Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.

JEC Dems Report: Retirement Security in Peril

Feb 15, 2018

Commentary:  Joint Economic Committee Democrats released today a report on the state of retirement in America. American workers are facing a crisis, the inability to retire with dignity after a life of hard work. Half of all American families near retirement have $12,000 or less in formal retirement savings. Congress should now focus on policies that broaden access to low cost, high-yield retirement savings options, strengthen Social Security, secure pension plans, and restore access to a stable and adequate retirement for an aging population.


Commentary: The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty condemns President Trump’s 2019 budget proposal that slashes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, by $213 billion. The proposal would replace SNAP food dollars for households receiving over $90 a month in benefits with a shelf stable box of foods. With the proposed 30 percent cut to the program over the next ten years, New Mexico would also stand to lose $207.9 million to the state economy.

Education Spending Boosts New Mexico Economy

Feb 15, 2018

Commentary: Statement from NEA-NM President Betty Patterson on the legislative budget agreement just arrived at by the "Conference Committee" of three Senators (Smith, Cisneros, Neville) and three Representatives (Lundstrom, Larranga, Dodge):

"The 4.1% overall increase for public schools is most welcome, as are the small raises for school employees. Our focus remains on the students, and so we must keep fighting for the state to meet its obligations to sufficiently fund the schools so that all the supports students need for success are in place."


North Korea Wins The Propaganda Gold

Feb 15, 2018
James S. Robbins

Commentary: Whatever other awards North Korean athletes earn at the Winter Olympics now underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, their country has made a championship level effort at manipulating the international press. 

New Mexico's Citizen Legislature Retirement Plan

Feb 15, 2018

Commentary: I want to take a moment to clear up a few issues concerning New Mexico's legislative retirement plan.  Our retirement plan is unique because New Mexico is unique.  We are a citizen legislature — the only one in the nation that does not pay members some kind of salary.  New Mexico legislators spend days and weeks away from their families, loved ones and jobs during legislative sessions and during the interim.  While we legislators do receive per diem and mileage reimbursement, this tends to barely cover gasoline, hotels and meals, and it does not account for wear and tear to veh

DACA "Compromise" Bills With Border Militarization Are Not A Dream But A Nightmare For Immigrants

Feb 15, 2018

Commentary: LAS CRUCES – On Wednesday, February 14, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), clinched an agreement that would protect immigrants brought into the country as children.

Congress Should Not Trade One Injustice For Another: Approve A Clean DREAM Act, Reject Trump's Wall

Feb 14, 2018

Commentary: President Trump created a crisis over DACA by rescinding the directive that protected from deportation thousands of undocumented immigrants brought here as children. Now he is holding them hostage, demanding that Congress give him $25 billion for border security, including his “beautiful” wall, in exchange for not rounding up Dreamers and sending them into exile.

That’s a deal that Congress should not only reject, but condemn in the strongest possible terms for the sinister choice that it is.

Trump and Zinke Propose Gutting Commonsense Pollution Safeguard

Feb 13, 2018
Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

Commentary: Washington, DC -- Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a proposal to gut a key safeguard that would limit methane pollution from oil and gas drilling operations.

Bureau of Land Management

Commentary: WASHINGTON – As part of President Trump’s Executive Order 13783 promoting energy independence [Section 7 (6)(iv)] from March 28, 2017, to review and modify federal regulations that unnecessarily hinder economic growth and energy development, the Bureau of Land Management today announced a proposal to revise the 2016 final Waste Prevention Rule (also known as the venting and flaring rule).  The proposed rule would eliminate duplicative regulatory requirements and re-establish long-standing requirements that the 2016 final rule sought to replace.  The proposal includes a 60-day opportunity for public comment.

Stephanie Ly-AFT NM President / aft photo

Commentary: Santa Fe – American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly and Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein released the following statement:

“Our union has filed a motion for summary judgment in the litigation in our continuing effort to make teacher evaluations beneficial and accurate in New Mexico.

Lily Eskelsen García-President, NEA / NEA photo

Commentary: WASHINGTON—NEA President Lily Eskelsen García today released the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.


“It’s déjà vu all over again in America. Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos are at it again. They are playing politics with the lives of millions of students and working families with their latest reckless and misguided budget proposal, which is nearly identical to what Congress rejected last year.

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Commentary: Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and CPC Member Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), responded to the newly released White House outline for infrastructure. The CPC supports the adoption of a bold plan that invests in American families, not billionaires.

Christopher Ruszkowski

Commentary: Neither the Governor’s Office nor Christopher Ruszkowski, the cabinet-secretary designate of the State Public Education Department, has submitted the essential paperwork for official State Senate confirmation, Senator Linda M. Lopez, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said on Monday.

Commentary: DENVER—The Trump administration released its long-awaited infrastructure plan, as well as its proposed budget for FY2019. In response, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“The Trump administration just landed a one-two punch on our national parks and public lands. The president’s infrastructure plan would facilitate the privatization of entire national parks, opening the door to an outright sell-off of America’s public lands.

“At the same time, President Trump and Secretary Zinke want to cut the Interior Department to the bone, slashing the budget by 16 percent. It’s clear Secretary Zinke has no interest in managing our public lands for future generations, just an interest in being a rubber stamp for drilling and mining.”

Giving Business A Bad Name

Feb 11, 2018
peter goodman

Commentary: Carla Sonntag's recent op-ed (New Mexico Business Coalition) alleged that “lawsuits funded by deep-pocketed special interest groups [were] aimed at ending the [oil-and-gas] industry altogether.”


Dictionaries define “special-interest group” as “a body of persons, corporation, or industry that seeks or receives benefits or privileged treatment, especially through legislation.” Like the industry-funded lobbying outfit Ms. Sonntag runs, which has opposed raising the minimum wage and tried to weaken unions.

"Love Local" In Silver City

Feb 11, 2018

Commentary: This February 17, 2018, is Territorial Charter Day and Silver City MainStreet is initiating a downtown promotion called Love Local.  Downtown merchants are offering great deals, drawings, and discounts because they love our local community.  Silver City MainStreet loves our local businesses.

Setting Priorities Will Be Key To New Mexico's Success

Feb 11, 2018

Commentary: After spending the past several years trying to dig ourselves out of a financial recession and slow economic growth, New Mexico has the potential for a bright future, but only if we have our priorities in order.  On the one hand, the human spirit is dynamic, fluid and persistent and is led by our curiosity and an innate need to address issues that affect our lives and to help one another.  At the same time, we are faced with news of shocking crime against children, senseless road accidents, addictions that devastate individuals and families and robberies that can financially cr

Corporations Must Evolve Beyond Capitalizing on Sustainability

Feb 11, 2018

Commentary: I know that we are supposed to be grateful that corporations
like Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's are committing to sustainability by
investing in reusable products. For instance, McDonald's has vowed to
get rid of all non-recyclable packaging by 2025, and Dunkin' Donuts has
followed suit by pledging to use paper coffee cups instead of foam cups
by 2020.

Group Pushes "Right To Work" Ordinance In Otero County

Feb 10, 2018

Commentary: Alamogordo, NM – Americans for Prosperity-New Mexico (AFP-NM) is applauding the move by Otero County Commissioners to pass a Right to Work ordinance. Commissioner Susan Flores is sponsoring the ordinance. When Right to Work passes, Otero will be the second county in New Mexico to expand workers’ rights.

Commentary: What do New Mexico and DC have in common? Not much you might think. Cowboys vs. lobbyists; arroyos vs. back alleys; deserts vs. urban canyons. But one thing they have in common is being dead last in high school graduation rates at 69%.

New Mexico Public Officials and Community Groups Denounce Racist Political Cartoon

Feb 8, 2018
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary: A political cartoon in Tuesday’s Albuquerque Journal was denounced as racist and divisive by New Mexico public officials and leading community organizations.

The cartoon shows a white couple being mugged at gunpoint by three thugs in masks as the man says “Now, honey … I believe they prefer to be called ‘Dreamers’ … or future Democrats.”

Senator Linda Lopez

  Commentary: I am astounded that the Albuquerque Journal would publish such an outrageous editorial cartoon on the Page A14 Opinion section on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, that equates Dreamers with criminal MS13 gang members. It is yet another glaring example of the ignorance, racism and hatred openly permeating throughout our country since the election of Donald Trump, only this time it is strangely happening in New Mexico.

Commentary: Sportsmen, Native Americans, business owners, veterans, law enforcement officials, civic groups, current and former local elected officials, archaeologists, historians, and conservation organizations applauded the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act (S.441).  A broad coalition successfully worked to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and has been advocating for wilderness protection of this area for nearly a decade. 

Commentary: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Tuesday after President Donald Trump accused members of Congress who did not clap during his State of the Union address of being un-American and treasonous. 

"The great political issue now facing our country is not Democrat vs. Republican or progressive vs. conservative. It's much deeper then that. It's about democracy vs. authoritarianism.

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Commentary: Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement on the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA, signed into law on February 5, 1993, established the right for many workers to take an unpaid leave from work for a serious illness, adoption, or to care for newborns or family members.

Commentary: One specific ailment with a doctor’s note gets a teacher off the hook, but a whole multitude of illnesses that “flesh is heir to” does not!  The Public Education Department (PED) teacher evaluation system is fundamentally flawed.  

On February 3rd the PED informed school districts and charters that teachers with influenza (flu) could use sick leave and not have it counted in the annual attendance reporting that lowers the teacher’s evaluation effectiveness rating.  This allowance applies only when the teacher absence was evidenced by a doctor’s note.

Commentary: How do we investigate and discipline public figures?

Some do very shady things. Some get hit by vicious but unfounded allegations. Obviously we need fair and competent investigations. 

Thus we apppoint a special prosecutor for Donald Trump. We reasonably fear that the Department of Justice or the FBI, whose bosses Mr. Trump can fire, will not be completely impartial.

How Can New Mexico Really Improve Children's Lives?

Feb 3, 2018

Commentary: The Voices for Children/Annie E. Casey report “Kids Count” has always generated a great deal of media attention especially with the Legislature repeatedly considering tapping the permanent fund for pre-K and other childhood programs.

New Mexico State Budget Should Support All Students and All Their Educators

Feb 3, 2018
Betty Patterson-President, NEA New Mexico

Commentary: We applaud the New Mexico House of Representatives for sending a bipartisan budget bill (H.B.2) to the Senate with increased support for New Mexico public school students.  The increases does not make up for decades of short-changing our students, but it is a positive move toward a more prosperous New Mexico.  “We” are New Mexico educators.  Students are at the center of all we do – in the classroom, in the library and school offices, on the buses and in the cafeterias.

Bitcoin may play role of gold in 21st Century

Feb 2, 2018

Commentary: Cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, have received a lot of attention in recent weeks. This attention is motivated by sharp fluctuations in the values. The run up in Bitcoins value has led to speculation about the potential of Bitcoin for being a new global currency—the first since the collapse of the Gold Standard in the 1930s. The recent sell offs have damped this talk. Still Bitcoin remains the most likely candidate for global currency.