Capitol Idea

Martin Salazar, Journal Staff Writer
Albuquerque Journal
September 7, 2004

Photo: Jeff Geissler/For The Journal

Rahda Garcia plays marimba with the band Andé at the Labor Day rally outside the Roundhouse.

Labor Day Extravaganza draws Bush, Kerry partisans

Wearing a long, formal black dress, Marilyn Adams of Eldorado spent a good chunk of her Labor Day outside the state Capitol playing the role of Susan B. Anthony and carrying a sign asking people to register to vote.

“I admire her because she spent at least 52 years of her life fighting for suffrage...,” Adams said of Anthony. “She was one in a million.”

While Anthony spent much her life trying to get women the right to vote, Adams and many others devoted their Labor Day to getting people to exercise those rights.

Dozens of volunteers staffed voter registration booths while others tried to educate voters on issues ranging from outlawing the death penalty to supporting gay and lesbian rights. It was all part of “Labor Day Extravaganza,” and featured bands, singers and speeches. About 300 people attended.

A delegation from the Zuni tribe took part in event.

“In Zuni, nobody has ever really made the effort to go out and get people out to vote,” said tribal Councilman Arden Kucate. He said that this year, there’s a concerted effort to change that.

Kucate said he wasn’t pushing for people to vote for any particular candidate, just that they vote.

Charlotte Montano was one of several people who registered at the rally.

“It’s an important election coming up,” she said, adding she wants to do her part to ensure that President Bush gets another four years.

Photo: Jeff Geissler/For The Journal

Marilyn Adams was dressed as Susan B. Anthony on Monday as part of a voter registration drive during the Labor Day Extravaganza at the Roundhouse. At left is Bob Moses, rally coordinator.

“His morals are right as a Christian, and I think he’s leading the nation in the right way,” she said. “Every vote is going to count.”

Two other men carried signs showing their support for Bush, but many others wore Kerry buttons.

While the event was billed as nonpartisan, most of the booths and speakers were clearly pushing for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

Kathleen MacRae, with the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty, said Kerry, for the most part, hasn’t supported the death penalty. She said the same can’t be said of Bush.

Albuquerque’s Matthew Copus was trying to educate voters on gay-rights issues.

Kerry supports civil unions, he said. Bush supports a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, he said.

The assault on Bush continued through some of the speeches.

Christine Trujillo, president of the New Mexico AFL-CIO, urged people to vote for Kerry. She said working families are struggling to make ends meet since Bush took office.

“Is the so called strong economy improving the quality of life for all New Mexicans?,” she asked. Too many working families are still poor, despite working full time, she said.

Bob Parmelee, chairman of the Bush/Cheney campaign in, Santa Fe, said Republicans weren’t even invited to speak.

“They could have at least provided a balance,” he said.

Reginald Whitehead, a NAACP representative, said the rally was strictly nonpartisan.

“We opened it up to as many organizations as wanted to participate,” he said. White-head said he was sorry if the event offended anyone.