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.

Brunner: USDA Boosts Rural Communities

Mar 19, 2014
NM USDA Rural Development Director Terry Brunner

  The recent economic recession hit New Mexico’s rural communities especially hard.  Its impacts are reflected in New Mexico’s frequently reported grim social and economic statistics.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Mission area, the only federal agency with a specifically rural mission, is working hard to help rural communities help recover of from the recession.

New Mexico Senate Democrats: Martinez Veto Hurts At-Risk Students

Mar 19, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Governor Martinez’s recent veto of $15.2 million appropriated to the Public Education Department in next fiscal year’s budget (Senate Bill 313) for at-risk students is a stark contradiction to her assertion that the budget provides “more interventions for struggling students and schools.” The vetoed money was intended to be used for services designed to improve educational outcomes for at-risk students.

ACLU Holds "Know Your Rights Checkpoint" Wednesday

Mar 18, 2014

  Las Cruces, N.M.— On Wednesday, March 19th at 12pm, the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, along with community members and volunteers from Southern New Mexico, will form a “Know Your Rights Checkpoint” to ensure travelers know their constitutional rights while passing through Border Patrol interior checkpoints.

Rep. Pearce Responds To Report On WIPP

Mar 14, 2014
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Today, Congressman Steve Pearce responded to the Department of Energy’s WIPP Underground Fire Accident Investigation Report. The report provides a detailed examination into the fire that took place on February 5, 2014. 

“This transparent report highlights the sloppy procedures that caused the fire,” Pearce said, “including failure to regularly clean oil and grease off the engines of mining equipment.  The report concludes with the steps the WIPP team and the Department of Energy intend to take to prevent future incidents at the facility.

  After weathering the Great Recession and through five years of hard work and determination, America is creating jobs and rebuilding our economy. But as a result of shifts that have taken hold over more than three decades, too many Americans are working harder than ever just to get by, let alone to get ahead. 

Pearce: DOD Should Release Report On Electric Transmission Line

Mar 11, 2014
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Since 2009, New Mexico has been faced with an internal conflict.  Sun Zia, an Arizona corporation, has proposed building an energy transmission line across New Mexico, which would cut across White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).  Despite concerns from the Department of Defense (DoD) that this line would negatively impact the mission at WSMR, the Department of Interior (DoI) supported Sun Zia and published an official alternative route running through the missile range.  This past fall, DoD and DoI asked MIT to conduct an impartial audit of the Sun Zia proposal to validate or discredit the DoD

Democrats Tout New Alternative Fuel Bill

Mar 9, 2014

Governor Susana Martinez signed House Bill 30 (HB 30)sponsored by Representative Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-42-Taos) and Senate Majority Whip Tim Keller (D-17-Bernalillo). The legislation adjusts and equalizes tax rates among different fuel types, eliminates outdated obstacles to alternative fuel use and streamlines administrative processes. HB 30 has the endorsement of the Legislative Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommittee.

Pearce: I Will Ask Tough Questions About Radiation Leak

Mar 8, 2014
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce held a town hall meeting Friday to help New Mexicans get answers on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad.

ACLU: Border Patrol Use Of Force Guidelines Fall Short

Mar 7, 2014

Las Cruces, NM—Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released two documents in relation to Border Patrol use-of-force policies. The first is a new directive from Chief Michael J. Fisher to U.S. Border Patrol agents intended to clarify existing guidelines governing the use of force, with particular emphasis on responding to rock throwing and vehicle assaults.

  Almost 215,000 New Mexico children have benefitted every year from improvements made in 2009 to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, according to a factsheet released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Unless Congress makes those changes permanent, they will expire in 2017 and 8,600 children will likely be thrust back into poverty.

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today applauded the news that President Obama incorporated into his Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal a plan based on a bill they cosponsored to reform federal wildfire policy. The change, which still must be approved by Congress, would fund major wildfires the same as other natural disasters and free up funding to prevent future fires. 

Jaguars Gain Protected Habitat In Southwest

Mar 4, 2014
Photo courtesy Flickr Commons/Eric Kilby

  In response to a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today finalizedprotection for 764,207 acres, or 1,194 square miles, of habitat for endangered jaguars in southern Arizona and New Mexico.

Think New Mexico Recognized Among Top Think Tanks

Mar 3, 2014

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania’s International Relations Program recently recognized Think New Mexico as one of the top think tanks in the world in its seventh annual “Global Go To Think Tank Index Report.” According to TTCSP, “the index has become the gold standard for think tanks around the world and is widely cited by governments, donors, journals and policymakers.”

Pearce: Agreement On Lesser Prairie Chicken Is Positive Development

Mar 3, 2014
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Friday quietly signed the Range-wide Oil and Gas Industry Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (CCAA), along with an accompanying environmental assessment. This agreement between FWS, WAFWA, and the five range states allows private landowners who develop oil and gas on their lands to voluntarily enroll into the CCAA.

Udall: Republicans Block "Crucial" Veterans Benefits Package

Feb 27, 2014

  Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall expressed deep disappointment after Republicans blocked a comprehensive bill to expand crucial health care, education and job-training benefits to thousands of veterans in New Mexico and across the nation.

ACLU Of New Mexico And ACLU Of Texas Announce New Border Campaign

Feb 27, 2014

  Las Cruces, N.M.—Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights and the ACLU of Texas launched the Revitalize Not Militarize “Raise Your Voice” campaign, which aims to document testimonies of how border militarization affects quality of life issues for community members in Southern New Mexico and Texas. 

Pearce: Restore Accountability In Washington

Feb 26, 2014
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce voted for H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014.  The bill adjusts IRS standards for making determinations on 501(c)(4) organizations, in order to better protect Americans from political discrimination.

Private securities lawsuits are a necessary tool in preventing fraud and protecting investors, according to a new report released today by Public Citizen’s Chamber Watch program. The report disproves misleading arguments made by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund on March 5.

Bilingual Seal Legislation On Governor's Desk

Feb 25, 2014
Office of the Governor

  Students who are proficient in speaking and writing in more than one language will now be rewarded for their excellence when they graduate. House Bill 330 “Diploma Seal of Bilingualism,” sponsored by House Majority Leader, Rick Miera (D-Bernalillo-11), establishes a State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracy on New Mexico Diplomas of Excellence.  

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rules that allow herders to be paid far less than other agricultural workers and live in unsanitary conditions are illegal and should be invalidated, Public Citizen told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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


  Recently, the Arizona legislature passed a bill that gives Arizona businesses the right to refuse service to same-sex couples. This discriminatory piece of legislation, which is on its way to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, promotes social injustice in the guise of protecting religious freedom.

Progress Now: Failures In The New Mexico Legislature

Feb 20, 2014

  Going into the 2014 legislative session almost everyone agreed that we needed some big solutions to get New Mexico off the bottom of some of the worst lists for kids, workers and families.


But only half our legislators showed up to work.   All together, House Republicans were absent 528 times when votes were cast on the House floor alone.    Working families never had a chance. 


Alternative Fuel Legislation Heads To Gov. Martinez

Feb 20, 2014

  Santa Fe, NM – House Bill 30 (HB 30) sponsored by Representative Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-42-Taos) and Senator Tim Keller (D-17-Bernalillo) has cleared both chambers, after passing the Senate floor, and heads to the governor for signature. The legislation adjusts and equalizes tax rates among different fuel types, eliminates outdated obstacles to alternative fuel use and streamlines administrative processes.

New Mexico Senate Democrats Aim To Prevent Improper Foreclosures

Feb 17, 2014

  The New Mexico Senate has passed a memorial that calls for a creation of a task force to develop a set of recommendations to the legislature on how to avoid the issue of improper home foreclosures.

Keller: New Mexico Is Failing To Use Millions For Unmet Needs

Feb 17, 2014

  Santa Fe, NM – As the legislative session winds down and the final budget is crafted, I can’t help but reflect on one of the great tragedies of current state government. With every tax break, education program, special interest and critical line item being accounted for, it is easy to forget that our state government is awash in cash.

Legislation Passed To Address Kirtland Air Force Base Fuel Spill

Feb 15, 2014

The New Mexico Congressional delegation is being asked to fund and assemble an independent task force of experts to address the Kirtland Air Force Base bulk fuel spill cleanup—the largest toxic spill into a public water supply in U.S. history (Associated Press 2012).  House Consumer and Public Affairs Substitute for House Joint Memorial 13,sponsored by Rep.

New Mexico Democrats Ask For Expanded Investigation Of Casino Deal

Feb 15, 2014
Office of the Governor

  Santa Fe, NM – A group of 14 state legislators, prompted by information learned in the Senate Rules Committee (SRC) this week, sent a letter to the Attorney General (AG) on Thursday requesting that the office expand its investigation of the controversial lease award to The Downs Racetrack & Casino.

NM Senate Passes Bill On Corrections Sales

Feb 14, 2014

The New Mexico Senate has passed a proposal to allow inmates in state prisons to sell more advanced woodwork and furniture.

The Senate voted to approve the measure Thursday that would allow the state Department of Corrections to sell the inmate-made products.

Corrections spokeswoman Alex Tomlin says the proposal would give inmates the chance to sell items like beds and chairs up to $300 to other state agencies.

Tomlin says the inmates would make the items themselves and learn new job skills.

The proposal now moves to the House.

  (Santa Fe) There is a new twist to deterring an old problem. What to do with a corrupt government official who will not leave office?

“Throw them out of office immediately upon a felony conviction and turn over their campaign funds to the state,” that is a solution offered by State Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) in his SB 287- Removal from Public Office for Felonies. The bill passed Senate Corporations & Transportation Committee unanimously, it is headed to Senate Judiciary.

  Santa Fe – Federal lands in New Mexico could ultimately become state land if a study to explore that possibility proves feasible, and if a bill calling for that study passes the Senate.   A Senate Memorial sponsored by Senator Ron Griggs of Alamogordo calls for a cost-benefit study of the possibility of the State of New Mexico assuming management of certain federal lands within the State, and reducing payments to the feds.