A trail marker on the Lincoln National Forest in August 2023.

Stansbury legislation aims to promote outdoor economy 

New Mexico is a state known for its expansive outdoor landscape that campers, hikers and daytrippers alike visit from across the country. U S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat from New Mexico, introduced the Rural Outdoor Investment Act along with Democratic Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado and Chuck Schumer of New York. “New Mexico is a powerhouse in the outdoor economy, with our beautiful and wild landscapes and thriving local economies, which is why I am proud to introduce the Rural Outdoor Investment Act with Senator Bennet,” Stansbury said in a press release. “The outdoor economy brings billions of dollars to New Mexico every year and employs over 35,000 people across the state. New Mexico is proof that investments in our outdoor economies help revitalize and create opportunity in our rural communities.

National defense bill gets mixed votes from NM delegation over anti-abortion, anti-trans, anti-diversity provisions

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a military funding bill that contains anti-abortion, anti-trans and anti-diversity training provisions. The House voted last week on the National Defense Authorization Act mostly down party lines, with only four Democrats voting for it and four Republicans voting against it with a final vote of 219-210. U.S. House of Representatives Gabe Vasquez, representing New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, was one of the four Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. The bill outlines spending priorities for the military, appropriating $875.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2024. It includes compensation and benefits for members of the military and multiyear procurement of weapons systems.

New Mexico’s other two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Melanie Stansbury of the 1st Congressional District, and Teresa Leger Fernández of the 3rd Congressional District, also Democrats, voted against the bill.

Stansbury addresses what she calls misinformation about the BLM’s conservation leasing proposal

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat representing New Mexico, accused Republican members of the House of Representatives of trying to mislead the American public on Thursday during a House Committee on Natural Resources meeting focused on a proposed public lands rule that would allow for conservation leasing on Bureau of Land Management lands. “I find it very upsetting, Mr. Chairman, when I see the resources of this body of Congress, the people’s House, being used to put forward narratives and misinformation that, in my mind, is intended to scare the American people,” she said. “Because it’s just simply not true and much of what I’ve heard here today is just not true. This is really about balancing the needs of our public lands.”

U.S. Rep. John Curtis, a Republican from Utah, has introduced legislation that would require the BLM to withdraw its proposed rule that aims to set up a conservation leasing program. “The BLM’s proposed rule would undermine the livelihoods of Utah’s farmers, ranchers, recreation businesses, and more,” he said in a press release in May after introducing the legislation.

Debt crisis averted: NM delegation responds to debt ceiling deal

The debt ceiling saga neared its end this week after both the U.S. House and Senate approved a deal to raise the debt limit, with provisions. The U.S. The Senate voted Thursday night 63-36  to pass a bipartisan bill reflecting a deal made between President Joe Biden and House Republican leadership. The U.S. The House of Representatives voted 314-117 to approve the deal on Wednesday. The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 suspends the federal debt limit through January 1, 2025 and adds new discretionary spending limits for FY24 and FY25. Members of the New Mexico congressional delegation released statements about the bill and their votes.

Two separate court rulings throws the future of abortion medication into uncertainty

Two conflicting rulings on Friday leave the future use of the abortion medication mifepristone uncertain, though because of one of the rulings, it could remain legal in New Mexico. There are two rulings in separate states that conflict with one another on the use of the abortion medication mifepristone and the judicial decisions both order the U.S. Federal Drug Administration to act differently with regard to the drug. The ruling made by a Texas federal district judge could force the FDA to remove mifepristone off the market after a seven-day injunction period. But, a ruling also made by a Washington state federal district judge could mean that in 17 states, including New Mexico, the drug would continue to be legally available. But, with two different rulings provided by two different judges that are in direct conflict with each other, there is considerable uncertainty as to the future of abortion medication, reproductive rights advocates said during a national press conference on Monday.

Screenshot of U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan addressing the New Mexico Legislature on Feb. 21, 2022.

Lujàn and Stansbury address the Legislature

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, both Democrats, spoke to state legislators during a joint legislative session Tuesday. Luján spoke about bipartisan legislative efforts at the federal level, his recovery from a stroke he suffered last year and what legislating means to him. “That’s what this body is, incredible leaders from all over New Mexico, every small town, village, big town and big city,” Luján said. “A big part of what we do together is navigating those challenges when it comes to constituent casework one at a time. One person at a time, one family at a time.

"Vote Here" signs in front of the Otero County Administration Building on New York Avenue in Alamogordo.

2022 Top Stories #4: Democrats sweep congressional races

Note: Every year, we count down the top ten stories of the year, as voted on by NM Political Report staffers. See our entire countdown of 2022 top stories, to date, here. A Blue Wave came to New Mexico in November with Democrats winning all three federal congressional seats for the third time since 1982 when New Mexico was granted a third congressional district. 1st Congressional District incumbent Democrat Melanie Ann Stansbury easily won reelection against Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes and Independent write-candidate Victoria L. Gonzales. Stansbury won 56 percent of the vote while Garcia Holmes won 44 percent and Gonzales received less than 1 percent with 58 votes in her favor.

Respect for Marriage Act passes Congress: What it means for New Mexicans

The U.S. House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that protects same sex and interracial marriage, on Thursday. The bill previously passed the U.S. Senate. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it. He has expressed his support, saying “love is love,” in a previous statement. The U.S. Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support, with 61 to 36 votes last week when 12 Republicans joined Democrats in voting for its passage.

Assistant House Speaker stumps for Stansbury over reproductive rights

U.S. House of Representatives Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat who represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, held a rally with Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, from Massachusetts on Thursday. The rally, which took place at an office building on the east side of Albuquerque, was part of an effort to whip up voter support in New Mexico. 

It was the second visit to Albuquerque by a high profile Democrat this week. On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris held a talk about reproductive rights with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another Democrat who is up for reelection in November. Stansbury made connections between being what she called a “pro-choice” candidate with also believing in science and democracy. Stansbury did not refer to her Republican opponent by name, but she is facing a challenge from Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes.

VP Harris visits NM to talk reproductive rights

Vice President Kamala Harris said during an event in New Mexico on Tuesday that the fight around reproductive rights in the United States will affect women all over the world. Harris stopped in Albuquerque to talk with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and University of New Mexico Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family Planning Fellowship Director Dr. Eve Espey about protecting reproductive rights. The moderated discussion took place in front of a packed house of about 250 people at the University of New Mexico’s Keller Hall in the Center for the Arts and Arts Museum. Harris said people around the world watch what is happening politically in the U.S. She said former German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaned over during a conversation about Russia and China and asked Harris about what is happening with voting rights in the U.S.

“My fear on this issue is that dictators around the world will say to their people who are fighting for rights, ‘you want to hold out America as the example?’ Look at what they just did; be quiet,’” she said. “I highlight the significance of this moment and the impact, which not only directly impacts the people of our nation but very likely impacts people around the world.”

 Harris highlighted her mother’s career, saying that her mother was one of the very few women of color researching breast cancer in her era.