Local Viewpoints

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U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) today made the following statements in response to a provision included in the compromise language of the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), released yesterday.

Courtesy: NMFO

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act. The Act would designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. 

The proposal would establish a new national monument that would be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and would include eight new wilderness areas.

Senator Udall says having a National Monument would help bring tourism dollars to Southern New Mexico along with creating new job opportunities, while protecting outdoor recreation activities in the region.

Late Tuesday evening, budget conferees announced that a deal had been made on a federal budget, which includes a provision that would reduce the states’ share of mineral royalty payments from 50 percent (required under the Mineral Leasing Act) to 48 percent. This will cost New Mexico $95.5 million over the next ten years.

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

    Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall praised the confirmation of Patricia Millett to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is the first nominee to be confirmed by the Senate since changing its rules to prohibit filibusters of executive branch and judicial nominees, other than those to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  Over the last few years our state has seen a massive push from the governor’s administration to drive education improvements through an increase in testing in our schools. In isolation, this might seem like results-minded reform, but in conjunction with the testing efforts already in place, the resulting “over-testing” is taking the learning right out of our schools.

Sanchez: Good Policy And Hypocricy Are Mutally Exclusive

Dec 6, 2013
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  This letter is in response to the Albuquerque Journal’s editorial published on December 3, 2013 entitled “Good policy, law not mutually exclusive.”

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Tom Udall welcomed the president's "Presidential Memorandum," challenging federal agencies to nearly triple their renewable energy consumption to 20 percent by 2020. Udall, who has led the effort to set a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), requiring utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025, issued the following statement: "The United States should lead the world in clean energy jobs, innovation and in efforts to fight global warming. A national RES is critical to get us there.

Fischmann: Stop "Legal Loan Sharking"

Dec 3, 2013
Steve Fischmann

  Nobody does a better job of stomping on the poor in New Mexico than predatory storefront lenders.  Under the guise of helping low income folks survive short term financial emergencies, they load outrageously expensive debt on those who can least afford it and help perpetuate the cycle of poverty.  The most common victims are single moms, the elderly and former military personnel.

Immigrant Families Challenge Pearce At Book Signing

Nov 26, 2013
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  On Tuesday, over 100 immigrant workers gathered with their families outside the Lea County Museum for a mock Thanksgiving dinner to protest Congressman Steve Pearce's refusal to support immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Pearce, who was in town promoting his new book, "Just Fly the Plane, Stupid," was confronted by protestors holding signs that said "We picked your food," "We milked the cows," and "We are as American as your family."


Heinrich: End The NSA Dragnet

Nov 26, 2013
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico


Santa Fe, NM — Governor Martinez’s attempt to withhold capital outlay appropriations approved by the Legislature is unconstitutional, according to an Attorney General (AG) opinion issued late Friday.   Earlier this summer, 12 Senate Democrats requested an opinion from the AG questioning the constitutionality of an Executive Order issued by Governor Martinez.

Keller Urges Governor To Reconsider Standardized Testing

Nov 25, 2013

Santa Fe, NM —Tim Keller, Senate Majority Whip (D-17- Bernalillo), says he is urging Governor Susana Martinez to place education reform as a topic for consideration during this upcoming legislative session.   Specifically, he would like the Governor to reconsider her policies on standardized testing, which now take priority over curriculum. Additionally, 50 percent of teacher evaluations are now based on how well students do on standardized tests.

  Las Cruces, NM:  Bishop Oscar Cantú has been elected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace.  Bishop Cantú, a committee member, was elected to the chairman position in a 126-110 vote.

Las Cruces, NM — A radio spot by New Mexico Competes supports Governor Martinez’s failed plan to retain third graders.  The voiceover states that third graders who are not reading proficiently are 4-times more likely to drop out.  This research is based on a report called “Double Jeopardy,” which was  put out by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In the study being reported, 16 percent of those who were not reading proficiently at third grade did not graduate on time while 4 percent of those who were reading proficiently didn’t graduate.

Pearce Supports Energy Legislation

Nov 21, 2013

This week, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce voted with Republicans and Democrats on three key energy bills: HR 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act; HR 2728, the Protecting States Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act; and HR 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. All three bills are a part of the House’s strategy to responsibly develop our domestic resources in a responsible manner.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement after the Senate voted 52-48 to change its rules and end filibusters on presidential executive and judicial nominations, except to the U.S. Supreme Court. Udall has led the effort to reform the Senate’s rules since he was elected in 2009. His argument throughout has been that a permanent change in the Senate rules – including by requiring a talking filibuster – is the only way to ensure the Senate will work for the American people again.

Courtesy: US Dept. of Education

  Las Cruces, N.M. — As part of American Education Week (November 18-22) Las Cruces and Gadsden educators, parents, and students gathered together at the Las Cruces Public Schools Professional Development Center in a show of support for local schools and local control of schools.  Hundreds of LCPS educators wore black to express outrage against Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera’s controversial education policies that dramatically increase high-stakes, standardized testing and a new teacher evaluation system largely based on standardized test scores.  

  (Gallup, N.M., - November 19, 2013) – The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) is proud to celebrate the five-year anniversary of its first Navajo casino, Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, N.M. During the past five years, hundreds of Navajos have been employed through Fire Rock, as well as receiving management, gaming, restaurant and other job training as they move up and help open additional Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise properties.


Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall again made the case for meaningful reform of the Senate rules, which he says is needed to end partisan gridlock and restore debate. Udall spoke on the Senate floor after a series of qualified presidential nominees for key positions were blocked by filibusters. He was joined by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who has been a partner in advocating rules reform over the past several years.

Santa Fe, NM —An order issued by the New Mexico Supreme Court in May, which requires that 10,000 state employees are to receive back pay of about $23 million dollars has still not been met by the Martinez administration. The court order sided with plaintiffs, American Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees and Communications Workers of America, that unionized state employees were entitled to raises in 2008.

Senator Howie Morales


by Senator Howie C. Morales (D-Silver City) and Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen (D-Las Cruces)

Last week, New Mexico State Legislators met with the Attorney General’s (AG) Office and the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) to speak about the ongoing investigation of an audit performed earlier this year alleging fraud amongst 15 non-profit behavioral health providers throughout the state.


  On Friday November 15, eleven sportsmen groups representing 20,000 New Mexicans will send a letter to Governor Susana Martinez asking her to oppose the controversial Gila River diversion project in favor of long-term solutions that protect rivers.  Protected and flowing rivers are essential for New Mexico’s world-class elk habitat and gold medal fisheries, which support a $2.89 billion river-related recreation economy. "The Gila region is truly unique, in large part due to the presence of this amazing, living river,” said Jeff Arterburn, President, Gila/Rio Grande Chapter of Trout Unlimit

Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce commented on the ongoing Farm Bill Conference, where the House and Senate are working to resolve differences between their respective versions of the Farm Bill.  Earlier this year, Pearce submitted an amendment which was attached to the Farm Bill which protects jobs by requiring a study of the economic impact and effectiveness of existing programs to protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham commended the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow ranchers to return cattle to grazing leases on one allotment in the state, and to partner with the New Mexico Range Improvement Task Force to review data to make a decision on the remaining allotments.


  The Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce that The Most Rev. Oscar Cantú, Bishop of Las Cruces, will be celebrating his first Las Cruces International Mariachi Mass

Las Cruces, November 7, 2013: The Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces Foundation is pleased to announce the Twentieth Anniversary, International Mariachi Conference Mass.  The Mass will take place on November 24, 2013 at 8:45 a.m. at the Pan American Center, New Mexico State University.  

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance ● The Wilderness Society ● Sierra Club: Rio Grande Chapter ● Southwest Environmental Center ● National Wildlife Federation ● Audubon New Mexico ● New Mexico Wildlife Federation ● Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen ● Dona Ana County Associated Sportsmen ● Environment New Mexico ● Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Coalition

Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  In a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) was one of four senators to vote against the FISA Improvements Act citing that the bill did not go far enough in curbing the bulk collection of law-abiding Americans' private records:

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (NMCLP) and the ACLU of New Mexico (ACLU-NM) have released a report, “Inside The Box: The Real Costs of Solitary Confinement in New Mexico’s Prisons and Jails,” detailing the findings of a year-long investigation of the use of solitary confinement in New Mexico’s prisons and jails. Their study found that solitary confinement is widely used in prisons and jails in New Mexico. While it costs more money to detain prisoners in isolation than in the general population, it does not improve public safety or reduce prison violence.