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: Representative Yvette Herrell took office today, less than a week after it was reported that she believes Joe Biden is not the President-elect of the United States. Representative Herrell plans to join Republican lawmakers who will object to the certification of the 2020 election results on January 6th, attempting to nullify the votes of millions of Americans. This last-ditch effort to undermine the 2020 election is so extreme that even Republican Senate leadership refuses to support it, with one Senator saying it’s not “good for the country.” 

The Deep Bond With Our Dogs

Jan 3, 2021
Photo by Peter Goodman

Commentary: The last day of the year, after returning home from morning pickleball that had started in subfreezing weather, the old man goes out back, where the dog signifies that her ears need scratching. Bare feet on the cool concrete patio, body pleasantly fatigued, he sits in the sun and obliges. “Old man gets to pet old dog,” he says to her, then corrects himself: “That’s right, you’re probably not as old as I, but we both sure like chasing a ball around.” He does the math.

While We're Still On The Same Planet

Dec 30, 2020


  Commentary: There will be plenty of empty seats during Christmas this year. It's not just the overwhelming number of those we've lost to the pandemic but those with whom we have had a falling out, those who have gone before and those who have gone recently. Their memory can be both a blessing and a pang of loss that might be hidden during the year, but holidays set the table for them to rejoin us.

A few days after Thanksgiving, my mother, who lives with me, wandered into my office to coordinate a lunch plan for the kids. She mentioned that even though my dad has been gone for 13 years, she still would have wanted him to be eating turkey with us. I told her I thought and wished for the same.

With latest subsidy, Netflix wins and New Mexico loses

Dec 30, 2020
Paul J. Gessing

Commentary: New Mexico remains among the most locked down states in the nation when it comes to the coronavirus. In October the state’s unemployment rate was among the highest in the nation at 8.1%. This difficult economic news combined with the election of a more “progressive” Legislature in November mean that tax increases (and even spending cuts) are likely in store for the upcoming 2021 legislative session. With New Mexico relying heavily on oil and gas revenues, the state’s economic pain will last beyond the coming year.

A salute to the helpers in this horrible year

Dec 28, 2020
Walt Rubel


  Commentary: This is the time of year when people all over the world join in a collective wish that next year will be better than this one. Never in my lifetime has that bar been set so low.

Former children’s TV host Fred Rogers famously passed along the advice his mother gave him when he was a child and images on the TV news were frightening and confusing. Always look for the helpers, she said. In any disaster, there will always be people helping others get through it.

Dear Congress: An Action Plan For 2021

Dec 28, 2020

  Commentary: It occurred to me the other day that 2020 has gone by so fast and so slow at the same time. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked pain and suffering at human, economic, and psyche levels. Millions of people across the globe have personally been affected by the virus, and businesses have closed that will not ever reopen. However, as we pass through the holiday season – a season of faith for many Americans – we are seeing much awaited signs of hope.

Thoughts From Las Cruces As We Approach 2021

Dec 27, 2020


Commentary:  We are united by our love of the Organ Mountains, the Chihuahuan Desert, this community, and our homegrown chile, never misspelled “chili.”

We share an ideal of freedom, embodied imperfectly in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and by the imperfect men who wrote those and freed us from the dominion of a king. That they held other humans as slaves sullies their fine words. Nor did they recognize women or folks of other colors as their equals.

Having acted selfishly and thoughtlessly, and spoken out with youth’s arrogance and now with curmudgeonly impatience, I too am far from perfect. I’ve had excellent teachers and wonderful friends, but none has been perfect.

When The Blood Is On Your Hands

Dec 26, 2020

  Commentary: We sped past a hospital that was built recently and is attached to the entrance of our neighborhood. We didn't know if they had set up their insurance options. We were just a turn away from the freestanding ER when my husband asked if we should do urgent care instead. My emotions high, I told him I just didn't know where the closest urgent care was, or whether it took our insurance. We pulled into the ER.

Biden's Compassion Matters to World's Poor

Dec 21, 2020

 Commentary: While President Trump pouts and plots, and President-elect Biden anticipates and appoints, there is an October news clipping from Sonia Perez of the Associated Press that I have not been able to get out of my head. Tucked in a small corner on page 6 of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, it was a story that got completely buried in the deluge of information that worries most Americans. In her piece, Perez called attention to hundreds of migrants heading to the United States, reporting that they were hoarded on trucks by the army and bused back to Honduras after reaching Poptun, Guatemala. Not surprisingly, the Guatemalan president contended that they were a contagion risk amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Commentary: A new analysis from the nonpartisan New Mexico Tax Research Institute reports state revenue from oil and natural gas production in New Mexico totaled $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2020, accounting for 33.5% of total state spending. Despite lower commodity prices throughout the spring of 2020, record production kept the oil and gas revenue at the second highest total ever reported.

  Commentary: When I heard that the chairman of the Texas Republican Party wanted to secede from the union, I had the same thought as when then-Gov. Rick Perry floated the idea in 2009. What can we do to give them a nudge?


I wrote a column back then suggesting a new federal law prohibiting oversized belt buckles. I think we should do whatever we can to turn all that big talk into action.


The Brits can have Brexit. Why can’t the Texans have Texit? 


Public Safety Is Not A Political Game

Dec 21, 2020
Peter Goodman

  Commentary: How about we stop beating a dead horse with election suits and help limit the dead New Mexicans? The Presidential Election’s over. The pandemic ain’t.

COVID-19 cases surged this fall. Here and elsewhere. Many nations responded, reimposing restrictions. The U.S. didn’t. Worldwide, the number of new cases has fallen of late. Several countries, including France, Italy, and Saudi Arabia, have seen drops of more than 50%; and other major countries have seen declines of 30-50%, including India and Norway.

Report presented to legislative committee speaks to the need to diversify New Mexico tax system

Dec 18, 2020

Commentary: We can build the kind of New Mexico we all want – one where children receive a world-class education and jobs pay a family-sustaining wage – but it means everyone must do their part. That means having a stable and equitable tax system – one that asks the most from those who have the most and raises the money we need to educate our children and make the other investments that help drive our economy. 

Tuesday’s meeting of the Revenue Stabilization & Tax Policy Committee included a sobering reminder of the urgent need to find more stable revenue, but it also provided cause for hope – by reforming an unstable, inequitable tax structure, New Mexico can better serve the state’s children and future.  

Representative Deb Haaland nominated for Secretary of the Interior

Dec 17, 2020

  Commentary: Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced Congresswoman Deb Haaland as his nominee for Secretary of the Interior. As one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, Rep. Haaland is once again making history as the first Native American to be nominated as Interior Secretary and, if confirmed, to serve in a presidential cabinet.

As Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland will oversee 500 million acres of public land and uphold the federal government’s commitments to Native American tribes. Beginning on day one, Haaland will face the tall task of reversing the Trump administration’s destructive legacy on public lands, from shrinking national monuments to offering millions of acres for oil and gas leasing, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

 Commentary: Just as clean energy sources emerge in New Mexico as a leading driver of economic growth, a new study has been released that details the full impact of achieving 50% renewable electricity generation by 2030. The first-of-its kind study released by the American Clean Power Association (ACP) highlights a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity with reaching majority renewable electricity generation in New Mexico.

The study found that by reaching majority renewable electricity generation within the next decade, New Mexico will see:

$17.1 billion in capital investments from wind and solar projects

13,700 good-paying, renewable energy jobs

$467 million in land-lease payments

$329 million in state and local tax payments from wind and solar projects

Elk Habitat Conserved in New Mexico

Dec 17, 2020
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

  Commentary: Thanks to the actions of conservation-minded landowners, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation helped permanently protect 970 acres of important elk habitat in southcentral New Mexico.

"We appreciate Gary and Laurie Fonay for their desire to reach out to us to place a conservation easement on their property," said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. "They are long-time RMEF members and volunteers but more than that, they are stewards of the land who understand and cherish its wildlife resources."

  Commentary: Today, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously denied El Paso Electric's request to build a 228-MW natural-gas generator, citing EPE’s failure to consider the requirements of the Energy Transition Act.  

The air quality in communities around the plant, including Chaparral, NM, and northern El Paso County, already violates federal standards for ozone and other dangerous pollutants. The additional generator would have increased those dangerous levels. While it is not clear how El Paso Electric will respond, EPE will have to decide whether it still makes sense to go forward with the project for only its Texas customers. A coalition of local groups is urging the El Paso City Council to use its legal authority to reject the plant entirely on a municipal level.  

The Flaws In Our Team

Dec 16, 2020

Commentary: The year began with such ambition in our household. We were going to learn how to bullet journal and get our lives on a page. I had turned my husband on to the idea of the "bujo" system, a slightly intricate system that supposedly streamlines your life from random notes on your desk into bulleted lists on a dotted page. It sadly did no such thing for me.

Despite a night of line drawing and list-making enthusiasm, where my husband and I designed what might become a guidepost for the year, I dropped off quickly and stubbornly retained my scraps of paper. However, there was one page I kept going back to: a drawing of a bookshelf, where I would fill in the names of books I had read as the year went on.

Report: NM Can Improve Racial Equity with Targeted Tax Policies

Dec 15, 2020

Commentary: Much of our state and nation’s systemic racial inequities are the result of public policies that benefit some groups while disadvantaging others. Such policy is even found in our tax codes, but by changing them, New Mexico can begin to build a more equitable future. That’s the main message in a new report issued by New Mexico Voices for Children. The report, Tax Policy: A Powerful Tool to Advance Racial Equity in New Mexico, looks at some of the public policies that created and continue to maintain systemic racism, while including recommendations for building a more equitable tax code.

Taking Aim At New Mexico Hunting Revenues

Dec 14, 2020

Commentary: Recently, a report was published by the Legislative Finance Council regarding a funding method utilized by New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) to compensate landowners for conservation practices essential to maintaining critical habitat provided to wildlife on their private property. The report prompted Senator Martin Heinrich to write a critical letter outlining his disapproval, as well as an article by the Albuquerque Journal. Designed with input from numerous stakeholders, the Elk Private Land Use System (EPLUS) has taken the NMDGF decades to perfect and has been credited as a model system among other western hunting states.

Udall’s optimism shaken by 12 years in Senate

Dec 14, 2020
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary: Tom Udall entered the U.S. Senate in 2009 as an idealist with big plans to make dramatic changes. He’ll leave 12 years later as a realist.

Or, as he put it in his farewell address, a “troubled optimist.”

“The Senate is broken. It’s not working for the American people,” Udall said. “We are becoming better and better warriors. We’re good at landing a punch - at exposing hypocrisy and riling each other up. But we aren’t fostering our better angels.”

Commentary: After its reconstruction with U.S. support after WWII, Japan became a major force in ship building, cameras, consumer electronics, and especially automobiles. The U.S. was supportive of Japan’s emerging success, as it wanted a stable and loyal ally in Asia to counteract Russia and China during the Cold War. The U.S. came out of WWII as the major economic force on the planet, whose economy and industries were booming. However, it needed trading partners to buy the myriad of products it was manufacturing that could not be absorbed by the national market. With healthy allies such as Japan, the U.S. could develop trade relationships that would allow American products to be exported globally.

Remembering Jean (1920-1994) on her 100th Birthday

Dec 13, 2020

Commentary: Jean Edmunds was born 100 years ago today, 13 December, in far Northern Maine.

Her family owned a lot of farmland, and grew plenty of potatoes. Like their community, they were white, Protestant (Episcopalian), and Republican.

Jean attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After graduating, she learned that the Chinese Ambassador, T.V. Soong, and his wife were seeking a Wellesley grad as live-in governess.

Texas' legal challenge to election is an anti-democratic power grab

Dec 11, 2020
Texas AG Ken Paxton

Commentary: We suspect many of you, like us, are gobsmacked by Texas asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the election results of the 2020 presidential election in four other states.

Joining in the madness by Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of New Mexico’s giant neighbor to the east, are 17 other Republican attorney generals and more than 40% of the Republican congressional delegation.

Paxton is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the results in Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan — battleground states that helped hand the presidency to former Democratic vice president Joe Biden — by calling into question those states’ administration of the election.

What Shines Through

Dec 9, 2020

Commentary: This week, a photograph in the paper shared a devastating, private moment: a daughter wiping away the tears of her father as he lay intubated in the intensive care unit. She is a nurse at the hospital, able to get dressed in protective gear, visit her father and report back to her family outside.

I saw the photo and at first couldn't even bear to read the story. When I finally braced myself, I realized that I knew about the man through a conversation I had at work. He started working at a specific place at age 17 and has worked there ever since. He is 68.

Commentary: The Chabad Jewish Community Center of Las Cruces will host a 100% covid-safe Chanukah Drive-In at the Telshor 12 Cinemas, on Sunday, December 13th, the 4th night of the eight-day holiday. Gates open at 4:30PM with the event beginning at 5:00PM. To ensure everyone is safe, the Drive-In will be very limited, with all participants remaining in their cars at ALL times, and sound being transmitted via FM radio. The event will include a menorah lighting ceremony, a virtual Chanukah concert streamed from Los Angeles by the world-renowned 8th Day Band. This event is made possible, in part by the Allen Family, is FREE of charge but RSVP a must at due to limited space.

Commentary: During the early days of his political career, the knock against Bill McCamley was that he never had a “real job.” Now, it could be argued that he and Dr. David Scrase have the two toughest jobs in the state.

Scrase, the state’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, is charged with helping us stay healthy. McCamley, secretary for Workforce Solutions, is charged with helping those who have lost their jobs. In both cases, a lot of help is needed.

Steve Pearce

Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico’s State Central Committee Monday re-elected Steve Pearce as RPNM Chairman for two more years.

There were 172 SCC members who voted in the virtual election. Members also selected seven other Republican Party of New Mexico officers, including Vice-Chairs, Congressional District Chairs, Secretary and Treasurer. All elected officers will serve under the Chairman until December 2022.

The Danger Of Trump's False Election Fraud Claims

Dec 6, 2020

Commentary: I’ve mostly ignored Donald Trump’s whining about alleged “election fraud.” His lawyers can’t show courts reasoned legal arguments or even a hint of factual evidence to support his claims. Recently, a district judge’s opinion trashing Trump’s case was unanimously upheld by a three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, all Republican appointees. The decision was written by the judge Trump had appointed.

Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico launched and financed a lawsuit that was filed Friday, requesting that all 2020 election ballots in Bernalillo County be impounded.

RPNM asked 1st Congressional District candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes to submit the petition. New Mexico law grants candidates the right to have authorities impound tally sheets, registration certificates, paper ballots, absentee ballots, statements of canvass, absentee ballot applications and absentee ballot registers.