico for the past few weeks and the smaller "yard" signs will be distributed this week!

"Since candidate signs have a way of 'disappearing' we're putting up our signs in a strategic manner coordinated with campaign actions," explained campaign manager, Todd Doherty (pictured at left). "We started with the large 4 foot by 8 foot road signs along the route of the first leg of the "Running with Benny" run that we did last week throughout northwestern New Mexico. Next the big signs will go up in the northeastern side of the 3rd Congressional District. Then we'll hit the population centers like Santa Fe."

It's time to show your support! Call the campaign office at (505) 867-9150 or email info@BennyShendoJr.com to get signs for your yard (and bumper stickers for your car)!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Benny Meets with NM School Board Members and Students

This week Benny Shendo, Jr. participated in a series of meetings of New Mexico school board members and students, all of whom are concerned about the "adequate yearly progress" scores required by State law. They questioned whether the scores accurately reflect the progress of students from non-mainstream cultural backgrounds.

"This trend in recent years toward 'one size fits all' testing is not taking our public education in the right direction," Benny remarked. "In the global-economy marketplace that will make up our children's future, one of our greatest assets is our rich mix of cultures here in New Mexico. We need our public education to respect that great diversity and be culturally sensitive and relevant to our young people, so that they can move forward with pride in who they are, where they come from and their place in the world."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Benny Takes a Break with Old Friends and Mentors

Benny Shendo, Jr. took a break from the campaign trail today to get together with some old friends for a round of golf. One of Benny's inspirational role models, Olympic Gold Medallist Billy Mills (pictured here with Benny), was on hand to share in a little R&R and fundraising.

"Billy is an inspiration to me personally not only as an athletic competitor, but even more as a community leader and public servant," Benny pointed out. While many know about Billy Mills's historic "come-from-behind" victory at the 1964 Olympics, which remains the only American win in the men's 10,000 meter race, few know about his contributions to Native American youth empowerment over the years.

Mills expressed strong support for Benny Shendo, Jr. whom he has known for years. "It's not every day that we have a leader of any ethnic origin with the character and qualifications that Benny has. The fact that he's an Indian kid from the reservation who has risen up to achieve that, is just an added bonus. He will bring the values that he was raised with, with him to Washington."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Benny Shendo, Jr. and "Posse" finish 7-day Run!

Benny Shendo, Jr. and a contingent of over 60 supporters finished the first round of their "Running with Benny" tour of over 100 communities in northern New Mexico today at the Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Benny carried a hand-crafted, leather satchel which held the messages of hope and concern he collected from people along his route.

The "Running with Benny" team was greeted by crowds of well-wishers and received lots of celebratory hugs upon their return. After posing for a group photo, Benny addressed the crowd inside the Star Center to roaring applause.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Running with Benny" hits Santa Fe

The "Running with Benny" team reached Santa Fe today, logging in over 600 miles and connecting over 100 communities since departing from Rio Rancho six days ago.

Santa Feans cheered as the runners streamed onto the Plaza and did two laps around the historical center of Santa Fe. The second lap was for news photographers who had missed the first lap! One of the photos appeared on the front page of the next morning's Albuquerque Journal North.

"Running with Benny" Connects over 100 Communities, and Counting!

Today, the "I'm Running with Benny, because He's Running for ALL of Us" road crew marked Algodones as the 100th community that they have traveled through as they make their way around northern New Mexico delivering Benny Shendo, Jr.'s message of progressive change to all people of the 3rd Congressional District, not just to the well-connected few.

The Run and Bike trek, which began last Saturday morning at the Rio Rancho High School track field, has traveled through numerous chapters, pueblos, villages, towns and cities in Benny Shendo, Jr.'s quest to connect with everyone he will represent in Congress. Benny explained, "As a young competitor, I grew up running in these communities. Before that, I would travel to the farthest ends of New Mexico with my grandfather as he traded bread and hay for sheep in Torreon and sheep for blankets in Shiprock. And of course, as Secretary of Indian Affairs, I worked with many of these chapters, pueblos and villages, helping them move forward with infrastructure, public health, education, economic development and clean, sustainable energy projects."

Campaign manager, Todd Doherty, adds, "While other candidates often disappear in Washington once they are elected, Benny Shendo, Jr. is a man of the people, a man who will stay with the people, with all the people of northern New Mexico, listening to all of them, representing all of them. This is where his heart is, out in the communities of northern New Mexico, where he grew up, where he has deep roots and strong relationships, where he loves to be and will be, staying in touch with all the people of his District."

The trek has created a lot of excitement in big population centers where nightly rallies are being held, and also in the smallest villages where crowds gather to cheer the runners on and provide food and refreshments. In one tiny community store, folks exclaimed, "Candidates never come here. They think we don't matter, but we do."

The weather has ranged from warm and sunny to cold and stormy, but the Shendo runners have pushed on, using bicycles relay-style for some of the long stretches between communities. "Some of these communities don't have paved roads, and when it snows or rains, people have trouble getting children to schools, seniors to their services, or emergency responders can't get out to people's homes. And that's one of the many things we need to change," Benny added via a scratchy cell phone connection on a quick break between legs, "I know these roads intimately. I've run them and biked them my whole life."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gallup "Running with Benny" Rally Huge Success!

The "Running with Benny" team arrived in Gallup this evening where they were greeted by a very excited crowd of supporters for a rally complete with local talent performances, great food and a full color guard presentation by the 911 Young Warriors.

The event was MC'd by Cheryl Walker, whose sister Sherelle and 6-year-old daughter Jordyn (pictured with Benny below) performed a heartening sign-language dance.

Local volunteers served up a hearty feast for the runners, after which Benny Shendo, Jr. shared a few remarks of thanks and spoke on one of the themes of his campaign: the importance of coming together to heal our divided nation so that we can move forward and truly address the many challenges we are now facing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Benny Shendo, Jr. and Supporters Kick Off "Running with Benny" throughout Northern New Mexico

Carloads of supporters arrived at sunrise to kick off the "I'm Running with Benny Shendo, Jr. because He's Running for All of Us" Run and Bike through northern New Mexico, at the Rio Rancho High School track field this morning.

"I expected to be the first one at the site, but Benny was already there, ready to run," said campaign manager, Todd Doherty. "And the energy of all those people cheering was very exciting. It was early Saturday morning, but there was no need for coffee!"

This Run and Bike through over 100 communities will present a real challenge for the lifelong competitive runner. Benny has been running 4 to 8 miles a day in the past few weeks and cycling many more, so he's in good shape and ready to take on the challenge.

The route on this first Run and Bike will take the runners and bikers throughout the western part of northern New Mexico from Rio Rancho, out to Gallup, up to Farmington, over to Taos, down through Santa Fe, finishing up in Rio Rancho on the seventh day.

Benny Shendo, Jr. shared a few words about the Run with the crowd of supporters. "I grew up running and competing in these communities, so what better way for me to take my message of real progressive change to the streets? And to connect these communities and to hear from the people what their priorities are for me to take to Washington, that's why I'm running."

Kick-off events and end-of-day rallies are planned for each of the seven days and will feature local food and performers. Another Run is planned for the eastern part of the 3rd Congressional District in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Benny Goes Hollywood!!!

Benny Shendo, Jr. met with New Mexico motion picture production workers today on the set of the Toby Keith movie that's shooting south of Santa Fe.

Benny explained that his interest in the movies is more than just as a fan, "Film production is a significant contributor to the economy of our state, not just with the jobs and on-location expenditures of each major motion picture that shoots here, but by sharing our spectacular landscapes with the rest of the world. Through the power of movies, our tourism industry is enhanced as well."

Shendo added, "Provided it is done properly, with respect for our sensitive environment and for the diverse cultures of the people who make their homes here, film production is a welcome part of our world-renowned artistic and cultural community."

New Mexico has been host to the production of many noteworthy movies over the years, including the 2008 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, "No Country for Old Men."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shendo Won't Avoid the Difficult Issues like Rape and Domestic Violence

Benny Shendo, Jr. was in attendance today at a lecture by Yale professor and Santa Fe Institute Fellow, Elisabeth J. Wood, on what we can learn from wartime rape and sexual violence.

Shendo (shown in picture at left with event MC, actress and activist, Ali MacGraw) has been clear in his campaign, "Rape and domestic violence is a troubling matter that we must make a priority here in New Mexico, across the U.S. and around the world. The experts agree, prevention is the key and that means addressing the issue comprehensively. We cannot keep sweeping this issue under the rug just because it makes people uncomfortable. Our families are at stake and we must work harder to keep them safe."

Barbara Goldman, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Rape Crisis and Trauma Treatment Center which sponsored the lecture and fundraiser, expressed her admiration for Shendo for making the issue a central part of his campaign. "No one wants to talk about this stuff, and it takes real courage for a political candidate to take it on."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Denver Fund- and Fun-Raiser Big Success

Benny was in Denver this evening for a fund-raising event that was also a reunion of old friends and colleagues from Benny's days as a student and later an Administrator at University of Colorado at Boulder.

The event raised over $10,000 for his campaign and raised quite a bit of fun as well, as old stories were shared.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Benny Meets with Global Warming Expert Bill McKibben

Benny Shendo, Jr. conferred with author/activist Bill McKibben today at a workshop on fighting the global climate crisis given at UNM in Albuquerque. McKibben is known for his book, THE END OF NATURE -- published in 1989 and widely considered to be the first book for general readership about the pending global climate crisis -- and for organizing the largest public demonstration to date to fight global warming with hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating in every state across the country in the Fall of 2007. He and Benny discussed the importance of New Mexico in the worldwide push to create a new economy based on clean, sustainable energy such as solar, wind, geo-thermal and other renewables, for our national security, for jobs, and for a healthier future for our children, ourselves and our planet.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Benny Steps Out in Style at Gala

Benny Shendo, Jr. was "in the house" at the stylish gala supporting the Human Rights Alliance in Santa Fe this evening. The non-profit organization, founded in 1998 with the primary goal of ending discrimination of all kinds and building coalitions with groups who will work for the civil rights of all New Mexicans, seeks "to promote basic human and civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people through education, legislation and advocacy."

Benny met with Governor Bill Richardson (pictured at right), who in 2004 appointed Benny to serve in his Cabinet as the first Secretary of Indian Affairs, and conferred with other community leaders in support of equal rights for all members of our wonderfully diverse society here in northern New Mexico.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Shendo Discusses Iraq Options with Experts

Benny Shendo, Jr. discussed exit strategy options with counter-insurgency experts following a panel presentation and Q & A session at Santa Fe Institute last night.

Benny strongly opposed the war from the beginning and strongly supports bringing the troops home as soon as possible. In the photo at left, Benny confers with Dr. Stephen Biddle, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, who stated in the Washington Post in June 2007, "If the surge is unacceptable, the better option is to cut our losses and withdraw altogether."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Shendo Walks in Solidarity with Tibetans

Benny Shendo, Jr. joined with the Santa Fe Tibetan community in a candlelight vigil on the Plaza this evening. The vigil, which will be held each night this week, is intended to draw attention to recent events in Tibet as well as the long-standing need for justice in Tibet.

Participants walked in contemplative silence or chanted and sang, while displaying handmade signs calling for a "Free Tibet" and to "Stop Genocide in Tibet."

After the event, Benny reflected, "We need to stand with our brothers and sisters from Tibet who share the same longing we all have: for peace and justice and human rights for their homeland."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Iraq War 5-year Anniversary Solemn Day for Shendo

The 5th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a solemn day for Benny Shendo, Jr. as he visited memorials to the soldiers who died.
"In my role as Cabinet Secretary, I had the sad duty to attend the funerals of some of these young people listed here," Benny quietly reflected as he looked on the roster of "fallen" soldiers. "It was heartbreaking to see the devastation in the faces of the family members, the loved ones whose lives are forever changed by this unjust war that never should have been allowed to happen in the first place.

"The cost of this unjust war is staggering, to our families, to our national reputation, to our economy, to the trust of our young people. Meanwhile, the ones who misled us into it are profiting outrageously. We must work harder to put an end to the occupation and to make sure that this sort of thing never happens again."

Benny participated in a sunset vigil at the Round House in Santa Fe.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shendo Support Strong at State Convention

Today was an exciting day for Benny Shendo, Jr. supporters at the Star Center in Rio Rancho where the Democratic Party of New Mexico held its annual Pre-Primary Convention. Benny gave what most in attendance agreed was the most intelligent and the most inspiring speech of the day, emphasizing his campaign's main message: "The people of northern New Mexico deserve a strong voice in Washington, DC that represents all of us, not just the well-connected few."

Todd Doherty, campaign manager for Benny Shendo, Jr, and David Gomez, former Santa Fe Democratic Party Chair, gave nominating statements for Benny. Doherty spoke about Benny being the most qualified candidate to represent all of us, whether Native, Hispanic, Anglo, African-American or Asian. Dave Gomez told how Benny left a prestigious job at Stanford University in order to save the little school that had served his home village of Jemez for almost one hundred years when its funding was cut.

At the end of the day, when the speeches were over and the votes counted, Benny Shendo, Jr. was in the top tier of the race, an encouraging outcome since it was a public vote of party insiders.

"It was exciting to see a number of delegates switch over to Benny, even though they risked reprisal from the party powers, " stated Doherty. "And many people told us that while they had to vote for the insider candidates today, they were switching to Benny for the actual primary election on June 3rd now that they had had a chance to see and hear him speak."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Shendo at First Annual National GREEN JOBS Conference

Benny Shendo, Jr. was in Pittsburgh, PA this week participating in the First Annual National GREEN JOBS Conference. The historic event was sponsored by the Blue-Green Alliance, which brings together the United Steel Workers Union and the Sierra Club to work on creating a new economy of green jobs based on clean, renewable energy.

During the three-day conference, Benny met with leaders from across the country, including Sierra Club National President Carl Pope (pictured below), to discuss ways to move communities, states and our nation toward a more sustainable economy.

Benny was there to share information about the opportunities here in New Mexico as well as to learn from other representatives about initiatives that are being created around the country and around the world. Green Jobs are jobs that fight global warming either directly, like building wind turbines, or indirectly, like replacing old industrial jobs with cleaner, healthier and more sustainable jobs in high-tech fields and also in low-tech fields, such as local tourism and culture--all of which are especially relevant to New Mexico.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Benny Digs In (to help restore rivers)

Benny Shendo, Jr. and several of his supporters joined with high-school students from Santa Fe and other volunteers to help restore river banks with native-appropriate trees this weekend. The event was sponsored by WildEarth Guardians of New Mexico.

"I grew up helping to protect and steward the natural environment here in New Mexico. In fact, in my home of Jemez Pueblo, each spring since I was old enough to work a hoe and to this day, I have helped clean and preserve the waterways that feed our community. So I'm plenty comfortable with this kind of work," Benny explained and added, "It's especially exciting to see the young people coming out on a Saturday and caring for our natural environment".

"Bingo for Benny" was Big Bonanza!!!

Bingo is serious business in Benny's home town of Jemez Pueblo. So it was no surprise when local supporters wanted to put on a bingo event at the Senior Center to raise funds -- and friends! -- for Benny Shendo, Jr. for U.S. Congress.

The Center's main room was packed wall-to-wall, with added tables bursting out into the lobby area, as locals came out in big numbers for a little bingo fun and to support local boy Benny Shendo, Jr.

Boogie-ing For Benny!!!

Benny's home-town community held a family dance last Saturday night (pictured at left) at the Jemez Community Center.

A Jemez Enchilada breakfast was served the following morning (pictured at right) at the Senior Center in order to raise funds for Benny's campaign.

The local "Kids for Benny" group (pictured at right) raised money, and helped get the word out about the events.

Together the events raised a lot of funding, a lot of awareness and support from the community, and a lot of fun!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Shendo Rocks at Los Alamos Candidate Forum

Benny Shendo, Jr. outshone the other candidates at the Los Alamos County Democratic Party Candidate Forum last night with what The Bomb Town News Observer called, "calming, intelligent oratory." The local reporter went on to say that Benny Shendo, Jr. was a candidate "I could easily see actually serving in Congress."

Benny was the only candidate that clearly articulated HOW the mission at the Los Alamos Labs could be shifted to a primary focus on creating clean, safe, renewable energy from sources like solar, wind, geo-thermal power and on exploring new areas in nanotechnology. "The labs cannot change the mission. That would have to come from Congress," Benny explained, "But it can be done. In fact it needs to be done. And done with the same sense of purpose and urgency that fueled the first historic mission here."

Benny brought the standing-room-only crowd to roaring applause when, in answering the question from the audience about the influence of lobbyists in DC, he said simply, "Don't take their money and don't listen to them."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shendo Confers with NM Global Warming Expert

Benny Shendo, Jr. consulted with global warming expert, Bill Brown, a senior trainer with Al Gore's Climate Project who lives in Taos.

After the meeting, Benny remarked, "It is patently clear that we are facing a global climate crisis which poses the gravest threat there has ever been to the future of our children, and we must take urgent action. People like Bill Brown are the heroes on the front lines of that action."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Benny Helps Honor Legendary New Mexico Nurse

Benny Shendo, Jr. joined numerous members of New Mexico's public health, medical and social services community today to honor the lifetime work of Josephina Trujillo Waconda, a pioneer in public health in New Mexico.

From the podium, Benny shared with the audience of Waconda's family and friends how when he was a boy, Josephina was the traveling nurse who would come to his little village of Jemez Pueblo. He related that not only was she providing much needed medical care, but she was also a living role model for young native women in particular, demonstrating by her very presence the power of education.

Benny himself was inspired by Waconda and others like her to pursue not only his own education, but to dedicate his early professional career to helping other young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get a college degree -- especially in areas not as accessible to them, like engineering -- at Stanford University, University of Colorado, and University of New Mexico.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Benny Shendo, Jr. Testifies Against Galisteo Basin Oil Drilling

Benny Shendo, Jr. is the only one of the candidates running for U.S. Congress in New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District who showed up and testified at the Santa Fe County Commissioners' Hearing on Oil Drilling in the Galisteo Basin in Santa Fe County.

Addressing the commissioners and the overflowing crowd in the chambers, Shendo said, "As we all know, Galisteo Basin is a unique place: a mix of residential, small business, ranching and equestrian communities, as well as historical sites, native pueblos and open spaces filed with wildlife. What we may not all know is that the Basin also has the highest concentration of archeological sites in the nation and is widely considered to be one of the most impressive archeological sites in the world. Also, underneath this uniquely beautiful land is the large and endangered Galisteo Aquifer, which we must vigilantly protect from the risk of being contaminated and possibly destroyed."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Local Artists and Vendors Share Their Views with Benny

Benny Shendo, Jr. met today with several representatives from the local arts and crafts street vending community to discuss their concerns.

"The arts community in all of its forms is a critical part of our cultural and economic way of life here in northern New Mexico, " Benny said, "And it is eye-opening to hear the struggles of those who are carving out a living for themselves and their families here at the Plaza. Behind each vendor and their display case or blanket on the sidewalk, there is usually a whole family of artisans with mouths to feed."

He added sagely, "And these vendors are much closer to the pulse of the real economy than many of the economists in Washington. They don't need a survey to tell them, they feel it right away when 'consumer confidence' is down, when tourism is slipping, when the price of gas goes up so high they can't afford to make the trip."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Supporters Cheer Benny at Lobos Game

Benny was on-hand to help kick off the Lobos basketball game in University of New Mexico's Pit last night.

After a brief ceremony at center court, Benny greeted cheering supporters in the stands (pictured at left).