With Obamacare Defeated, can we now focus on the ACA?

What would happen if the people of America were aware that there is legislation enacted to ensure that healthcare is accessible for every citizen? My guess is that people across the nation would be outraged at the political hijinks conducted over the past two weeks. “Obamacare” was defeated this past Friday with the pulling of a House bill to repeal and replace the present healthcare law. It is now time to enforce the law of the land that provides healthcare for every American citizen: the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And it is also time to end the war against the ACA over past seven years, a war waged to retain the supremacy of white men.

Examining the Martinez administration’s ’37’ tax cuts

As the 2017 regular legislative session ends, New Mexico finds itself in familiar territory—with no money in a slow-moving economy. The same tired rhetoric of no tax increases—a pledge made by Governor Susana Martinez since she has taken office—has led to deep cuts in essential services like education, public safety, and health care. Because we often hear the administration touting the 37 tax cuts made since Governor Richardson left office in 2011, obviously the executive believes we can cut our way to prosperity. But in reality, these cuts helped put our state in the red. Raphael Pacheco, MBA, is a Research and Policy Analyst and the State Priorities Partnership Fellow for NM Voices for Children.

Administrative next step to capital outlay reforms

Reforming New Mexico’s process for selecting and paying for public works projects, which is nearly universally criticized as inefficient and wasteful, will continue through administrative steps despite the lack of an appetite this year to enact reforms into law. Those of us who believe the state’s capital outlay process can be improved will not be deterred from pursuing statutory changes in the future, such as requirements for better vetting, complete funding and prioritization of those projects that directly improve the safety, well-being and health of New Mexicans. Pete Campos is a Democratic State Senator from Las Vegas representing District 8. We will move forward with administrative reforms, including efforts by the Department of Finance and Administration and the Legislative Finance Committee, as well as the New Mexico Municipal League and the New Mexico Association of Counties. Those entities have been working diligently to improve the process, mindful of how important capital outlay projects are to local communities, our state’s economy and the health, safety and well-being of New Mexicans.

Outside the news conference

Earlier this year, the president of the United States referred to journalists from news organizations such as the New York Times, CNN and NBC News as the “enemy of the American people.” Shortly after that, reporters from those outlets and others were barred from the White House press gaggle. As Sunshine Week dawns, New Mexico journalists can commiserate with colleagues across the country who are under fire from hostile politicians. More importantly, we can assure them that there is life outside the news conference. Sarah Gustavus is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter board and the producer of New Mexico In Focus. It has become a New Mexico tradition for gubernatorial administrations to blacklist journalists who expose stories politicians would rather keep quiet.

Starting a conversation on taxes on the 1 percent

On Saturday night, March 11, 2017, I started a long overdue conversation on the floor of the House. For the past 14 years, New Mexico tried an experiment—we cut personal and corporate income taxes to see if jobs would flow into the state. The experiment failed.  Jobs and people left the state. Revenues tumbled.

Raise the cigarette tax now to help NM classrooms and health

New Mexico has a unique opportunity today to accomplish two important goals for our state by simply raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. First, we can substantially strengthen our children’s classrooms, which have been hit with cuts worth tens of millions of dollars since 2008. Second, we can make sure that more than 11,000 additional kids never even become smokers, and more than 10,000 current adult smokers will quit, significantly lowering overall health costs. We cannot afford not to do it. My legislation, SB 231, would increase the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack, with an equivalent increase in other tobacco products including e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

History of Black History, Part II: ‘In God We Trust’

In America, the words “In God We Trust” form the foundation of governmental and societal order. The irrevocable prominence of these words are within each and every decision made in our capitals, courts, board rooms, financial institutions and educational bodies. These words do hold the authority and form the premise of White First—Black Lives Do Not Matter. “In God We Trust” in lands of global governorship has been allowed to rule known humanity without question for many, many centuries. However, the questions that most people have always failed or been afraid to ask about this phase are, who is God?

Why New Mexico’s Legislature should advance a women’s policy agenda

I’m a political scientist, an advocate, a sister, a wife, a daughter, and a mother. I have a toddler boy and, come next month, I’ll add a little girl to the list of people that call me mama. Like many parents, I believe that raising kind, honest, empathetic, and civic-minded kids is the most important thing I will ever do, and raising kids who believe that everyone—regardless of gender, color or ability—should have respect and opportunity is a very big part of that for me. It is important to me that my kids—both my daughter and my son—know that being called a feminist is something to aspire to and that the 19th Amendment is a hallowed one. Last year’s very contentious presidential campaign put the treatment of women—among other groups of people—in the spotlight.

Repealing the BLM methane waste rule will hurt a growing NM industry

The methane mitigation industry has been a bright spot in an otherwise tough New Mexico economic climate. These are the companies that help develop and deploy the technologies that make our oil and gas industry more efficient and profitable. It’s not sexy, but it’s what drives a lot of the high tech economy – just the sort of start-ups and jobs that New Mexico so sorely needs. The Governor’s support of repealing the BLM Methane Waste Rule would threaten these valuable jobs. Oil and gas companies wasting methane isn’t just bad for the climate and our health, it’s also a huge economic inefficiency.

History of Black History Part I: Black life has never mattered in the USA

Trending now throughout America is an aggressive mentality that’s creating a revival of the atrocious treatment of Black people perpetrated by the American people both tangible and intangible throughout its generations. This mental pedigree sits firmly within the fabric of all systems along with the institutions of this nation. The history of Black America both past and present is not celebratory but in contrast a series of events and triumphs that occur in reaction to often heinous circumstances and/or conditions. There has never been a moment in the history of America where white life did not matter. But it is clear unspoken reality that Black Lives have never mattered to the American People.