Local Viewpoints

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New Mexico Democratic Chair Deb Haaland

  Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for President of the United States today, marking the third Bush to run for the office since 1989.

 There's apparently a bullying problem within the Las Cruces Public School District: many employees say Superintendent Stan Rounds shows extreme favoritism toward folks he likes but has many others “very scared.”

Along the Way: Joe and Christina Campos Making a Difference in Guadalupe County

Jun 11, 2015

  All of us know Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Bill and Melinda Gates as some of history’s most famous, successful couples.  But you may not know we have a very successful (maybe not yet internationally famous) couple living in our midst today in rural New Mexico—Joe and Christina Campos of Santa Rosa, NM.

Justice in the "Sunland Park" Cases

Jun 11, 2015

  Las Cruces - The conclusion of what has been called the “Sunland Park” cases is a just and fair result considering the quality of the investigation and the scarcity of legally provable facts. If cases are not properly investigated or fully analyzed prior to indictment then justice advances slowly, if at all. These cases were originated and investigated, in part, by investigators working directly for the former District Attorney. Those investigators wrote no contemporaneous reports during their investigation, thus creating severe gaps within the case.

Udall Champions Bill To Empower Small Donors In Elections

Jun 11, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he has joined U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and others in introducing the Fair Elections Now Act, which would dramatically change the way congressional elections are financed. Under the legislation, qualified Senate candidates would earn grants, matching funds, and television vouchers to run competitive campaigns based on small-dollar contributions, rather than rely on funding from wealthy donors and special interests. U.S. Sen.

Local Control Bill Vetoed By Texas Governor

Jun 10, 2015
SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

 

  Austin - S.B. 408, which state Sen. José Rodríguez and state Rep. Cesar Blanco passed to support local business and allow counties optional additional criteria to use when evaluating bids, was vetoed by the governor today.

The local control bill would allow counties to do what cities already are allowed to do – use more than simple cost as the only criteria to assess best value to the community when awarding contracts.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan passed its first court test today when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a legal challenge was premature and must wait for the plan’s final standards expected this summer.

David Doniger, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate and Clean Air Program, made this statement:

Heinrich, Murphy, Schatz Unveil Forward-Looking, Pragmatic Foreign Policy Principles

Jun 9, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

 

Senate Democrats: Work Will Begin Quickly On Capital Projects

Jun 8, 2015
Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35), Chair, Legislative Finance Committee

  Santa Fe, NM – During a one-day Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature, the Senate today passed a package of legislation that funds needed infrastructure construction projects – seniors centers, higher education facilities, and tribal infrastructure – worth nearly $300 million. Work on those projects will create jobs in communities across the state quickly.

Promise of Reforms by CBP Commissioner Ring Hollow

Jun 8, 2015

  The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) strongly condemns the lack of willingness from leadership at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hold Border Patrol agents that were involved in 67 lethal use-of-force incidents from 2010 to 2012 accountable for their actions. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) audit, released in 2013, concluded that CBP officers and agents used deadly force in incidents where it may not be justifiable and that many incidents were not thoroughly investigated.

Building a Better Future Together: Celebrating National Homeownership Month

Jun 8, 2015
NM USDA Rural Development Director Terry Brunner

  As National Homeownership Month begins, we think of the many rural families who have built their homes with their own hands – and have, quite literally, worked up a sweat as they toiled to build a better future through homeownership.

  Is MacArthur Elementary a case study in how a superintendent's favoritism can harm a school? Several present and former teachers and staff say it is.   

Soon after Kathy Adams, Superintendent Stan Rounds's fiancée, was hired at MacArthur, Terry Stuart, MacArthur's very capable principal, moved to Central Office, and  inexperienced Karla Ragan (then Ruiz) replaced him.  

Ragan had briefly been an assistant principal.  Often it takes an assistant 2-3 years to become Principal.  Rounds says there's no set requirement.

Udall, Heinrich Urge CFPB To Issue Strong Rules To Stop Predatory PayDay Lending Practices

Jun 5, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) considers new rules to address predatory practices in payday and similar types of lending, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined a group of Senators in expressing support for initial steps the agency has taken and urging the agency to issue strong rules to combat the "cascade of devastating financial consequences" that these high-priced loans often have on consumers.

Heinrich Lauds Passage of USA Freedom Act

Jun 2, 2015

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, voted for the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which passed the Senate by a vote of 67 to 32. The legislation will end the National Security Agency's (NSA) bulk collection program that has allowed the government to collect billions of Americans' private records while suspecting them of no wrongdoing.

Goodman: Explaining An Outrage In Las Cruces

May 31, 2015

  Many here are outraged that Robert J. Flores, convicted after his daughter died through his inexcusable neglect, will not be jailed. A Soundoff said his daughter, Kalynne, deserved better. 

I agree, and would hope former DA Susana Martinez is apologizing in her heart to Kalynne and will do so publicly. 

Heinrich: USA FREEDOM Act Only Responsible Path Forward

May 29, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

 

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is calling for the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 to ensure the Intelligence Community has an updated legal framework to strengthen national security while also protecting the privacy rights of Americans. The legislation will end the National Security Agency's (NSA) bulk collection program that has allowed the government to collect billions of Americans' private records while suspecting them of no wrongdoing.

PRC Commissioner: Time To Send A Stern Message To PNM

May 27, 2015

  SANTA FE – Today, I motioned that my fellow commissioners approve an order presented by the Office of General Counsel to the Public Regulation Commission (PRC).

That order effectively grants the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) additional time to settle matters regarding an ownership restructuring agreement as well as the utility’s coal supply contract, and sets into motion a final timeline for PNM to submit contracts to the PRC.

Sen. José Rodríguez Blasts Texas "Border Security" Bill

May 27, 2015
SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

  AUSTIN – The Texas Senate today voted to approve HB 11, the "border security" bill that expands DPS' staffing and mission with little oversight or accountability, adding not only to the billion-dollar tab already credited to state with no clear purpose but now creating an obligation for future Legislatures. Sen. José Rodríguez voted no on the bill and issued the following statement:

Heinrich: Only Responsible Path Forward Is To Pass The USA Freedom Act

May 24, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is calling for the passage of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 to ensure the Intelligence Community has an updated legal framework to strengthen national security while also protecting the privacy rights of Americans. The legislation will end the National Security Agency's (NSA) bulk collection program that has allowed the government to collect billions of Americans' private records on a daily basis.

Goodman: Hope For The Dusty Desert Spaceport? Well...

May 24, 2015
Spaceport America

  Another week, another tidbit of desperate hope that the Dusty Desert Spaceport will pay off soon.

Start-up Exos Aerospace Systems and Technologies has bought Armadillo Aerospace's assets and supposedly will develop and launch its new gizmo from Dusty Desert.

Udall Voices Concern About Funding New Mexico Priorities In Republican Bills

May 22, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined the Senate Appropriations Committee to advance critical Fiscal Year 2016 bills that fund New Mexico priorities, including the national laboratories, military base construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. But although he voted to advance the Energy and Water and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills to the Senate floor, Udall warned that he has very serious concerns about the funding levels, which revert to sequestration levels. 

  As I celebrate the one year anniversary of the designation of Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks I think back to my commitment to defend my country and the lands we love. When I enlisted in the U.S. Army, I vividly remembering that on Sundays I would go to mass, for many reasons; one to get away from the drill sergeants and two, to go to mass.  During the mass, we would sing different hymns but the Father would always have us sing America the Beautiful:

                                 O beautiful for spacious skies,

Udall And Heinrich: Monument Anniversary Is A Reason To Celebrate

May 21, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  The local coalition recently is hosting a series of anniversary events this week in Las Cruces; and if you didn't already get the chance, we hope everyone soon will take the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate this very special national monument right here in our own backyard.

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Business and economic development leaders gathered in Albuquerque today to show support for PNM’s Plan for the San Juan Generating Station, saying that closing the entire power plant would mean economic hardship for the entire state.

“The PNM Plan is a responsible balance between environmental protection and jobs,” said Jason Espinoza, Vice President for Government Affairs at the Association of Commerce and Industry.  “We urge passage of the PNM Plan because it’s in the best interests of the state to keep electric rates reasonable.”

Sierra Club: PNM Plan Is Bad For Business

May 21, 2015

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM –Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) brings together the few remaining soldiers to endorse its $7.5 billion coal and nuclear replacement plan in a press conference Thursday. 

Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Today, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement announcing the introduction of H.R. 2467, legislation that will help protect New Mexico’s local communities, secure its southern border and strengthen national security.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) Texas

  LAS CRUCES, NM—In a press conference today in Washington, DC, Congressman Beto O’Rourke joined the growing number of House Democrats calling on the Department of Homeland Security to put an end to its shameful practice of family detention. The ACLU of New Mexico played a key oversight role to monitor conditions and defend due process for children and women locked up in the Artesia, NM last year. 

The following quote can be attributed to Vicki Gaubeca, Director of the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights.

Message From Plea Deal: Criminal Behavior Is Rampant on Wall Street

May 20, 2015

  Note: Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that five major banks have agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and pay criminal fines in connection with the foreign exchange market. Four agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to currency manipulation; a fifth will plead guilty to manipulating benchmark interest rates.

Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Albuquerque, Farmington and statewide business organizations will hold a major press conference on Thursday to voice support for the PNM Plan for the San Juan Generating Station.  A closure of the plant would bring serious negative economic impact for New Mexico, including rate hikes and lost jobs.

Scheduled to appear at the press conference are ACI, the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry; AED, Albuquerque Economic Development; NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association; the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and others.

SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

  EL PASO – State Sen. José Rodríguez issued the following statement regarding the El Paso Children's Hospital bankruptcy filing announced today: 

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