KRWG

Simon Thompson

Reporter/Producer

Simon Thompson is a reporter/producer for KRWG-TV's Newsmakers.  You can also hear his reports on KRWG-FM.  

Thompson is originally from Australia, where he graduated from Monash University with a B.A in Journalism and Politics.

After graduating, Thompson wrote features and worked as subeditor for a social culture magazine in his hometown of Melbourne.

Thompson came to the United States to travel and embark on a freelance career, sending articles to a string of publications in Australia. After realizing the gravity and extent of crucial issues begging to be covered, Thompson worked to extend his time in the U.S.

Thompson got his start in public media in Indiana at PBS/NPR stations WTIU/WFIU, shooting and producing in depth feature stories for TV and radio.

Thompson chose to come to the southwest during the polar vortex of 2013 – 2014 to report on life in the border region, master Spanish, and get as far away from any future polar vortex as possible.

As an Expat living in the U.S., Thompson has a natural inclination towards immigration issues and has focused his reporting on drug policy, education, and socioeconomic challenges in the region.

Follow Simon on Twitter @SimoThom  for story updates and news, or send him story ideas at simothom@nmsu.edu
 

KRWG

 

New Mexico economists, policy makers and students gathered at the Las Cruces Convention Center for the annual New Mexico State University economic outlook conference. 

Despite the economic forecasts, fears and concerns of economists and commentators, the election of Donald Trump has been good for markets. According to Wells Fargo data-  consumer and small business confidence has skyrocketed.

Wells Fargo Economist Eugenio Alemán said the confidence comes with expectations of lower taxes and fewer regulations under the new administration.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement actions across the nation have been making headlines and raising tensions. Some immigrant advocacy groups are concerned ICE is expanding the scope of immigrants targeted in enforcement operations.

An ICE raid Wednesday morning marks the first of these less indiscriminate operations happening locally.

Almost 50 people brandishing signs, beating drums and shouting protest songs shut down Main Street traffic in protests and a show of solidarity with immigrants.

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The Save My Care Bus Tour is a two-month, cross-country tour focused on reaching and share the stories of Americans who could lose their health care under the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Las Crucen Barbara Alvarez suffers from chronic asthma. She has to take a number of different medications, treatments and sometime requires medical attention.

“About six weeks ago I had a sinus infection and other conditions related to my allergies.  I ended up in urgent care and needed to have several medications and prescriptions.” Alvarez said. 

Courtesy: Southwest Environmental Center

 

In the New Mexico legislative session there is an attempt to outlaw wildlife killing contests. While some say the competitions are needed to address coyote populations threatening livestock and pets conservationists say the events are an inhumane and unnecessary blood sport.

If the bill passes, New Mexico would be the first state to outlaw the competitions completely.
 

KRWG/Simon Thompson

Elephant Butte Dam was built in 1916 to store water flowing from northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.  But more 100 years later, with increasing temperatures and a growing number of users… water managers are working to address the same supply challenges the dam was built to resolve.

facebook.com (donald trump)

An estimated 200,000 women and supporters of women’s rights are set to take to the streets in Washington DC.  They will be protesting the Trump Presidency and voicing their fears over what the new administration will mean for women’s rights.

‘Sister’ marches will be taking place in cities throughout the nation- including Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

KRWG/Simon Thompson

On election night, many countries of the world watched in disbelief as Donald Trump won the Presidency with surprise victories in states that allowed him to best Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College.

Countries have since been scrambling to assess where they stand with the US diplomatically, in trade agreements and in shared societal values. 

Simon Thompson spent time with friends and acquaintances in his homeland to get Australian reaction to the election of Donald Trump.  
 

KRWG/Simon Thompson

In the wake of a $600 million state budget shortfall last year, New Mexico depleted funding reserves and made severe funding cuts to public health, K-12 and higher education, state employee compensation and state agencies.

On Tuesday, Democratic State Representative Bill McCamley announced a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in the name of diversifying the New Mexico economy and replenishing state revenues.

Imagine if a child or family member was painfully and ill and sick - but you couldn’t be there to support them or take care of them. That is the case for millions of mixed immigration status families. Yesterday immigration advocates gathered at Us Immigration offices in El Paso Texas to petition for the reunification of one separated family.
  

According to United Health Foundation when it comes to health New Mexico ranks 37th nationally. When it comes to young people those numbers are even worse. 

‘Advocacy at work’ is a New Mexico State University” initiative project that’s training school students to teach their classmates about health issues.

Simon Thompson

A Guttmacher Institute study found teen use of contraception was higher in states with more comprehensive sex education.  New Mexico has the highest rate of teen pregnancy. But there is an effort to improve sex education the state.

Top budget officials for the state of New Mexico are placing a high priority on rebuilding state reserves that have been depleted amid a sustained downturn in the oil and natural gas sectors.

Finance and Administration Secretary Duffy Rodriguez said her agency has set a goal of restoring state reserves to 5 percent of the state's annual general fund appropriations.

Rebuilding reserves would shore up the state's credit rating to ensure low-interest borrowing and provide a buffer against economic volatility.

 

Though the University of New Mexico Board of Regents has not moved to change the school's official seal, they have created a process to consider a new one.

Regents on Tuesday voted to create a process to design a new seal and gauge the cost of adopting it.

The university's current seal, which was adopted in 1969 and depicts a frontiersman and a Spanish conquistador, has been criticized by Native American student groups as being racist. Critics say the seal reflects the state's violent past toward Native Americans.

 

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is offering assurances that people won't be left without health insurance as President-elect Donald Trump and fellow Republicans seek to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

Martinez was attending a meeting of the Republican Governors Association in Florida on Wednesday where GOP governors discussed ambitions to overhaul Medicaid and health care exchanges that offer insurance policies.

KRWG/Simon Thompson

A New Mexico State University student was shot during a confrontation with a New Mexico State University police officer on the main campus in Las Cruces Monday night.

The 28 year old male has been hospitalized at University Medical Center in El Paso and is in stable condition.

New Mexico State University Police Chief Stephen Lopez said the shooting occurred after an officer responded to a report of a man with a gun at the Chamisa Village apartments on campus.

  

Daylight hasn’t broken before 500 students from the tiny Mexican town of Palomas are up and on their way to school. But it’s not your typical commute. To get to class, these kids have to cross an international border.

This election Millennials became a political force as significant as Baby Boomers. They played a key role in the outcome of last nights election. Such as those that voted third party.. a New York Times/CBS News poll taken before election day shows a whopping 36 percent of voters under 30 planned to vote for a third-party candidate. 

The called it the awakening of a sleeping giant; record numbers of Latinos turning out to vote because of Donald Trumps racist comments about Latinos and illegal immigration. But what ever 'awakening' there was didn’t deny Trump the Presidency. Religious values may have allowed a Trump to secure a larger portion of the Latino demographic than projected.

Simon Thompson

Though the Democratic Party fell short nationally, they did well in New Mexico state races. 

Angelica Rubio is under 40, Latina and now the New Mexico State House representative for district 35. Rubio beat Republican candidate Joseph Bishop.

Rubio explains the significance of her victory.

In the Dona Ana County Detention Center, more than 40 percent of the jail population is being treated for mental illness. But jails serving as mental health treatment facilities is not by design and there are regional efforts to address the number of mentally ill people in a criminal justice system designed to incarcerate, not to deliver mental health care.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mentally ill person going through a crisis or episode is more likely to encounter a police officer than they are to get the medical attention they actually need.  

Isela Montalban

It’s one of the largest migrations in modern history; Mexicans moving to the United States. But a 2015 Pew Research Center report revealed a reversal of that flow more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than coming in. Institute of Mexicans Abroad data reveals that instead more and more Mexicans are going to other countries.    
“Of course, no one wants to go back to Mexico. No one! “ said Isela Montalban.

KRWG

 

NASA scientists are projecting dry conditions are only going to get exponentially more severe in the next thirty years. On KRWG 90.7 FM Voice of the Public we discuss water scarcity with experts and stake holders

KRWG Voice of the Public - Water Scarcity, hosted by Simon Thompson Featuring guests Western Resource Advocates Policy Analyst- Jorge Figueroa New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity Director - Anthony Gutierrez Silver City Assistant Town Manager - James Marshall Friday October 21st 2016.
  

Millennials are now as large of a political force as Baby Boomers and that could determine this Presidential election. But according to the Pew Research Center to the Republican party they may be a lost generation.
One high school Republican is working to change those perceptions and recruit El Paso high schoolers into the GOP.

Drug violence drove thousands of businesses out of Ciudad Juarez between 2008 and 2011. The Juarez Business Chamber puts the number at more than ten-thousand. But a privately financed innovation hub is working to kick the city’s business sector back into gear.

The Democratic party has had a stronghold on state and local politics in El Paso, TX for more than a decade. But the El Paso County Republicans are working to reach the region's voters.

There were more than 100 people at the El Paso County Republican debate watch party.  The atmosphere was fun and festive, it felt less like a political gathering and more like a county fair.

KRWG/Simon Thompson

According to a 2016 Harvard Business school report approximately 24 percent of all business owners are immigrants. Yet they only make up 15% of the population. A regional effort is working to attract and grow foreign entrepreneurial talent and strengthen bi-national partnerships.

aecf.org

What does the U.S. have in common with Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea? The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that these are the only countries in the world that don’t have paid family or maternity leave. But there is a push to expand access to paid family leave time in New Mexico.

Simon Thompson

2013 New Mexico and Texas Departments of Health data shows one quarter of Dona Ana County residents needing hospitalization are going to Texas to get those services.  But a lower Medicaid reimbursement rate in New Mexico means many Texas doctors aren’t accepting them anymore.

David Tafoya is 5 years old. His father Joshua said since his son was 18 months old he has suffered from a severe case of epilepsy.

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