Local Viewpoints

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

  Commentary:   Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Valencia, Bernalillo) will introduce a rule change to ensure that the general public is allowed to attend future state of the state addresses by the governor.  Sanchez will introduce the rule change in response to the decision by the House of Representatives to reserve virtually all of the nearly 300 seats in the public gallery for guests of the governor and members of the House on opening day of the 2016 legislative session.

It's Time To Go To Work In New Mexico

Jan 22, 2016

  Commentary:  The legislative session is here. While there are many issues that deserve some attention, there is only one crisis that demands everyone’s focus: The dismal condition of the New Mexico economy.

We all know the same facts: high unemployment rate, low job creation rate, high poverty rate, shrinking population.

We all also know that New Mexico has enormous untapped potential. Our future is hiding in plain sight. We have everything we need to create our own strategy, to build our own future, to make New Mexico work for all of us.

  Commentary: Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization, released the following statement in response to the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee voting on party line (4-3) to move forward Republican Rep. Pacheco's discriminatory HB 99:

Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Commentary:  As the 2016 New Mexico Legislature's 30-day session gets rolling, the Rio Grande Foundation is re-launching its “Freedom Index” legislative tracking tool. The goal of this tool is to review legislation impacting freedom in our state.

Nachison: We Need Rubio In District 35

Jan 21, 2016
Angelica Rubio

  Commentary:  The primaries for State legislators arrive in some four months.  District 35 is an open seat.  One candidate is outstanding.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

  Commentary – Ahead of tomorrow’s sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) announced that he is introducing two bills to help restore voters’ voices in our democracy and follow through on the president’s call to fix our politics during last week’s State of the Union address.

Remembering MLK's Call to Love One Another

Jan 20, 2016
Public Domain Photo (U.S. Government)

  Commentary:  This week we observed the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Baptist minister and civil rights activist whose life was cut short by a bullet in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.


Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto

  Commentary:  Albuquerque, N.M.—Just two months after filing a lawsuit to challenge Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture program, today, state Senators Lisa Torraco and Daniel Ivey-Soto are asking the court to enter final judgment in their favor.

The senators, represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), filed a motion this morning seeking an expedited resolution of the case and a quick end to Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture program.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:   Today, on the first day of the state legislative session, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich sent a letter to the leaders of the New Mexico House and Senate, formally calling on them to work together to improve the well-being of New Mexico's children. Specifically, Udall and Heinrich urged legislators to bring up and pass a measure that would allow voters to amend the constitution and invest a portion of the state's Land Grant Permanent Fund in the most effective early childhood programs. 

 Commentary: A draft version of Congressman Rob Bishop’s long-awaited Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill—which will be publicly released tomorrow—has been circulating for days.Early reporting already shows Congressman Bishop trying to spin his bill as a balanced and collaborative success story, even before the public has an opportunity to review the legislation.

 Commentary: On Monday, Latino Decisions, a leading national research and polling firm, released results from a new scientific poll revealing a majority of registered voters in New Mexico supports issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants and favors a bipartisan compromise proposal that was passed in the state Senate during the 2015 legislative session.  That proposal would give eligible New Mexicans a choice in obtaining a REAL ID compliant license, while allowing undocumented immigrant drivers to apply for a non-discriminatory license that is not REAL ID compli

Legislators: Bill gives mental health help to veterans

Jan 19, 2016
State Senator José Rodríguez

 Commentary: In addition to the nearly 150,000 active duty service members based at our state's 15 military installations, Texas is home to more than 1.7 million veterans.

In our region, El Paso is home to about 50,000 veterans as well as Fort Bliss, the second-largest U.S. Army installation, with more than 70,000 active duty service personnel and family members.

One of the highest priorities that any member of the Texas Legislature has is our obligation to these military service members, veterans and their families.

Public Domain Photo (U.S. Government)

 Commentary: NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia today issued the following statement to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: 


“As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we recognize the tremendous progress our nation has made since thousands of people heard his young, booming voice echo across the National Mall in Washington and in millions of homes around the country calling on us to ‘open the doors of opportunity for all of God’s children.’   


Goodman: Dueling Lawsuits Is No Way To Run A County

Jan 17, 2016

 Commetnary: County officials should get out of our adversarial legal system and talk honestly. 

Neither side has everything right. There have been honest misunderstandings/disagreements, but each side accuses the other of grandstanding – and using litigation to divert attention from real issues.

The Sheriff should dismiss his lawsuit against two commissioners. I sympathize with some of his frustrations, but this lawsuit isn't the best course of action. He has little chance of winning. (See my blog for details.) 

Commentary– Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve PearceBen Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to quickly approve the State of New Mexico’s request for disaster assistance following December’s catastrophic winter storm. The storm hurt farmers and ranchers across 18 New Mexico counties, and a secretarial disaster designation would allow them to access Farm Service Agency emergency loans.

Obama Administration Orders Comprehensive Review of Federal Coal Leasing Program

Jan 15, 2016

  Commentary – The Obama Administration today announced that the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management will conduct a comprehensive review of the program through which coal leases are obtained and managed on federal, public lands. The review, a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), will assess the impacts that coal mining and transport on public lands has on public health, land, water, wildlife and climate.

Pearce Blasts Decision To Freeze New Coal Leases On Federal Lands

Jan 15, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Commentary:  Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02) issued the following statement after the Obama administration announced major changes to the federal coal program and froze new coal leases on federal land:

  Commentary:  Recently two newspaper headlines newspaper caught my attention:  "G.O.P. Race Forecast:  Hail of Attack Ads" and another:  "Super PACs Still Have Time to Serve as Candidates' Attack Dogs".

Right here in Las Cruces, we saw examples of PACs "serving as candidates' attack dogs" and the sight was not pretty nor were the PACs a success. 

Daniels: New Mexico Needs Bail Reform

Jan 15, 2016
NM Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels

 Commentary: On recommendation of the New Mexico Supreme Court, a bipartisan group of legislators has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would allow voters to decide whether to reform antiquated bail provisions in our state Constitution.

Heinrich: Armed Extremists At Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Must Be Prosecuted

Jan 14, 2016
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

 Commentary:  In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) expressed his concern over the continued takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon by armed extremists, and urged the U.S. Department of Justice to fully prosecute anyone who has broken the law. 

Vado Residents Seek Answers from Commissioner Garrett on Unpaved Roads

Jan 14, 2016
Commissioner Billy Garrett

 Commentary:   On Thursday, January 14, over 50 NM Comunidades en Accion y de Fe (CAFé) faith leaders from Vado will meet with Commissioner Billy Garrett and other Doña Ana County Staff as they share personal testimonies, show pictures of what it is like to live in a neighborhood in dire need of road maintenance and ask County Officials to respond to their requests for a timeline and more community visits from Commissioner Garrett.  After having suspended a resolution that allowed the county to accept private roadways

Udall: President Was Right To Be Upbeat In State Of The Union

Jan 13, 2016
Office of US Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  Commentary:   U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement after President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address:

Heinrich Says President Articulated The "Strength And Spirit" Of Americans

Jan 13, 2016
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

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

Pearce Says President Is "Out Of Touch" With Americans

Jan 13, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

 Commentary:  Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02) issued the following statement after President Obama’s final State of the Union Address:

Tonight, the President demonstrated how out-of-touch he is with the American people.  When he risks our national security or damages our health care system that hurts American jobs, he calls it an accomplishment.  He cannot implement his policies without increasing taxes.  Instead of helping Americans, he has put their jobs, economy, and way of life at risk. 

NEA Leader: Educators share President Obama’s vision for America

Jan 12, 2016

  Commentary:  President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address to the nation before a joint session of Congress tonight. 


The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:


Senator Stewart Pre-Files Bill to Address New Mexico Teacher Crisis

Jan 12, 2016
Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo)

 Commentary:   Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernallilo) pre-filed a bill to address New Mexico’s current teacher crisis by investing in our most experienced teachers to keep them in our children’s classrooms. Senate Bill 14 will increase the wages of experienced teachers who have not received a wage increase in over seven years.

Udall, Heinrich Urge Executive Action to Limit Anonymous Campaign Contributions

Jan 12, 2016
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

  Commentary:   Last week, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined 27 other senators to urge the president to limit anonymous political spending in elections by requiring new transparency for previously secret campaign contributions. The senators are pushing the administration to require federal contractors to disclose political spending before submitting bids for government work. The administration released a draft plan to do so five years ago, but has not finalized it.

Commentary:  Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization, released the following statement in response to Republican Representative Paul Pacheco introducing HB 99, a proposal that would unnecessarily take away drivers' licenses from thousands of New Mexico's immigrant families and force them to carry a discriminatory driver's permit:

In Deming, Charter High School Fights For Its Life

Jan 11, 2016


  Commentary:  Just north of the railroad tracks, the Deming Cesar Chavez Charter High School occupies what used to be Martin Elementary School. Principal Stan Lyons gave me a tour last week, frequently stopping to welcome students back from the holiday break and urge them along to class. It looks much like other schools, but with a smaller faculty and smaller student body. The building seems much larger than the school it houses. 

Photo by David Marshall, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

  Commentary:  The occupation of the Malheur Refuge in Oregon is interesting.  (The Malheur is a place to watch migratory birds. We spent Christmas morning with the sandhill cranes at Bosque del Apache. I'm glad no armed group was occupying the Bosque to force the government to abandon the refuge.) 

First, let's stop calling these guys “militia.” They're nut-cases. They're also making the case for reasonable gun control much more effectively than Obama could do.