Thursday, June 16, 2016

New player joins New Mexico political scene

There’s a new player on New Mexico’s political scene: an organization started by a ranch-owning oil-and-gas lawyer that gave nearly $50,000 last month to various Republican state political committees. The New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative was formed recently by Dan C. Perry, a lawyer who relocated from Texas to Santa Fe and owns Trout Stalker Ranch, a fly-fishing and hunting operation just south of Chama along the Rio Chama and Rio Chamita. He was active in the successful effort by ranchers and others during the 2015 legislative session to get a bill passed, and signed by Gov. Susana Martinez, that bars the public from walking or wading in streams that run through private property without written permission. It was narrowly approved – passing the House by just a single vote – and Perry wants to make sure it doesn’t get undone in the Legislature. “We want to maintain that law. That’s one reason we set up the initiative,” he told the Journal on Wednesday. Protecting private property rights and promoting conservation stewardship will be major focuses of the Habitat Conservation Initiative, he said. There is no other specific legislation on the horizon that the group is interested in, “but we’re prepared to address issues if they come up,” said lawyer Marco Gonzales, the lobbyist for Trout Stalker Ranch. Habitat Conservation Initiative made its first political contributions in May, giving $10,800 to each of four Republican-affiliated political action committees and $5,000 to the campaign of House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, who is spearheading the effort to get Republicans elected in November and keep the GOP’s hold on the House...more

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