LC Bulletin: Domenici legacy continues at NMSU

September 14, 2012. Retrieved online September 17, 2012 from Richard Coltharp, Las Cruces Bulletin

Pete Domenici


Imagine if you had the opportunity to gain real insight about some of the most pressing issues of our time, in a setting focused on discovery.

Imagine you got to hear, live in person, some of the brightest people in the world, many of them among the most knowledgeable on those very issues.

How far would you expect to travel to participate in such an event? New York?

London? Beijing?

How much would you expect to pay to participate in such an event? $1,000?

$3,000? $5,000?

What I’ve described in those first two paragraphs is precisely what has taken place the last four autumns on the campus of New Mexico State University during the annual Pete Domenici Public Policy Conference. It’s happening again next week.

Yes, you can participate. No, you don’t have to leave Las Cruces. Yes, you have to pay, but only $50.

That, my friends, is what the late, great singer Lou Rawls would have called a “dynamite bargain.”

This year’s conference – the fifth annual – is Wednesday and Thursday, Sept.

19-20, at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Topics include entrepreneurship, national security, state issues and the 2012 elections.

As of this writing, there were still slots available. Registration is $50 and free for NMSU students. However, you must register. Learn more about the conference and register at Domenici, who represented New Mexico in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009, donated his papers to NMSU in 2008, just before his retirement. In conjunction, he established the Pete V. Domenici Institute for Public Policy.

Here’s how the institute describes itself:

“The Pete V. Domenici Institute for Public Policy will be a living, nonpartisan institute in which issues of importance to the state, region and nation can be fully examined. It will provide a vehicle for input and recommendations to government on issues of importance to the state of New Mexico and the nation. Sound science would be the guiding force by which recommendations for public policy would be made. Employing an anticipatory and proactive approach, the focus of the institute will provide a foundation from which practical recommendations can be made to impact society.”

That is a noble mission.

I think an important piece of that statement is the term “fully examined.”

It doesn’t say the issues will be solved; the magnitude of these issues precludes magic answers or quick fixes. However, for us as Las Crucens to have the opportunity to witness these minds address these issues is invaluable. And while the problems likely won’t be solved on a macro level, we can take the ideas and the thought processes back to our businesses and organizations and apply some of that insight on a micro level.

Still, at the Public Policy Conference we certainly can learn more about these issues on a macro level than we’re ever exposed to elsewhere. The noisy, combative comments we hear on these topics from cable TV pundits can’t compare to the thoughtful ideas we’ll hear at the conference.

That said, this year’s conference does include James Carville. The campaign guru for President Bill Clinton will discuss the 2012 elections along with Ambassador Karen Hughes, who was an adviser to President George W. Bush.

ABC News contributor Sam Donaldson, who grew up in Doña Ana County, will moderate the discussion on the elections.

Because of Carville’s caustic and sarcastic nature, that session may have the most opportunity for fireworks and comedy.

It will probably also be the least insightful session. Bold predictions: Carville, the Democrat, will say a Mitt Romney-led White House will be the worst thing that could happen to the country. Hughes, the Republican, will say leaving President Barack Obama in office will be disastrous for America.

For Las Cruces businesspeople, the Wednesday afternoon sessions on entrepreneurship will likely be more useful and practical. One of the speakers on entrepreneurship is Linda Alvarado, the president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, and the first Hispanic owner of a Major League Baseball franchise, the Colorado Rockies.

Read the Las Cruces Bulletin article

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