By Susannah Abbey
Jennie Lusk is a lifelong Democrat. But it was the 2016 presidential election, which left her “dumbfounded and depressed,” that drove her to step up and volunteer for the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County. It seemed like the best way to use her time to make sure the former president did not serve a second term.
“We really needed to come together to avoid a catastrophic change to our government,” says Lusk.
She started out as the volunteer coordinator, then became the editor of the Blue Review newsletter in late 2020. And this year, she has been appointed to serve as Secretary of the DPBC. Her term will start in early summer.
Lusk has always had an interest in social and legal justice. After attending UNM from 1970 to 1973, Lusk “tried to leave” Albuquerque. But the richness and diversity of New Mexico’s culture brought her back. For a time she worked as a freelance reporter for the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal, then spent years crafting fundraising letters for nonprofits such as the ACLU and UNICEF. She now works as an attorney and remains true to her belief in the Democratic Party.
“I lived through Richard Nixon and Watergate after the wonderful things Lyndon Johnson did for civil rights,” she says. “I lived through Reagan and I’ve seen throughout my adult life that the Democratic party really does care about the future of kids and how people are treated…the Republican party has been characterized by selfishness and self-dealing. Trump isn’t the first.”
Despite the rise of QAnon and Trumpism, Lusk was heartened by the energy that arose around the resistance, especially by the Women’s March. She is optimistic about the next few years. She believes Melanie Stansbury, candidate U.S. Representative for District 1, will prevail over her competition, and that it is important we all support her to keep Congress in Democratic hands.
“I really do think that there’s a chance that millions of people will come together and hold the government accountable to deliver actual justice, actual police oversight, actual healthcare and actual voting rights. I really do look forward to seeing democratic principles realized during this administration, and hope it will trickle down to the state and county level. With Democrats in both the house and senate [the New Mexico state legislature] got so much done. I will work to make sure that we keep that going.”
Lusk is also excited about the people she has worked with during her time working for the DPBC, especially while recruiting volunteers. She recalls a line from “Morituri Salatamus,” by the nineteenth-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “ ‘the sky is filled with stars invisible by day’… you never know what quarter your help is going to come from.”