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.  Submissions must adhere to these guidelines.

Goodman: "Mask up, and move on"

Nov 15, 2020
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham / Office of the New Mexico Governor

  Commentary: The nation is on COVID-19 red alert and our national leadership has gone AWOL.

The nation and our state are seeing such a spike that hospitals are overtaxed. New Mexico set daily new case records of 1,287 (Friday), 1,418 (Monday), and 1,753 Thursday. Doña Ana County took 77 days to go from 1 death to 20, 21 days to go from 60 to 80, and six days to go from 80 to 100 DEATHS. New Mexico had 182 deaths in the past two weeks, 143% of the 75 during the previous two. The nation recorded a million new cases the first ten days of November, and infection rates are still rising.

Commentary: As young people, it’s clear to us that we are quickly coming to a point of no return with the climate crisis, and we need bold solutions. While the pathways to solving the climate crisis are as varied as the causes, we do know that protecting public lands can and should play a vital role. It’s for this reason that we as Las Cruces youth working on climate change stand behind and support efforts to protect 30% of land and water within the US by 2030 - otherwise known as “30 x 30.” While at first glance this seems like an overly ambitious goal, there is a pathway forward. 

Chaco Canyon Area

Commentary: Appropriations legislation introduced by Senate Republicans today to fund the United States Department of the Interior for fiscal year 2021 conspicuously excludes rider language intended to protect the Greater Chaco region from increased oil and gas drilling. In the fall of 2019, New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich successfully attached a rider to the fiscal year 2020 Interior appropriations bill directing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to refrain from approving new oil and gas lease sales within ten miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. However, that language has been removed from the updated appropriations legislation.

The 10 public lands and wildlife protections most likely to be removed by Trump

Nov 10, 2020

  Commentary: The Center for Western Priorities today released an updated tracker identifying 70 policy changes that the Interior department hopes to complete before the end of the Trump administration. Those policies include advancing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reducing protections for endangered species and migratory birds, and dramatically expanding drilling opportunities on public lands, despite weak demand and a surge of bankruptcies across the industry.

A return to blissful, maddening normalcy

Nov 9, 2020

  Commentary: More than 160 million Americans voted this year. While we may not have all had joy in our hearts, it was a peaceful process. And, in two months we will have a nonviolent transition of power.

Whatever the motivation, the turnout this year was impressive. And on both sides. This wasn’t a blue wave or a red wave. It was a concerned wave. And it has left us with a split government in which both sides will have to temper their expectations for the next two years.

Groups launch challenge to Trump's nationwide wolf delisting

Nov 9, 2020

Commentary: Today, a coalition of Western wolf advocates filed a notice of intent to sue with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, launching a challenge of the agency’s decision to prematurely strip wolves of federal protections in the contiguous 48 states, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. This notice starts a 60-day clock, after which the groups will file a lawsuit in federal court.


"The nationwide de-listing of wolves is designed to serve the extinction agenda of the livestock lobby and the most scientifically ignorant fringe of the sportsmen’s lobby,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. “We are committed to restoring the West to ecological health, which can’t be done without restoring key native species like the gray wolf."

It's Fine

Nov 9, 2020

Commentary: Unfortunately, I was the one who gave her the milk that she spilled all over my laptop. More unfortunately, my daughter didn't tell me until the weekend was over. And the most unfortunate part was that when opening the case, the smell indicated the computer was well on its way to making cheese.

On Friday, I had rushed her away from breakfast and into her morning Zoom class. I felt a little bad, so I snuck in to ask if she wanted to finish her milk. She told me sadly on Monday that she had tried to wipe it off; she was very sorry.

Commentary: My last pre-election column ended by predicting that we would “stumble out of the woods in the right direction.” Mr. Biden has won the popular vote by well over 4 million votes. Apparently he’ll garner between 275 and 306 electoral votes. Donald Trump’s threats and whining are a fleeting national embarrassment.

I hoped we’d “begin to deal like grownups with a host of serious problem,” adding, “If nothing else, losing Mr. Trump will make everything so much quieter!” Already I doubt the former, and my faith in the latter is wobbling.

Ben Ray Luján Statement on Biden Victory

Nov 7, 2020

Commentary: Senator-elect Ben Ray Luján released the following statement on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning the election to become the next President and Vice President of the United States:

“This is a historic moment for New Mexicans and for Americans across the country. President-elect Biden is a proven leader who will bring Americans together to build a better future for our country. He will be the champion that Americans need in the White House, and I know he will embody New Mexico’s values of hard work and treating others with respect and dignity. 

“During these challenging times, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will bring our country together and help get us on the path to recovery. I’m looking forward to working with them both - on day one - to help our communities rebuild and recover from COVID-19, increase access to affordable health care, and expand economic opportunities for all Americans.” 

New Mexico Governor: With Biden Win, Americans Are Ready To Begin A New Chapter

Nov 7, 2020
Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Commentary: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Saturday issued the following statement:

“Over the course of this election season, New Mexicans – and the American people – exercised their right to vote in remarkable numbers. The greatest turnout in the history of our state, and the unprecedented enthusiasm from across the political spectrum, serve as a resounding demonstration of the strength of our democracy. I can’t recall, in my lifetime, a more inspiring affirmation of the power of the people. Our vote is our voice. And we have spoken – loudly and clearly.

“The American people are ready to begin a new chapter. It is time for change, meaningful change; it is time for a wholesale restoration of American leadership, a reinvestment in the American people, a resurgence of pride in who we are and what we can accomplish when we unite, when we love one another and care for one another, our families and neighbors and communities.

Rep. Brian Egolf

Commentary: Below is a statement from New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) regarding redistricting in New Mexico: 

“Every ten years, each state in our Union goes through the process of redistricting. Redistricting is a cornerstone of our democracy ensuring fair representation in government for all New Mexicans. Going forward, this is not a Left or Right issue. New Mexico has undergone significant demographic changes over the last ten years and the 2020 Census will give us a better snapshot as to where in our state New Mexicans call home. Redistricting will reflect those changes and will be conducted in a fair, open, and transparent process. My comment on Wednesday about the 2nd Congressional district was a statement of fact in response to a direct question about the future of the district and nothing more.”  

Progressivism is a Winner in 2020

Nov 5, 2020

  “A great democracy has got to be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy.” 

― Theodore Roosevelt, New Nationalism Speech by Teddy Roosevelt

Commentary: As the nation tensely awaits results from key battleground states, no matter what happens, it is clear that this election was a resounding victory for progressivism.

Udall: The Election Is Not Over Until Every Vote Is Counted

Nov 4, 2020
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) issued the following statement on the 2020 election results:

“While states are making sure all the votes are counted – as they must – it looks like the voters have decided to turn the page and restore leadership and decency to the highest levels of our government. In New Mexico, voters spoke up resoundingly, delivering our electoral votes to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, knowing that Vice President Biden and Senator Harris will fight for us – with leadership to defeat this virus, rebuild our economy, address the accelerating environmental crises, and heal this nation. It’s clear that this message resonated with voters across the Southwest.

Transformation In Phases

Nov 3, 2020

Commentary: The name of the game for our family is warding off the tedium. This week, a surprise snowstorm was the earliest snowfall on record for our city. It wasn't the dusting we usually get — even in the peak of winter — but substantial snow. The white blanket lured my children out at dawn to make snow angels and pelt each other with loose snowballs.

It was a small moment that gave the kids a break from routine. Our days keep melding into one another, the only shift being the weather or the shape of the moon. To combat that, we're attempting to do things we have to do anyhow — like make breakfast — but switch up the way we do them.

The Delicate Supply Chain

Nov 3, 2020

Commentary: Imagine, if you will, the market for air vents that exists in almost all buildings as part of an HVAC system. Steel is forged and rolled in 47,000-pound steel coils that are then sent to either a steel slitter or stamper, depending on the nature of the vent. The slitter/stamper cuts or stamps smaller metal sheets with which the vents will be created. The pieces are then sent to a production plant that finishes them by painting them, installing screw holes, and packing them. 

Commentary: Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) urged Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf to provide information on any and all operational plans to deploy federal agents to protests or other gatherings related to the 2020 election outcome. The letter is in response to the Department’s deployment of federal agents to Portland, Oregon, in July, where Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents and officers were found to be arresting or otherwise detaining peaceful protestors with no probable cause. The Members are requesting the information to ensure that in the event that electoral outcomes are delayed or contested and protests occur, the constitutional rights of all citizens involved are upheld.   

Elections are easy; governing is hard

Nov 2, 2020

  Commentary: Now comes the hard part.

For the past several months, Republicans and Democrats have spent millions of dollars and invested countless hours to convince us that those on the other side are not just wrong, they’re corrupt, dishonest, greedy, thieving cowards.

That was the easy part, at least for them. Those dishonest attack ads may have been painful for us, but the creativity behind some of them suggest that somebody was having fun making them.

Paul J. Gessing

Commentary: A recent report from the Pew Center determined that New Mexico had the fourth highest volatility in tax revenue collection over the past 20 years. Unsurprisingly, the study cited reliance on oil and gas revenues as the likely cause of this volatility. What the study didn’t consider was the fact that New Mexico’s misguided economic policies actually reinforce our reliance on oil revenues.

Over the years New Mexico has developed mechanisms like the “rainy day fund” and permanent funds (these are two different things) to help smooth the ups and downs inherently associated with rising and falling oil and gas prices and production.

Commentary: Tuesday is a huge fork in the road.

We might continue this self-destructive experiment with a “president” who cares nothing for law, ethics, tolerance, democracy, or honor (including honorable military service). He ignores the nation’s interest, if it conflicts at all with his.

Most Republican leaders have jettisoned ethics, convictions, and independence to cater to his whims. Somewhat understandably. He’s attacked his own appointees for letting some vestige of ethics impede their slavish obedience. Think Attorney-General Senator Jeff Sessions, first U.S. Senator to endorse Trump in 2016, who had to recuse himself from pretending to investigate his boss. Trump insulted him repeatedly, then fired him.


Commentary: WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative  Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $2,043,781 in Self-Help Homeownership Program (SHOP) Grants to Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation is a regional housing community development corporation that provides affordable housing and community development to New Mexicans living in underserved and underfunded communities. These construction activities, community training, and employment opportunities aid many New Mexican communities in improving their quality of life. This grant funds the construction of housing for 112 families.

The Triumph of Judicial Orthodoxy

Oct 27, 2020
University of Notre Dame

  Editor's note:  While media coverage thoroughly covered Amy Coney Barrett's refusal to state personal views during her confirmation hearing, Coney Barrett had already provided her personal views on two major issues:  signing an anti-abortion letter that accompanied an ad calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned and she also criticized past rulings upholding the Affordable Care Act.

Commentary: The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is a victory—for both the rule of law and the principle of separation of powers. Although much was made about now Justice Barrett's religiosity and conservativism in the lead up to the Senate's final vote yesterday, the real issue prompted by Barrett's nomination is the nature and extent of judicial power.

Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque)

Commentary: Today, New Mexico State Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen (D-Las Cruces) and Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) issued the following joint statement in response to the threatening messages received by fellow Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque) over the weekend:

“Threats against any member of the New Mexico Senate will not be tolerated by this body.

“We embrace diversity in our state and within the New Mexico Senate Chamber. This is what makes us strong. Having a Senator and his family targeted with hateful, homophobic language is a painful affront to everything we stand for. We condemn the attacks against Senator Candelaria and his husband, and reject the hate behind any actions directed at our members because of who they are or what they represent.

“The New Mexico Senate takes great pride in our spirit of inclusion and commitment to civil discourse. While disagreement and debate are important components of the political process, we treat each other with respect. The public sphere should be no different. Spreading hatred, sowing division and threatening violence because of ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, religious, ideological, or other personal differences must stop.”

Commentary: More than 350 doctors, nurses and health care practitioners and providers from all across New Mexico this week signed an open letter urging New Mexicans to double down on safe practices and personal caution to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the state’s health care and hospital resources. 

The letter will run as an advertisement in 19 newspapers across the state over the coming week. 

University of Notre Dame

Commentary:  As confirmation nears on another conservative anti-abortion Supreme Court justice, ground-breaking research shows that Native Americans, like the majority of all Americans, support reproductive freedom.

According to the recently released  “Road to Reproductive Justice: Indigenous Communities,” 89 percent of Native Americans agree that women and families deserve to make their own healthcare decisions without government interference. Seventy-two percent say that they can hold their own moral views about abortion and still trust a woman and her family to make this decision for themselves.

Six ways to make our elections better

Oct 26, 2020

Commentary: Every four years at this time I have the same thought, isn’t there a better way to do this?

Much of my frustration is tied to the fact that we don’t pick our nation’s leader in a national election. Instead, we have 50 local elections held on the same day, providing 50 opportunities for local officials to tinker with the process. 

For example, the governor of Texas has ordered that there be just one ballot dropoff box for the 2.3 million residents of Houston. I didn’t really care in 2018 when the only polling site in Dodge City, Kansas, was located outside of town. But, blatant voter suppression in national elections impacts us all.    


When The Beat Changes

Oct 26, 2020

Commentary: After what feels like five years of campaigning — and in a way, it was — I'm ready for this to be over. I'd like to be on the analysis side, on the side where I'm crafting a good narrative for the future when my great-grandchildren ask, "Grams, what on Earth happened in 2020?"

Right now I would only expect to clutch the worn blanket on my knees and cough out, "That is a year that shall not be named, just like the author of the 'Harry Potter' books."

Facing The Chaos Of Life As We Approach Election 2020

Oct 26, 2020
Peter Goodman

  Commentary: Writing a column requires maintaining, at least briefly, illusions that one understands something that matters and that one can shape that understanding into an effective, engaging communication.

I can’t manage that this morning.


Vote "No" On New Mexico Constitutional Amendment 1

Oct 23, 2020

Commentary: Toward the bottom of your ballot you will find Constitutional Amendment 1. There are at least three good reasons to vote NO on Constitutional Amendment 1: the problem it seeks to fix has already been addressed; the amendment is being presented in a misleading manner; and a mysterious political action committee (PAC) is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote the amendment without disclosing the source of that dark money.

Strapped In Together

Oct 20, 2020

Commentary: The newborn phase is a bit like war: no sleep, an unknown opponent, meeting different layers of yourself through caffeine and adrenaline, and learning to distinguish the urgency of loud yelling.

For both of my kids, the car was an elixir of relief, first for me and then for them, once they were lulled to sleep. They realized that no amount of yelling would stop the ride. Thanks to them, I also know all the circular routes in a 70-mile radius, the length of which I chose depending on the cantankerous need of my kid and the length of a podcast.

Report: Declining Oil & Gas Industry Unlikely to Recover

Oct 20, 2020
Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

Commentary: James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding the report on the outlook of the oil and gas industry in New Mexico, released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA): 

“For too long New Mexico has been whipsawed by volatile oil and natural gas markets that our policymakers have no power to control. Once again low oil and gas prices are causing shortfalls in dollars needed in the state budget for our schools, public safety, health care, and more. The IEEFA report released today makes it clear that we cannot simply blame COVID-19 for our revenue shortfall and expect New Mexico to recover when the pandemic subsides. The signs that the oil and gas industry is in decline go back almost a decade. New Mexico needs to diversify its economy in order to reduce our reliance on a declining industry now.