Local Viewpoints

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   Note: The column below, written Wednesday, appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News this morning, Sunday, 8 February.   On Friday the Recallers turned in petitions seeking to recall City Councilors Olga Pedroza, Nathan Smart, and Gill Sorg.  By my count, the legal deadline for the Sorg and Pedroza petitions passed Monday. There's good evidence they collected their first signatures the weekend of November 28-29.  .

Pearce Welcomes Proposed Rules To Expand Home Loan Access

Feb 7, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Washington, D.C.  – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced several proposed changes to its mortgage rules that would expand access to home loans for many underserved buyers living in rural areas and small towns in New Mexico and across the country.  In response to the announcement, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (N.M.-02) issued the following statement.

“The CFPB’s actions last week to alter its mortgage rules are a welcome step in balancing consumer protection and over-regulation.

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Bernalillo & Valencia) issued the following statement regarding the Joint Session of the Legislature for American Indian Day held earlier today:

Martinez: Let's Stick To The Facts About "Right To Work"

Feb 4, 2015

  As I watch this year’s legislative session, I am concerned with the misinformed claims made by Republican Governor Martinez that have made right-to-work/anti-worker legislation her top priority.  When I think of all the issues we face here in our state in building a healthy economy I am appalled that the Governor will be attacking our working families.

Udall Acknowledges New Mexico DREAMers In Senate Speech

Feb 3, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall shared the stories of two hardworking DREAMers from Santa Fe and Belen, N.M. in a speech from the Senate floor. His remarks came just after voting against beginning debate on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which he said unfairly targets young undocumented immigrants.

Pearce Joins Republicans For Another Vote To Repeal The Affordable Care Act

Feb 3, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Today, Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 596, a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  

“It has been nearly five years since Obamacare has been enacted into law. In that time, the law has been defined by broken promises and unworkable implementation,” said Pearce. “It has forced Americans to pay more for their health care coverage, led some to lose their doctors or the insurance plans they designed for their families.”

Soules Pushes For New Mexico Minimum Wage Of $10.10

Feb 3, 2015
State Senator Bill Soules

  Santa Fe, NM – A Senate bill introduced Tuesday would incrementally increase the statewide minimum wage per hour starting in 2016, and it calls for an increase in pay of $2.60 over the current rate of $7.50 as required by state law.

Soules: "Right To Work" Is Wrong For New Mexico

Feb 3, 2015
State Senator Bill Soules

  When I ran for public office, I made a commitment to make decisions based on facts, accurate information, and data and not on emotions, word-spin, and marketing.  The so-called “right-to-work” bills moving through the New Mexico Legislature are perfect examples of laws where spin and marketing are used to obfuscate, obscure, and confuse people about the real effects and purposes of the legislation.

  President Obama’s budget proposes doubling the federal budget to combat antibiotic resistance.  This is exciting, especially given that medical experts – from the World Health Organization to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – warn that antibiotics are rapidly losing their effectiveness, putting the health of millions at risk.

What Is The True Cost Of Oil And Gas Flaring In New Mexico?

Feb 2, 2015
Dom Smith at Ecoflight

  Santa Fe, NM –New Mexico State Senator Benny Shendo Jr. (D-22 Bernalillo McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan & Sandoval), introduced Senate Memorial 29 (SM29) seeking to uncover the true costs to taxpayers and the environment of oil and gas flaring in the state.


  Santa Fe, NM – Today, Senator Jacob Candelaria, (D-26-Bernalillo) held a press conference about the importance of paid family and medical leave and highlighted the New Mexico Family Act (SB 375), which would bring paid family, maternity and sick leave to New Mexico. SB 375 would provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

  (Albuquerque, NM) – The Rio Grande Foundation, using data produced by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University (BHI) has analyzed the Obama Administration Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Clean Air Regulations” and found that if consumers are concerned with the electricity rate hikes being proposed by Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), they will face an even greater impact under the new federal regulations.

facebook.com/somos un pueblo unido

  Santa Fe - Over a thousand immigrant workers and their children from throughout New Mexico marched to the Roundhouse on Monday to protest the sixth attempt by the Governor and her anti-immigrant allies to repeal the current law that requires undocumented immigrants to be licensed.  Hundreds of New Mexican children carrying New Mexican flags led the march wearing bright yellow t-shirts that said "My my mother is an immigrant.

  There's a school-board election set for Tuesday, February 3rd.

   Is anybody still reading? 

   I hope so.  Whom we choose is important – even if we don't have kid or grandkids in the Las Cruces Public School System.  Not only do these folks decide how to spend a bunch of public money, they help determine the educational climate here, which has a bearing on business and quality of life for everyone.

Sanchez: Governor’s Reports About Benefits Of "Right To Work" Are False

Jan 30, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM –Emails revealing that Governor Susana Martinez’s top political strategists began planning to create misinformation on a key state policy three years ago in order to gain political advantage today drew sharp criticism from Senate Majority Leader Michael S.

  Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization, denounced the dangerous and shameful actions by Republican members of the House Safety and Civil Affairs to move forward two recycled proposals that would take drivers' licenses away from the immigrant parents of up to 100,000 children in New Mexico.


Heinrich: Strengthen Overtime Protections For New Mexico Workers

Jan 30, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined a group of 26 senators in supporting updating overtime rules to ensure more middle-class workers are paid fairly for overtime hours. In a letter to President Obama, the senators urged the administration to increase the income threshold to $56,680 per year to strengthen overtime protections for millions more middle-class workers. The current annual salary threshold to receive time-and-a-half pay for overtime hours is $23,660 impacting a mere 11 percent of salaried workers nationwide.

I think “Marriage Equality” will be law throughout the U.S. later this year.          

   The U.S. Supreme Court has been heading that way since 2003, when it prohibited  a Texas law against consensual gay sex in Lawrence v. Texas.  (Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in dissent that after Lawrence, there was no basis for denying same-sex couples the right to marry.)  In 2013 it tossed out federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  In each opinion Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the Court, wrote of gay people's dignity and equality. 

Heinrich, Udall Urge McConnell To Pass Homeland Security Bill Without Targeting DREAMers

Jan 28, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  In a letter, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pass a clean bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the remainder of the fiscal year.  The letter was signed by forty-five Senators, including two Independents calling for a DHS funding bill without extraneous policy riders attached.  The letter also noted that the President would veto any piece of legislation that would limit his discretion on immigration matters. 

Hynes: Spaceport America Requires Support From New Mexico

Jan 27, 2015

  The state legislature has been in session for two weeks now. Reports are coming from Santa Fe  about southern New Mexico.  More debate is occurring about the future of our spaceport.  Establishing a new industry like commercial space transportation requires demand for its products and services. Commercial products of the commercial space transportation industry include new launch vehicles, satellites and their related technologies. A new industry also requires leaders who are commitment and have the ability to articulate and advocate.

Education Unions Announce Santa Fe March And Rally

Jan 27, 2015

  Albuquerque – The American Federation of Teachers New Mexico (AFT NM) and the National Education Association – New Mexico (NEA-NM) will unite for a Moral Monday March and Rally in Santa Fe Monday, February 16, 2015.   

Pearce Opposes President's Wilderness Designation In Alaska

Jan 26, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  President Obama announced that he would unilaterally set aside 12 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness. This announcement comes after last year’s designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument -- that locked up nearly 500,000 acres of southern New Mexico.   U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) issued the following statement in response:

  WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, commended the California Supreme Court for barring judges from non-profit youth organizations like the Boy Scouts of America that discriminate against LGBT people - mirroring new standards HRC will require Fortune 500 to meet in its annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

Pearce: SunZia Decision Endangers The Nation

Jan 23, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  On Saturday, Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Sally Jewell is expected to sign the record of decision (ROD), approving the construction of the SunZia transmission line (SunZia).  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (N.M.-2) issued the following statement in response:

Pearce Votes To Speed Up Natural Gas Permitting

Jan 22, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 161, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act with a bipartisan vote of 253-169. This bill would accelerate the approval of much needed energy infrastructure projects across the country. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) released the following statement on his support for and passage of the bill:

Group Blasts Pearce Commentary On Wolf Policy

Jan 22, 2015

  As demonstrated yet again by his recent commentary, “Latest Wolf Rule Puts New Mexicans in Danger,” the facts and Rep. Steve Pearce don’t have a very close relationship.

Despite Rep. Pearce’s fear-mongering, expanding the small Mexican gray wolf population of about 100 wolves will hardly put people or their livelihoods in danger, something the congressman could have learned from the hundreds of his constituents who attended a public hearing last August in Truth or Consequences to voice their support for the wolves.


  Austin -- Senator José Rodríguez issued the following statement upon adjournment of the Texas Senate, which voted today to change its rules in a way that limits minority power, dismissing over 60 years of tradition meant to protect the minority and encourage debate and compromise.

  Santa Fe — NMPIRG, joined today by Common Cause, and Environment New Mexico, gathered at the Roundhouse to mark the fifth anniversary of Citizens United, the infamous decision that birthed Super PACs and opened the floodgates for special interest money in our elections.  The groups called out the flood of big money in elections and put forward solutions to amplify the voice of average Americans. 

Pearce Blasts State Of The Union Address

Jan 21, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  President Obama delivered his seventh State of the Union (SOTU) since taking office.  In response, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) issued the following statement:

“Hard-working Americans yearn for concrete solutions to our nation’s challenges.  Yet tonight, we heard more out-of-touch rhetoric that neither soothes concerns, nor gives reason for hope,” said Pearce

Heinrich: President Obama Laid Out A Clear Vision To Help The Middle Class

Jan 20, 2015
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement after President Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress:

"Tonight, the president laid out a clear vision to increase opportunities for all Americans and strengthen our middle class. While our nation's economy is progressing, my priority is to build on that momentum so that New Mexicans working hard to get ahead feel those gains.