Javier Gonzales secured another endorsement for his mayoral campaign Saturday morning, this time from current Santa Fe Mayor David Coss.
An outspoken supporter of organized labor, environmental issues and immigrant rights, Coss says Gonzales, a former county commissioner and chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, will bring the most diversity to the mayor's office.
"I think his work with labor, his work with environmental groups, his work with [immigrant rights group] Somos Un Pueblo Unido—those are very near and dear to my heart," Coss tells SFR. "When I see those groups moving toward Javier, I think that's a great place [for me] to be."
Coss adds that he trusts Gonzales to "stand strong" for the city's living wage, which ranks second highest in the nation below San Francisco. Both Gonzales and mayoral candidate and current city Councilor Patti Bushee support keeping the city's minimum wage adjusted with the cost of living index.
Gonzales, for his part, says Coss' endorsement is "very humbling."
"I look at his endorsement as, in many respects, the torch being passed and one that comes with great responsibility," Gonzales tells SFR.
Coss' nod adds to endorsements of Gonzales' campaign from the Northern New Mexico Central Labor Council, the New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council, the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union and the Northern New Mexico Sierra Club.
Bushee, in a statement, responded to the endorsement Saturday afternoon by acknowledging that she and Coss have sometimes had their differences. She added that she's concerned that "David, who loves our city, would endorse someone who supported the [state] legislature's midnight corporate tax giveaway, stripping our hold harmless protection, putting Santa Fe in a precarious situation, and giving corporate tax breaks at the expense of our seniors, children and workers."
Bushee is referring to a controversial last-minute omnibus bill during the 2013 Legislative session that will phase out the state's "hold harmless" funding for cities in exchange for lowering New Mexico's corporate tax rate. The deal was supported by the legislative Democratic Party leadership. Gonzales, as state Democratic Party chair, wrote an op-ed in support of the deal.
The tax bill also included provisions that will modify New Mexico's film tax incentive to favor television shows and new rules for taxing big box stores, which Gonzales has stated will help cities like Santa Fe in the long run.