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Governor, Dignitaries Join Sikh Community to Celebrate Opening of the New Mexico Legislature


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    By Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

    New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Attorney General Gary King and other public officials joined the New Mexico Sikh community at a special luncheon held in honor of the opening of the 48th New Mexico Legislative Session.

    Photo caption: Governor Bill Richardson with Sikh Dharma International leaders: Bhai Sahiba Dr. Bibiji Inderjit Kaur, Siri Sikhdhar Sahiba S. Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa and Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa.

    The opening session of the legislature took place on Tuesday, January 16th. During his remarks to the New Mexico House and Senate, Governor Bill Richardson outlined an aggressive legislative agenda that included improvements in the education and health care systems of the state. He also announced his plans to help New Mexico become an exporter of renewable energy, such as solar, wind and bio-mass, and called for all government buildings in New Mexico to run on renewable energy.

    After the Governor’s remarks at the Legislative session, over 250 public officials and community leaders in the State came to a special luncheon hosted by the Sikh community. The luncheon was established by Yogi Bhajan and the Sikh community of New Mexico in 1995. Over the years, the luncheon has become a tradition on opening day.

    The Governor spent time speaking with Sikh and other community leaders during the event. He gave a short address to the people attending the luncheon.

    “This is a special day for all of us,” Governor Richardson said. “Yogi Bhajan is not here with us, but his spirit is very strong. There are a lot of political leaders here today. He helped us all. So let’s enjoy ourselves today and remember him.”

    The luncheon was held at the India Palace Restaurant – which is within walking distance of the Capital Building. Other public officials who attended the event included Edward Chavez, newly appointed Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court; James B. Lewis, New Mexico State Treasurer; Jan Goodwin, Secretary of Taxation and Revenue Department; Michael Cerletti, Secretary of Tourism; and Rhonda G. Faught, Secretary of Transportation.

    In addition, leaders from the Sikh community were in attendance – including Bhai Sahiba Dr. Bibiji Inderjit Kaur, the wife of the late Yogi Bhajan; Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa, the Siri Sikhdhar Sahiba of Sikh Dharma International; Dr Sat Kirpal Kaur Khalsa, CEO/Secretary General Sikh Dharma International; Mukta Kaur Khalsa, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and Daya Singh Khalsa, Senior Vice President for Akal Security.
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