Local Viewpoints

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A Politics of Personalities Instead of Ideas

Mar 29, 2016

  Commentary:  Watching the interminable process of the presidential primaries unfold, region by region, week by week, I feel insulted on behalf of my neighbors who are earnest, voting members of the two major parties.


A Closed Mind Is A Narrow Road

Mar 29, 2016

Commentary:  In my first business class the professor said we would be learning about companies like General Motors, Boeing, Xerox and other large corporations than made up the U.S. industrial base. We were going to learn about large market trends like the oil and gas markets and we were going to learn how to understand how these markets impacted our country and the rest of the world. I was lost, first day of class. Great. I was studying at New Mexico State University. NMSU had seven thousand students at the time.

  Commentary:  In a decision filed Thursday, the New Mexico Court of Appeals held that committees appointed by public bodies must comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA), and even when meetings are closed due to the attorney-client privilege, substantial OMA requirements still must be met.

Richard Kadzis

  Commentary: The Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce has a new CEO.

Debbi Moore is a veteran Chamber executive who previously ran the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber, so she is presumably well prepared -- someone with local knowledge and contacts.

She pointed out how, in Las Cruces, the Chamber has a four-star accreditation, along with great people involved in the Chamber and the community.

Those are positive fundamentals that Las Cruces can build on, but even Debbi Moore must know that the Chamber still faces many challenges, just like the community does in general.

Five Ways to Advance New Mexico’s Economy

Mar 23, 2016
USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner

  Commentary:  While the rest of the country is well on its way to recovery from the 2008 recession, New Mexico continues to limp along with less than 1% economic growth and rising unemployment. Moody’s Investors Services predicts New Mexico is on the downward spiral into another recession.

Heinrich Secures $10 Mil For Directed Energy Development In New Mexico

Mar 23, 2016
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich speaks at the Raytheon Ktech facility in Albuquerque, March 23, 2016

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced a $10 million investment in directed energy development in New Mexico. 

  Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced that the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge will receive $1 million in additional annual funding to engage urban communities and youth in conservation and outdoor recreation.

 Commentary: When Deming and Luna County learned who would be our local  candidates for June party primaries and the November election, one contest in particular raised eyebrows.


Luna County Commissioner Javier Diaz will relinquish his seat after his current term and both major parties are holding primaries to select candidates to replace him. The Republicans have a crowded field of five candidates, and one of them caught everybody's attention right away: Deming Mayor Benny Jasso.


  Commentary:  After a bumpy start by his open government division, Attorney General Hector Balderas and his staff have issued almost three dozen opinion letters in the last three months in response to complaints about violations of the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA).

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Commentary:  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after he introduced legislation that would prohibit using Federal funds to accept commercial flight plans to travel between the United States and Cuba:

Sanchez: Governor’s Vetoes Show Who She Doesn’t Stand For

Mar 20, 2016
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

Commentary:  Vetoes handed out by Governor Susana Martinez at the end of the 2016 Session of the Legislature were fewer than in years past, but they singled out the most vulnerable in our state for harsher treatment than ever before.  In previous years there might have been dozens of bills that fell under the Governor’s veto ax.  But this year we are talking about Native Americans in the poorest communities, small farmers in rural communities, the developmentally disabled, non-English speakers, and students from low and middle income families who were the target.

Bill Introduced To Prevent Suspension Of Medicaid Services Without Thorough Investigation

Mar 18, 2016
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary:  U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Reps.


  Commentary:  Senate Majority Whip, Senator Michael Padilla (D-14 – Bernalillo) today criticized the veto of critical funding for repairs and improvements to 25 acequias across the state by Governor Susana Martinez.  Using her line-item veto authority, Martinez stripped almost $1,000,000 in total from acequia projects that had been approved and passed by the Legislature during its recent 2016 meeting.  The funds for the acequia projects were a portion of the Legislature’s annual capital outlay infrastructure spending package that was sent to the Governor.

U.S. Senate Paying for Programs with Magical Thinking

Mar 16, 2016

 Commentary: The United States Senate has accomplished something!  Sort of. 

The Republican-controlled Senate would like credit for passing a bill addressing heroin and opioid addiction in the United States. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) passed on an impressive 94-1 vote. Among its co-sponsors was our own Senator Martin Heinrich.


  Commentary: President Barack Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court today, nominating Merrick Garland. Garland is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose importance is only surpassed by the Supreme Court itself. The National Education Association is urging the U.S. Senate to do its job by considering the president’s nominee, and hold a hearing and a vote on Chief Judge Garland.


Let’s appreciate what farmers, ranchers put on our plates – and into our communities

Mar 13, 2016
Jeff M. Witte-New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture

Commentary:  Milk, beef, chile, pecans…Cheese, lettuce, spinach, grapes…Alfalfa, cotton, corn, onions and more -- what's not to get excited about as spring approaches?  Agriculture is alive and well in New Mexico, and the food and crops mentioned here are just a sample of the diverse culture of production that makes New Mexico special.


  Commentary:  Responding to reports that on Monday morning the University of New Mexico Board of Regents intends to dissolve and take over the authority of the board that oversees numerous New Mexico medical facilities that serve the public, Senate Democratic leaders today called for the Regents to stand down. 

 Commentary: What sense does any of this make?

Why should state legislators who oppose abortion because they contend that a fetus is already a full-human person, and will feel pain if a woman aborts a pregnancy, object to that woman being educated about and able to obtain contraceptives that would obviate the need for either an abortion or an unwanted pregnancy? Why do folks complaining that we spend too much to feed and clothe poor women's proliferating offspring oppose making sure those poor women understand and can afford contraceptives?

  Commentary:   After the New Mexico Political Report published a story today detailing a proposal by Gov. Martinez's appointees on the UNM Board of Regents to dissolve the UNM Health Sciences Center board, ProgressNow NM Managing Director Alex Curtas released this statement:

Pearce Demands Transparency and Accountability on Carlsbad Caverns Elevators

Mar 11, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Commentary:  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after the National Park Service (NPS) announced plans to hold a town hall regarding Carlsbad Caverns broken elevators:

State Senator Bill Soules

   Commentary:  Following Governor Martinez’s veto of modest legislation to require the State to publish a simple report at the end of each year identifying how many New Mexicans with disabilities are waiting for services, advocates for the disabled today expressed disappointment and sharply criticized the decision.  Senate Bill 36 (SB 36), “Developmental Disabilities Annual Reporting”, was passed in both by the Senate and the House of Representatives without a single dissenting vote.  Despite the measure’s obvious and broad support for a vulnerable group of residents, and even though it in

Heinrich Says More Resources, Personnel Needed To Strengthen Border Security

Mar 11, 2016
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary:  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is calling for more resources to ramp up security along the border in the Bootheel region in southwest New Mexico.

Governor Martinez Again Vetoes Bill to Improve Court Interpreter Services

Mar 11, 2016
Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo)

  Commentary:  For the second time in as many years, Governor Susana Martinez on Wednesday vetoed an uncontroversial measure to improve court interpreter services in New Mexico, putting into focus her past efforts as a District Attorney to keep Spanish-speakers from serving on juries.

Recent New Mexico Legislative Session Casts Shadow on Sunshine Week

Mar 11, 2016

 Commentary-- Closed-door budget talks and a failed effort to create a transparent ethics commission largely shaded the recent New Mexico Legislative session from sunlight, but 2016 did see two incremental victories for transparency.

Sunshine Week is March 13-19, 2016.  The Sunshine Week campaign works nationwide to celebrate transparency and emphasize the value of open government.  

Report: NM’s State Economic Development Spending Favors Big Business

Mar 11, 2016

  Commentary:  Despite the fact that a large share of New Mexico’s workforce is employed by small businesses, 70 percent of the state’s economic development subsidies goes to large companies. That’s one of the conclusions of a report released yesterday by Good Jobs First, a Washington, DC-based think tank focused on economic development. The report, “Slicing the Budget Pie for Big Business,” examined $344 million in spending on more than 60 programs among three states—New Mexico, Florida and Missouri.

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

Commentary:  Senate Democrats today sharply criticized Governor Susana Martinez for her veto of bipartisan-supported legislation to shore up declining revenues of New Mexico’s lottery scholarship fund that enables thousands of the state’s students to attend college.  The bill, SB 79, would have required unclaimed lottery prizes to be transferred to the scholarship fund, resulting in between $1 to $3 million additionally each year for student scholarships.  The decline of state lottery sales has lowered funds available for student tuition scholarships, and SB 79 sought to alleviate the short

Heinrich Votes To Pass Bill To Combat Opioid And Heroin Abuse Epidemic

Mar 10, 2016
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary:  Today, U.S.

  Commentary -- Today, President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an agreement to address the climate crisis, expand our clean energy economy, commit both nations to Arctic conservation, and address the need for safeguards to cut dangerous methane from both new and existing sources.


Governor Signs Bill Allowing ATVs On New Mexico's Paved Roadways

Mar 9, 2016

  Commentary:   Senate Minority Caucus Chair Steve Neville’s bill to allow  local communities  to decide whether all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and  off-highway vehicles (OHVs) can drive on their paved roads was signed by the governor.  This has a local option where local entities could opt in and determine  restrictions such as how fast, and which roads or portion of paved roads the  vehicles can use.

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

  Commentary– Last week, New Mexico’s state senate democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requesting an investigation into the Martinez administration’s upheaval of behavioral health services.  The letter follows a similar request by New Mexico’s congressional democrats made last month.  Both letters cite serious concerns regarding NM’s human services department’s (HSD) suspension of funding to 15 behavioral health providers in June, 2013 amid “allegations of credible fraud” and the impact the disruption of services had on those in need of services.