Senator Tim Jennings, President Pro-Tem of the NM Senate

Air Dates: December 22-24, 2012

“A word about Tim Jennings: …A 32-year run, a 34 year senate veteran, he is one of a kind. He loved the senate dearly and brought a country charm that may be the last of its
kind. Who else would bring live chickens onto the floor
and complain that with the passage of the cockfighting ban
in 2007 they were facing massive layoffs....or would bring
two tin cans with strings attached to emphasize how easy
it would be for the governor to communicate directly with
the senate?”
-- Senator Dede Feldman, on Senator Jennings

As Senator Tim Jennings, President Pro-Tem
of the State Senate, prepares to leave his post, host
Lorene Mills talks with him about his long career as a
public servant.

They discuss the triumphs in healthcare accessibility
championed by Tim and his wife Patty that led to the New
Mexico Medical Insurance Pool, as well as partisanship,
and how under Tim's leadership the senate functioned and
thrived across party lines. The Senator also speaks about
the recent and controversial election.

Senator Jennings was first elected to the New Mexico
Senate in 1978 and has served in almost every legislative
leadership post in the Senate: Minority Whip, Majority
Whip, Minority Leader, Majority Leader, all the way up to
President Pro-Tempore.

Using his unique style and “country charm” Jennings guided
the senate to great productivity through very partisan
times. Jennings reflects on how politics has changed in
the 34 years he is been in the Senate, and how elections
and campaigning also have changed.

“Now we have all these outside groups that come in, that
spend ungodly amounts of money spewing nothing but hate. A democracy can’t survive in hate and I refuse to
participate in that.”

“You know, my own race all by itself, I didn’t really
lose. It was stolen from me by outsiders and I am sure the
governor doesn’t feel that way, but you know there is life
beyond this thing. You know a prosecutor’s theory is
always as long you can get a conviction it is okay... I
don’t think anyone can ever accuse me of not working for
the best interest of the state.”

“It has been a wonderful ride… because we have done it
together as friends… That’s the way I believe democracy
was when it started.”