KRWG

Local Viewpoints

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

Commentary: To say that this is an unprecedented legislative session in New Mexico is an understatement. After some public debate over how and when the Legislature was going to meet, the Democrats who overwhelmingly control both houses have decided to plow forward with an entirely “virtual” session.

The Roundhouse is closed to the public and if you want to engage with legislators or committees you need to get online and watch, testify, or send emails or calls to their offices. By itself this COVID-related change is both dramatic and problematic.

Legislators Introduce New Mexico Clean Fuel Standard Act

Jan 20, 2021
Rep. Nathan Small

Commentary: Sen. Mimi Stewart and Rep. Nathan Small filed the New Mexico Clean Fuel Standard Act (Senate Bill 11), a Governor’s priority bill that would bring an estimated $47 million in economic investments annually to the state while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The transportation sector is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico behind the oil and natural gas industry. 

Common Cause Announces Priorities For 2021 Legislative Session

Jan 19, 2021
New Mexico PBS

  Commentary: Common Cause has two major priorities for the 2021 legislative session. First, the good government group is supporting a bill to be carried by Senators Katy Duhigg and Peter Wirth to expand public financing to district court campaigns. Currently, this voluntary system covers only the state Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.  

“Expanding the Voter Action Act, which established this system, is the best way to ensure our judges are protected from potential conflicts of interest,” said Heather Ferguson, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico. “It allows them to focus their time on their court’s case dockets, not on raising large campaign funds from lawyers and special interests.”

A legislative session without all the hoopla

Jan 19, 2021


  Commentary: If they get the technology right, this could be one of the most productive 60-day sessions in the history of the New Mexico Legislature. It will undoubtedly be the least ceremonious.

 

Most years, a legislative session is much more than just updated budgets and new laws. It is a celebration of our culture, an educational eye-opener for students and a gathering spot for local leaders from throughout the state.

A Call for a More Connected World

Jan 19, 2021

  Commentary: I've been working from home since 2017. In March 2020, my internet speed slowed to a grind. The new demand on the infrastructure was immediately evident, and I started having childhood flashbacks of waiting for images to load, line by pixelated line.

The Post-Trump Republican Party...What Will It Be?

Jan 17, 2021

 

  

  Commentary: How might people of good will regard Republicans who are abandoning Trump?

Many Republicans believed deeply in Donald Trump, and still do, even after the insurrection.

In 2016, Trump made many Republicans uneasy. He was untrustworthy and amoral, and lacked political convictions or qualifications. Republican leaders said so. When they underestimated the danger, and failed to unite against him, he became their nominee. A few Republicans chose to retain their independence; but most Republican leaders fell silent about Trump’s defects, held their noses, and supported him.

Western wolf coalition challenges nationwide wolf delisting

Jan 16, 2021

Commentary: A coalition of Western wolf advocates has challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to prematurely strip wolves of federal protections in the contiguous 48 states, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

 

The most recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its state partners show an estimated 4,400 wolves inhabit the western Great Lakes states, but only 108 wolves in Washington state (with only 20 outside of eastern Washington), 158 in Oregon (with only 16 outside of northeastern Oregon), and a scant 15 exist in California. Nevada, Utah, and Colorado have had a few wolf sightings over the past three years, but wolves remain functionally absent from their historical habitat in these states.

Heinrich Calls For Investigation Into White Supremacy And Extremism In The Military

Jan 15, 2021

  Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and 13 Democratic senators are calling for the Department of Defense to investigate and address white supremacy and extremist ideology in the ranks of the military following the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. Several of the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol have been identified as active duty servicemembers, reservists, retirees, and veterans.

“The issue of white supremacy and extremist ideology within the ranks of our military is not new, but the attack on the Capitol makes clear this alarming trend must be immediately addressed,” the senators wrote in a letter to Department of Defense Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell. “The spread of white supremacist ideology is dangerous for the military and threatens to rupture civil-military safeguards that our democracy requires.”

Heinrich Statement On Impeachment Of President Trump

Jan 13, 2021
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump:

“Donald Trump incited a mob of insurrectionists who stormed the United States Capitol. What he did resulted in the death of five people, including a police officer. There must be consequences for this violent assault on our democracy.

“Now that President Trump has been impeached by a bipartisan vote in the House, the Senate has a duty to the Constitution and to the American people to act quickly to take up these charges. This man is a clear and present danger to our republic. He is not fit to serve as our president for one minute longer or to hold public office ever again.

“Telling the unequivocal truth about what transpired on January 6, 2021 and holding Donald Trump accountable for his abuse of power is a necessary step in a peaceful transfer of power. There must be justice in order to restore faith in our democracy and heal our country.”

Luján Statement on Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

Jan 13, 2021

Commentary: U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump for a second time.  

“As members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ Today, bipartisan members of the House honored that oath by impeaching President Trump for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” said Luján. “The Senate now has the constitutional duty to act, and I will stand up for our republic, defend our democracy, and vote for removal.” 

RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce

  Commentary: Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump a second time.  The article accuses President Trump of “incitement of insurrection.” 
 
The vote went along party lines. It passed the Democratic-controlled House 232 to 197, with 10 Republicans voting against the president.
 
The following is a statement from Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce on today’s vote:
 
“Since before President Trump took office, Democrats vowed to impeach him. This hate for the President continues to be manifested. The left continues to push its narrative that Trump is unfit. Now, with less than a week until the Inauguration, it defies imagination why Democrats would pursue this divisive process. Today’s vote is causing more dissension between the parties. If Democrats continue to pursue the impeachment process into Joe Biden’s term, it will disrupt his ability to get his agenda done. Congress should be focusing on unifying and healing the nation, and we must tone down our rhetoric.”

Rep. Herrell Issues Statement On Insurrection; Will Vote Against Removing Trump

Jan 12, 2021

Commentary: “Political violence has no place in our Constitutional Republic. Those who assaulted police officers to force their way into the Capitol are responsible for their criminal actions and must be brought to justice. The same goes for those who burned, looted, and rioted in Washington, DC and around the country this summer.
 

“Leaders in both parties have a responsibility to condemn such violence — whether in the halls of Congress or on the streets of America’s cities. We all bear some of the blame for the way our words have been interpreted by people who trust us and look to us for direction. At the same time, our actions must match our rhetoric. Calls for unity and a peaceful transition of power ring hollow while articles of impeachment are being drafted.

“That is why I will vote against any effort to remove the president from office this week. Doing so will not heal our country, bridge our partisan divides, give Americans hope or bring us together. It would only make things worse.

New Mexico Elk Migration Corridor Protected, Opened to Access

Jan 12, 2021
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

  Commentary: Nearly 1,200 acres of vital elk winter range in northern New Mexico is now permanently protected and opened to public access. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with the Bureau of Land Management and three families to make it happen. 

"This is a crucial swath of land and a key migration corridor for approximately 10,000 elk that move back and forth between New Mexico and Colorado," said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. "We recognize and greatly appreciate the Ortega, Santistevan and Thorne families for working with us to conserve this important landscape."

Comnmentary: New Mexico leaders are applauding the Joint Resolution pre-filed Monday, January 4, by Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Senator Bill Soules, and Representative Joanne Ferrary to amend the New Mexico Constitution in order to add enforceable environmental rights.  Senator Mimi Stewart, Senator Harold Pope, Jr, Representative Tara Luján and Representative Andrea Romero are signing on as co-sponsors in support.   The Joint Resolution proposing the amendment was pre-filed by the sponsors on the first day legislators could pre-file their legislative proposals for the 2021 legislative session.   

Operation #ConnectNM is Underway

Jan 11, 2021

Commentary: According to data collected by NMSU's Center for Community Analysis (CCA), 41% of households earning less than $20,000 a year are without internet access in the Las Cruces Public School District.  That number only increases when looking at Doña Ana’s surrounding more rural districts.  58% in Gadsden District and 70% in Hatch Valley.  These staggering pre-pandemic numbers convey the historical account of inequitable conditions in our community. 

Watching It Burn And Feeling Fine

Jan 11, 2021

Commentary: I'm still processing Jan. 6. It was supposed to be a routine day. A Wednesday. But suddenly, it wasn't just that. A match was lit and thrown in a powder keg of disenfranchisement and misinformation. We got to watch it all live, with a wildfire of thousands of rebukes and support spread seconds after choice tweets. In Washington, D.C., there were thousands of people OK with igniting insurrection. There were millions throughout the country who could not understand them.

Trumpism reaches its inevitable finish

Jan 11, 2021
donaldjtrump.com


  Commentary: Trumpism was an ugly and violent political movement that was always destined to die an ugly and violent death.

 

A mere election loss was never going to be enough to kill the movement, regardless of how decisive that loss may have been. Donald Trump told us before the vote in 2016 that he was bigger than our elections. Of course he wouldn’t agree to abide by the final decision. If he lost, it must be rigged.

Chinese Investment In Energy Projects Across The Globe

Jan 11, 2021

Commentary: As part of my effort to track foreign direct investment (FDI) in various parts of the world, I subscribe to updates from the Global Development Policy Center (GDPC) of Boston University. This organization’s mission is to “advance policy-oriented research for financial stability, human well-being, and environmental sustainability across the globe.” The GDPC has developed an interactive database that tracks all the power plants that China has helped finance through its two global banks and through Chinese foreign direct investment. The database is set up to display this information based on CO2 emissions, lender, deal type, technology, capacity, and status.

 

  Commetnary: Let’s call things by their names: Wednesday we witnessed a failed coup attempt.

Joe Biden won the Presidency by seven million votes and 306-232 in the electoral college, which isn’t even close. Scores of courts rejected a slew of silly challenges to the voting process. Trump and others tried to circumvent the process to keep Trump in office.

Trump’s conduct is no surprise. Republicans nominated, and we elected, a narcissistic and incompetent man who had routinely disregarded laws, contractual obligations, and ethical norms, while surviving by telling more and bigger lies.

Steve Pearce

 Commentary: In the wake of this week’s domestic terrorist attack on the United States Capitol, Attorney General Hector Balderas today called on the Republican Party of New Mexico, Chairperson Steve Pearce, and Representative Yvette Herrell to support the dismissal of President Trump’s frivolous and dangerous lawsuit seeking to overturn New Mexico’s valid election. The party and its chair supported the lawsuit, making public statements that it was working directly with the Trump campaign to overturn New Mexico’s validly held election. Representative Herrell this week voted in Congress to reject the will of voters in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Yvette Herrell / twitter.com

 Commentary: In the wake of yesterday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Common Cause New Mexico is calling for Yvette Herrell to immediately resign after she voted to overturn the will of people, failed to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, and played a clear role in spreading disinformation around the election, leading to the violence yesterday.

Republican Actions Can No Longer Be Ignored

Jan 7, 2021

Commentary: Surely many people at this moment are also writing their thoughts down in regards to the terrifying and extraordinary events of January 6 2021 as Trump loyalists mounted an insurrection that threatened life and liberty directly in the U.S. Capitol and against American Democracy itself. But for us it is imperative that we keep one thing in mind here at home in New Mexico: The establishment Republican Party sent and continues to send numerous, clear signals in support of this kind of heinous action that cannot be ignored. 

Commentary: After an unprecedented day in American history in which violent protesters entered the U.S. Capitol and derailed Congressional proceedings, Representative Yvette Herrell unabashedly followed through on her threat to object to the certification of election results. This, despite the fact that a number of her Republican colleagues who planned to object to the certification reversed course. The first vote in the decertification effort was defeated by a bipartisan majority including 83 Republican Members of Congress voting to certify the results. Representative Herrell has repeatedly echoed false claims about the 2020 election in an attempt to justify why she is putting her own political beliefs ahead of the voice of American voters. 

We'll Take A Cup Of Blandness Yet

Jan 6, 2021

Commentary: It's been awhile since I can remember such a tangible etching of the previous year onto the next. There's going to be a shroud of 2020 that we carry into this new year, longer than the few weeks it will take to shake off writing the incorrect date on documents.

As it is the season, I've spent the last couple of weeks reflecting on the past year. While I generally feel that I fall outside the framework of True American Normal for various reasons, I shared the same larger, national experience. Everyone has some similar form of terrifying highlights of the year together. Some of us had a horrific year, with death and job loss, and will continue to have it very hard for some time. Some of us had it easier, and therein, I count myself.

Public bank idea gaining steam in New Mexico

Jan 6, 2021
Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary: Legislation to create a public bank is likely to be introduced during the 2021 legislative session. The idea is to create a bank that receives deposits from local governments and lends to New Mexico businesses to promote economic development. The bank would be capitalized by a $50 million contribution from the State Treasurer, thereby creating a not-for-profit owned by the state of New Mexico.

The effort to create a public bank in our state is part of a larger national movement, with about half the states actively considering establishing such a bank. That said, as of right now, there is only one state has a public bank in the nation, which is the Bank of North Dakota. Here in New Mexico, the effort to establish a public bank is being led by the Alliance for Economic Prosperity.

Commentary: Representative Yvette Herrell, R- N.M. has announced that she will object to counting Pennsylvania’s Electoral Votes.  This has a direct impact on me!

I first registered as a Republican voter in Pennsylvania in 1965.  In the intervening years, I’ve voted for candidates of both parties—sometimes for winners, sometimes not.  Last year, the Westmoreland County Elections Board gave me a certificate as a member of the “Voters Hall of Fame” for voting in over 50 elections.

Broadband Is An Essential Public Utility

Jan 5, 2021

Commentary:  If it was not already clear, the pandemic has revealed that broadband is now an essential utility service that influences the future of our society and our State. Based on its study of the issue, the League of Women Voters of New Mexico has described “efficient, high-speed access to the Internet for all New Mexico residents - regardless of geographic location or neighborhood demographics as a necessity for assuring equal access to local and state government, for maintaining openness and transparency in government activities, for communicating with legislative leaders, for engaging in political discourse, for competing in the global marketplace, and for assuring that voters receive the information they need to participate in our democracy.” Unequal access, especially with education and health care during the pandemic, has been a glaring problem.

Income Inequality Requires Policy Changes

Jan 4, 2021

Commentary: Let’s get real, the biggest issue in the U.S. today is income inequality. Stock market looks great, but that is a very poor measure for average Americans' well-being. The S & P 500 gained more than 16% in 2020, while there was widespread pain from Covid-19 and steep job losses. About 84% of stocks are owned by 10% of our citizens, so the vast majority of our working families do not benefit from a rising stock market. They work for wages that have been static the last 40 years and have not kept up with increasing costs of housing, transportation, health care, education and food.

Changes Needed In New Mexico's Energy Transition Act

Jan 4, 2021

Commentary: Good news.  New Mexico’s new Energy Transition Act and Renewable Energy Act are working. 

PRC regulators, previously skeptical of renewable energy, have done a terrific job of applying the new laws to accelerate renewable energy adoption, avoid building increasingly outmoded fossil fuel power plants, and maximize investment in communities where jobs will be lost in the transition away from coal.  The foundation is being laid for cleaner air, more plentiful water, and lower-cost electricity.   

  

Commentary: COVID-19 has temporarily saved the life of Lisa Montgomery, but the Trump administration is working furiously to see that she dies before he leaves office.

 

Much has been written about the last-minute pardons being granted by Donald Trump during his final days as president. Nicholas Slatten, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of 14 unarmed civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, was one of those who benefitted from Trump’s decision to circumvent normal procedures for reviewing and granting pardons.

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