Opening Session of the NM. Legislature

Yesterday I had a learning experience about politics and running of the New Mexico state government. The Sikh Dharma International office needed someone to take pictures for the events, so I got my camera and drove in with a few others. I thought it would be interesting break from my normal SikhNet work. I was thinking it was only going to be for a few hours and turned into a whole day affair.

Every year for (I think) 3-4 months the New Mexico Legislature get’s together and makes decisions on different bills and operations for the state. The opening session is normally a big event and many people come to participate in the opening ceremonies and speech by the Governor. This was my first time. It was pretty overwhelming seeing so many people and politicians. I felt like an alien from another planet; Shaking everyone’s hand and introducing myself as we walked around. I realized that politics is not for me. It’s definitely important to be involved in the local government though. I’m just not into the social part…since I generally like to keep to myself. You have to be pretty outgoing to do a job like this.

After the opening ceremonies the Sikh community hosted many of the local government officials to a Luncheon at India Palace (down the street) in downtown Santa Fe. This has been a tradition since 1995 that Yogi Bhajan started. There were sooo many people there and I felt like a pinball bouncing around trying to dodge the waiters bring dishes/food and people walking by. I think there were about 150 guests that came (mostly politicians from the capitol). It was a great event and people really felt the hospitality of the Sikhs. We were all hosting everyone, serving and doing everything we could to serve them. In New Mexico we have established very good personal relations with the leaders of the state so it helps when there are issues like hate Crimes, or general issues related to Sikhs. Anyways…it was a great event and a learning experience for me.

Below are some pictures from the day.

4 Responses to “Opening Session of the NM. Legislature”

  1. SikhsRus says:

    Great pictures Gurumustuk! It is really nice to see Sikhs taking active role in American politics. I am kind of like you! Sometimes I wish I was a politician because there are so many issues in general environment, hate crimes which is indirectly related to religious and cultural education in American schools that affect our small U.S. Sikh community and I personally would like to see accomplished. I recently wrote an email to U.S. Department of Education which kind of directed me to California Department of education link:
    http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/cf/index.asp

    One intersting thing though, under “History and Social Science Framework” on page 210 (Appendix C) of the document, I see Jewish American, Muslim American, Christian American but not even one Sikh American organization representing Sikhs on guidelines about teaching about religion.I wish there were some. I would create an organization if I knew how to run one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear sikhsrus – SSA
    A few years back, the CA Lt. Governor, I believe, sponsored the distribution, through the CA Dept of Education – of a wonderful small primer on our Sikh tradition -“The Boy with Long Hair” one in a coloring book series, by Pushpinder Singh. (I ordered from the Sikh Foundation http://www.sikhfoundation.org). I believe that went to all elementary school libraries in CA. Another reader might know more accurately the sponsoring organization (in southern CA).

  3. SikhsRus says:

    Thanks anonymous! A separate book is nice in every schools, but we need a mention with pictures of sikhs (along with non-sikhs) in a chapter included in a textbook that all california children read. A separate book may be put on a shelf, and never be read, but textbooks become part of the curriculum. I feel this is really important to prevent future americans from going to jails and juvenile halls and not to mention the victims of hate crimes who suffer.

  4. Karen says:

    FYI:  The NM Legislature meets for 60 days during the even numbered years and 30 days during the odd numbered years.

    This is the 60 day session where anything and everything can be introduced and debated.  During the 30 day session, only budget items or those items that are on the Governor’s agenda may be introduced.

    Also, fyi, the NM Legislators are volunteers and not paid a salary.  They only receive per diem and mileage.