NM Political Report wins four regional awards

NM Political Report won four regional awards at the annual Top of the Rockies contest—including two first place awards. The Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies awards are for the best journalism in the region—Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah. NM Political Report competes in the category against print outlets in the region with circulations between 10,000 and 29,999. Laura Paskus won first place for her story “Federal climate report shows how climate change will impact U.S. economy, infrastructure and more” in the “Science and Technology: General Reporting” category. The judge wrote, “Laura Paskus does an excellent job of explaining a federal report that looks at climate change and its impact on the U.S. economy and infrastructure.

NM Political Report wins eight statewide awards

NM Political Report won eight awards at the annual New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Contest, including one first place award. The number of awards put NM Political Report in second place in the organization’s Sweepstakes contest, which assigned points for each entry that won or placed in the competition. Laura Paskus won first place in the Specialty Articles – Green/Environmental category for her story “Federal climate report shows how climate change will impact U.S. economy, infrastructure and more.” The story examined a federal report on the climate from a New Mexico perspective. The story from November of last year is part of NM Political Report’s full-time environment coverage. Paskus also won second-place in the Continuing Covering or Unfolding News category for her coverage of the Texas v. New Mexico Supreme Court case.

Watch: Laura Paskus discussing Holloman AFB water contamination

New Mexico In Focus invited NM Political Report’s Laura Paskus to talk about her recent story about the contamination of water under Holloman Air Force Base. The story focused on a U.S. Air Force site inspection report showing contamination from hazardous compounds known as PFAS in groundwater underneath the Air Force base. PFAS—or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of human-made chemicals which includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)—were found at thousands of times the levels deemed safe for humans. According to the report, the groundwater in the area is brackish and not used for drinking water at the base or in nearby communities. See the segment below.

Video: The 2019 State of the State

Today will be Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s first State of the State address. Thanks to KNME-TV, we will have a livestream of her speech available below. We are also live blogging everything happening today here.

Live blog: Opening day of the 2019 legislative session

A new legislative session begins today, with a new governor and a revamped and enlarged Democratic majority in the state House. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will deliver her first State of the State address to a joint session of the state Legislature some time after the Legislature starts the session at noon. Legislators, including many freshman, will be sworn into the House. We’ll be following it all day through our liveblog below. Note: The live blog should automatically update, no need to refresh the page.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s inaugural address

The following remarks are those as prepared for delivery. From this moment on, the podiums in this state are all exactly this tall. Thank you. Thank you all for being here. I want to especially thank my beautiful family for their unyielding love and support – Erin, Taylor, my brother Gregory, and the first Manny.

Our favorite stories of 2018

Note: This is part of our year-end series. See our top ten stories of the year. Matt’s favorite stories

NM Political Report is ending its fourth year (can you believe we’ve been around that long?) and looking back, I can see some stories that I’m very glad I was able to write. Some got a lot of attention—like taking an early look at what legislative races would be those to watch on election night. Interestingly enough, Democrats won five of the six races I had deemed “longshots” based on previous election results. I also looked at if 2018 would be a “year of the woman” in New Mexico.

2018 Top Stories: Numbers 10-6

Note: All week we will be counting down the top ten stories of 2018, as voted on by NM Political Report staffers. See them all here as they come in! 10) Cannon contamination

This summer, the Air Force announced it was sampling groundwater wells for traces of harmful chemicals found within firefighting foam used at the base from the 1970s until last year. The U.S. Department of Defense found that activities at 126 military bases had contaminated groundwater with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of human-made chemicals, often referred to as PFAS’s, that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).Now, unsafe-levels of PFAS’s have been found in the groundwater below Cannon Air Force Base—and in wells that were tested off-base. The state of New Mexico issued a notice of violation against the Air Force and some members of the congressional delegation met with the Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. -Laura Paskus

9) Progressives takes out moderates

Even before the general election, the state House was going to move to the left.

An open letter to those elected last month

Dear Democrats,

While you’re transitioning into your new roles for 2018, we respectfully ask you to consider these two words: Be better. Be better at accessibility. Be better at transparency. Be better at talking to the public about issues that are not on your agenda. Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration touted itself as the most transparent administration.