BORN YESTERDAY

It all started when...

The founding organizers of Indivisible Las Cruces have taken teamwork too far. After months of meeting and marching, and helping beat the health care repeal three times in one week, they collectively collapsed. Pat Warner slept the afternoon away. Since that day in early January when she Googled “how to resist,” she worked non-stop recruiting, organizing, planning and worrying. She’s an old lady and she deserves a nap. In fact nearly the whole team needs a nap.

IMG_4642 2 2.jpg

Pat Warner is both persuasive and persistent in questioning Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) at a town hall in Ruidoso.

Although most are over say 65, this new breed of activist Seniors is a storehouse of talent and brains. Numbering less than ten, the original group came from backgrounds as varied as high tech, teaching, writing and soldiering.

Pat Warner easily could pass as a fashionable church lady.  She is in fact a Methodist of the “greater good” variety. Her hair is blinding white, enviously thick and sharply cut, making her easy to spot in protest crowds. Warner had long career managing people—mostly men—as a construction purchasing manager. It’s good to know that.  

IMG_4626 2.JPG

Retired public school teacher Sandy Daniel demonstrates her instructional skills as she outlines the week’s Call to Action plan.

    Pat and her sister Sandy Daniel moved to Las Cruces when Sandy retired from teaching in Texas.  Where Pat is all persuasion and nervous energy, Sandy tall and commanding, likes to size things up before she speaks. But when she interjects “Have you thought about this…” others stop talking because they know that what she'll say will makes perfect sense.  It must have been a comment like this that sent Pat on her Google search.  What popped up was the on-line Indivisible Guide, the organizing how-to manual that has led to the formation of 6,000 Indivisible groups nationwide. Within the week, they called an organizing meeting and the group chose the name WE’RE IN.

Across town...

Tony Martinez talks strategy at one of the first organizing meetings of WE’RE IN.  His experience would later convince him to run for office representing New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.

Tony Martinez, a newly retired executive and U.S. Army officer, was organizing another group. Neither group knew of the other until they registered with Indivisible on the same day—January 11. The two groups quickly joined forces to form Indivisible Las Cruces.

    Tony's family goes back generations in the Mesilla Valley, and like many a small-town son he left looking for opportunity. But with his career complete, he began to look toward home.     

    He was raised in San Miguel, a village south of Las Cruces, and attended high school and college not far up the same road. After ten years in the U.S. Army, he began a second career working in the medical equipment industry both in and outside the U.S.  

Tony proved a natural choice to lead WE’RE IN, soon becoming its strongest voice. His skill, however, lay in his unending patience and the ability to listen to many other voices.

Power couple...

IMG_4420 2.jpg

Barb Records is all smiles after the group's first visit to Rep. Steve Pearce’s (R-NM) office in Las Cruces.

Russ Records addresses a crowd at a Las Cruces park on the critical need to preserve Obamacare. He also organized public meetings to address health care. 

Russ Records and Barb Records are husband and wife, fellow IBM project managers, and perfectly paired for their roles in the group. Russ, the funny guy in search of the perfect margarita, also could be called a philosopher. He’s technical, certainly, but that ability pales in comparison to his ability to explain his way through of the health care labyrinth. Turns out he’s also a photographer’s favorite subject. Barb, on the other hand, is always a bit out of the way. She doesn’t waste anyone’s time and she doesn’t truck with anyone wasting hers. Efficient, accurate and fun when it’s done—sums her up. 

Beyond talent...

Mary Hampton in a sobering—and funny—role as the undertaker in the political theater event “Wake for Steve Pearce’s Political Career.” Pearce has decided to give up his seat in  favor of a bid for the state’s governorship

Vi Beadle in one of her many trips to deliver letters and her opinion to taff at Rep. Steve Pearce’s (R-NM) local office.  

Three others at that first meeting contributed their talents as  key players. Vi Beadle, of keen mind and with expertise in computer programming, is the group’s political encyclopedia and fact-checker. She’s also the group's only veteran political activist.  Wiry and fiesty, Vi takes the front row at meetings, better to fire off questions on the topic at hand. She also manages the group’s Chimpmail list.

Mary Hampton is no stranger to controversial issues, having worked in education for Planned Parenthood and as a counselor and teacher. She’s from the stalwart school of getting things done and is a sure bet to show up at rallies and at her congressmen’s local offices. She stepped in at the last minute to play the role of the “undertaker” in the wildly funny “Wake for Steve Pearce’s Political Career.”  

Linda Harris is more often behind a camera but provides a happy subject in the front row at a huge town hall meeting in Las Cruces.  The group kept up the pressured on Steve Pearce (R-NM) to hold a public meeting in town, even  following him to town hall meetings in other towns.

Linda Harris, let’s be honest, is fine with writing her own interview. She says she writes happily about any subject, with equal enthusiasm. To illustrate, she recites a list of New Mexico-focused publications ranging from articles about shipping stress in cattle, a guide to New Mexico’s water law, and books about houses and libraries and ghost towns. She created the group’s website.

Linda shoe-horned her Indivisible duties into a busy summer of graduations, weddings, and a respite on the Oregon coast.  When she thudded to a stop recently she confessed she's  one of the Seniors in need of a nap. But, she says, “We were born for this, we just weren’t born yesterday.”