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.

Commentary:  U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich reintroduced the Central America Reform And Enforcement Act, a major legislative proposal to address the root causes of the Central American migrant crisis. The bill outlines the coordinated regional response needed to effectively manage the endemic violence and humanitarian crises in the Northern Triangle countries -- El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras -- that are causing many women, children, and families to flee and seek asylum in the United States.

Leading Democrats Introduce Legislation to Cut Methane Pollution

May 14, 2019

Commentary:  Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) today introduced the Methane Waste Prevention Act of 2019, presenting a Democratic approach to reducing toxic and climate-warming emissions from oil and gas operations by restoring methane waste rules President Trump canceled and moved to weaken in September 2018. The bill’s original cosponsors include Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Natural Resources Committee Vice Chair Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), and Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chair Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.).

Torres Small Calls For Complete Investigations Into Migrant Child Deaths

May 14, 2019
Felipe Alonzo-Gomez / Family photo

Commentary: Today, U.S. Representatives Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) and Raul Ruiz (CA-32) led a group of 17 Congressional Caucus Members in a letter urging U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan to provide an update on the investigations into the December 2018 deaths of Jakelin Caal Maquin and Felipe Gómez Alonzo while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Nearly five months later, DHS has neither completed the investigations nor has it given any indication as to when it will.

  Commentary: In the spring of 2006, then-Gov. Bill Richardson signed the legislation to create Spaceport America.

“This is a unique opportunity for New Mexico to be on the ground floor of a new industry that will bring new companies, more high-wage jobs and opportunities that will move our state’s economy forward,” Richardson said at the time.

If all had gone according to plan, Virgin Galactic would now have a thriving space tourism business operating out of the spaceport. Millionaires and billionaires from around the world would be coming to southern New Mexico for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, spending freely in our stores and restaurants as they prepared for their big day.


Udall Blasts Use Of $1.5 Billion More In Defense Funds For Trump Wall Expansion

May 13, 2019
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:  U.S. Senator Tom Udall, along with every Democratic member of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, slammed the White House and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan for their plan for an additional unauthorized transfer of $1.5 billion in important national security funds in order to build part of President Donald Trump’s wall along the southern border.


Peter Goodman

Commentary:  New Mexico's Supreme Court heard an important argument Monday on what's fair and lawful with regard to our push toward renewable electricity sources. 


Big utility companies have a legal monopoly on distributing our electricity; but should we let them use that power to gain a monopoly on producing electricity?


PRC Hearing Examiner Carolyn Glick said, “No!” After reviewing much evidence, she said it wasn't even a close call. She found that PNM had rigged a 2017 request for proposals on a 50MW solar generating project so that bidders could only succeed if their bid involved PNM owning the solar fields. Affordable Solar, Inc. won the bid.

Las Cruces Group Condemns Plan For More Border Wall Construction

May 11, 2019

Commentary: The Southwest Environmental Center strongly condemns the Trump administration’s rush to build new border walls in New Mexico, Arizona and California under the pretense of a national emergency while ignoring the concerns and rights of border communities and wildlife. The Department of Homeland Security announced plans in the past few days to build 78 miles of new border walls in Arizona and California, adding to its plans to construct 57 miles of new bollard border walls in New Mexico and Arizona announced last month.

Can't Trump This: Comparing The Border To Disneyland?

May 9, 2019

  “’When they used to separate children … far fewer people would come, and we've been on a humane basis, it's pretty bad,’ (President) Trump told Maria Bartiromo, host of Fox News’ ‘Sunday Morning Futures,’ in a phone interview. ‘We go out and we stop the separation. The problem is, you have 10 times more people coming up with their families. It's like Disneyland now,’ he continued.” – POLITICO

Commentary:  My son looked at me incredulously. “This was a fun place when you were a kid?”

“Disneyland was different then,” I said, affecting a thousand-yard stare so as to avoid catching my wife’s eye.


Commentary: The Children, Youth and Families Department announced this week that a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit regarding childcare assistance payments. The settlement of the suit, which was brought against the department in September 2018, will require CYFD to provide increased access to child care assistance to families across the state.

“This agreement is a step in the right direction when it comes to increased transparency and accountability,” CYFD Secretary Brian Blalock said. “This agreement will also ensure due process for our children and our families.”


  Commentary: Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) urged Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to extend the public comment period, which ends today, for the Trump administration’s proposal to build 46 miles of new border wall in southern New Mexico. In a letter to CBP and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the senators said the process is wholly inadequate for stakeholders to thoroughly review and provide comment on a project of this magnitude and believe CBP should extend the comment period by 90 days. Udall and Heinrich adamantly oppose the border wall proposal.

 Commentary: On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board had rejected every objection made by intervenors challenging Holtec International’s application to build a storage facility for high-level nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico.

Among the requests the panel refused to consider was the objection raised by Sierra Club that U.S. law clearly prohibits nuclear waste being moved to interim facilities before a permanent storage site has been identified. No such permanent sites exist in the U.S.

“This ‘interim' storage facility could well become a permanent repository without the protections of a permanent repository,” Sierra Club attorney Wally Taylor said in response to Tuesday’s ruling. “Now it is up to the people and public officials in New Mexico to protect New Mexicans from this boondoggle.”

Court orders CYFD to lawfully manage Child Care Assistance Program

May 7, 2019


   Commentary: Working families will have increased access to much needed child care assistance as a result of a court order approving an agreement between working families and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. The order, entered by the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe yesterday, mandates that CYFD will follow the law in managing New Mexico’s Childcare Assistance Program.

Commentary: I have decided that one of my new goals is to die penniless. Literally. Meaning without pennies.

To be clear, I hope to still have a few dollars in the bank when I go. But no more pennies.

To rid myself of this copper menace will mean ensuring that I have at least four of them with me during all future cash transactions. Any purchase that requires the exchange of pennies must have me giving, not taking.


Reintegration — An Important Part of Community Strength

May 6, 2019

Commentary: Data from the New Mexico Sentencing Commission shows that returning to the community is a difficult task that poses serious challenges for those who have been released from incarceration.  More than 40% of inmates released between July 2007 and June 2015 were arrested again by June 30, 2017.  The formerly incarcerated are likely to become stressed and anxious as they evaluate the barriers to overcome to establish a life "outside".  These individuals must juggle housing, employment and re-learning how to communicate with the free world, all while rebuilding their lives.

Commentary: Speaking at an event sponsored by CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Congresswoman Ilhan Absullahi Omar, a Somali-American member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving for Minnesota's 5th congressional district, said, “Muslims for a really long time in this country have been told that there is a privilege, that there is a privilege that we are given and it might be taken away... We are told that we should be appropriate. We should go to school, get an education, raise our children, and not bother anyone, not make any kind of noise.

Fences and Walls: How about our Wildlife?

May 6, 2019

Commentary: Recently, while traveling on a rural road in our state, the new wire fences lining both sides peaked my interest. On one side of the road there was an old wooden post fence alongside the new metal fencing and there were man-made obstacles blocking the underpasses. As these fences went on for miles, I began to question how wildlife is to travel across our land for survival with these barriers in place. Later that week, I visited the border area and saw the miles of new border fencing being built causing even more obstacles to our wildlife.

The factors behind the humanitarian crisis

May 6, 2019

Commentary: The humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico continues to develop, and Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. keep arriving at ports of entry to give themselves up and be processed. Refugee shelters and holding areas swell as officials and volunteers desperately try to keep up with the human waves. If we don’t want this situation to happen again in the future, we must study the myriad of factors that have coalesced to create the current crisis.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: The New Mexico Soil and Water Conservation Commission (NMSWCC) is an obscure group one could easily overlook. The NMSWCC could do us a lot of good. Climate-change makes protecting our resources even more critical; but the NMSWCC seems to think climate-change is a shuck.

Greece Is Still Suffering

May 3, 2019

Commentary: The drachma is among the oldest coins, dating back to the 6th century BC. And in 1832, it became the monetary unit of modern Greece. This ancient and glorious history came to an end in 2002, when it was replaced by the Euro. That event, the end of the drachma, has turned out to be a disaster for Greece.

Commentary: Families USA released the following statement regarding the Religious Refusals of Care Rule released today by the Department of Health and Human Services that would allow health care providers to deny patients services based on religious beliefs.

Crying "Uncle!" In 2020

May 2, 2019

Commentary: My fellow Americans, as I look across the 40 or 50 people in this presidential primary, it is clear the only thing missing is me. So who’s running for president? This guy!

You know me, America. You knew me as “Lunch Pail Joe,” the working guy's friend, and later as “Uncle Joe.” I was a Senator for decades and I spent eight years in the White House.

My record dimmed in memory as my hair grew white and I became a popular character in social media memes. Now that I'm Uncle Joe, I want you to cry "Uncle!" in 2020.


Commentary: Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) introduced a historic bill to increase focus on addressing the silent crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. The Not Invisible Act of 2019, H.R. 2438, is the first bill in history to be introduced by four enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, Representatives Deb Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna), Tom Cole (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma), Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin), and Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee Nation).

Torres Small and Crenshaw Call on CBP to Increase Technology at Southern Border

May 1, 2019

Commentary: Reps. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) and Dan Crenshaw (TX-02) released the following letter they sent to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan on the importance to expeditiously acquire and deploy new border security technology along the southern border.

Reps. Torres Small and Crenshaw are Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, and Accountability (OMA), respectively.

“Every day, thousands of trucks and cars pass through our ports of entry but due to staffing shortages and inefficient technology, only a small percentage of vehicles are scanned by non-intrusive inspection technology (NII) for illicit drugs, contraband, and human trafficking,” said Congresswoman Torres Small. “By investing in smarter and more efficient technology at our ports of entry, such NII, we are both enhancing the safety of communities across the U.S. and growing our economy through increased flows of legitimate trade. I thank Congressman Crenshaw for his partnership on this issue.“

Commentary:  Congressman Ben Ray Luján addressed New Mexico Democrats at the party's convention on Sunday - the final stop of his statewide listening tour that took him to nearly 20 of New Mexico's counties to meet with hundreds of supporters and voters in their communities and homes. 

Excerpts of Luján's remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

"We’ve come a long way together. Two years ago, when we last gathered, you and I - we looked around and saw the middle class being left behind. 

"Women's health and freedoms at risk. We saw the needs of the 99 percent put aside for the wants of the 1 percent. Climate change deniers were calling the shots. We saw threats to our Democracy, our health care. We saw Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security under assault. Women’s rights, human rights, equal rights, and voting rights under attack.

  Commentary: The thing that makes the Kentucky Derby so unique is the size of the field. A typical race has six to 12 horses. The Kentucky Derby has 20.

The thing that makes this Democratic primary so unique is that it also has 20 contenders.

Commentary: The United States' prescription drug pricing crisis is forcing consumers to gamble with their health, and jeopardize their financial security. Many health care consumers and families cannot take their medicines as directed or worse, are not filling their prescriptions at all due to high and rising prescription drug prices. Nearly 3 in 10 people across the country skip doses or forgo filling prescriptions altogether due to high costs. While Congressional committees have advanced initial measures to address prescription drug costs, the Coalition for Fair Drug Prices contends their work to date has not focused on the significant policy changes needed to meaningfully lower drug prices. The Coalition, which launched last March, represents one of the broadest and most politically connected consumer groups working on this issue. It is comprised of 12 organizations representing health care consumers, labor, and health care providers who want to encourage policies that will reduce prescription drug costs for America’s families.

O'Rourke Announces Climate Change Plan

Apr 29, 2019
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke / File

Commentary: Today, Beto O’Rourke released a bold and ambitious plan to confront the existential threat of climate change and invest in our communities. The plan is built around a four-part framework: 1) implementing a slate of forceful Day One executive actions to start cutting pollution across all sectors of the U.S. economy at the outset of an O’Rourke Administration; 2) mobilizing $5 trillion over 10 years — spurred by the single largest investment in fighting climate change in history — to transform our aging infrastructure, accelerate innovation, and empower our people and communities to lead the climate fight; 3) working with Congress to enact a legally enforceable standard to guarantee the U.S. achieves net-zero emissions by 2050 and gets half way there by 2030; and 4) taking significant actions to defend communities that are preparing for and fighting fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and other devastating climate impacts. 

Will Trump Destroy our Democracy?

Apr 28, 2019

Commentary: When I took civic and U.S. history classes in high school and college I was told by my teachers that nobody in America is above the law—not even the President. That is why we fought the revolution from England—to create a Republic where there was no monarchy who created their own rules.

I guess that has now changed, according to Attorney General William Barr. Before his nomination to this office, Barr wrote a memo that the President cannot be charged with obstruction since he oversees the Justice Department. In other words, the President is above the law. Barr’s actions since than shows he is just a toady for Trump and his supporters.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: Hosting 2,200 refugees in two weeks is an unexpected challenge. Our community is responding beautifully. 

For months, nonprofits and churches have been helping a steady influx of Central American refugees. Then the feds started releasing so many that the City made Meerscheidt Rec Center a temporary shelter and authorized substantial expenditures. 

DHS Waives 27 Laws to Expedite New Mexico Border Wall Construction

Apr 27, 2019

Commentary: For the 12th time since the passage of the Real ID Act in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security has chosen to waive bedrock laws that protect public health, wildlife, and cultural heritage in order to build border walls. The waiver was issued for border wall construction in New Mexico and Arizona, and the news comes in the middle of CBP’s public comment period on these sections.

“The waiving of these laws sends a clear message to our border communities that our rights and our voices do not matter,” said Amanda Munro, field organizer for the Southwest Environmental Center. “These laws are intended to protect people from bad decisions that will negatively impact their environment, health, and history, and yet we border residents are deemed unworthy of even the right to give our opinion on the construction happening in our own backyards.”