The White House celebrated the increase of income growth and health insurance coverage along with a decrease of poverty in New Mexico between 2014 and 2015. “New Mexico has added jobs consistently and brought its unemployment rate down, though it’s still a little higher than the national average,” White House Council of Economic Advisers chairman Jason Furman said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. While New Mexico remains one of the poorest states in the nation, the new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that things are trending upwards in these key indicators. Still, the growth in these areas was smaller than in other states. The median household income grew by 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015 in the United States as a whole from $53,718 to $56,516 according to the Census Bureau numbers.
President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to New Mexico just got a little more detailed. He and his family are scheduled arrive Friday 1:20 pm on Air Force One at Roswell’s airport. Then, they’ll take a drive to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, where they’ll spend the next few hours and quickly circle back. Air Force One is scheduled to leave Roswell at 5:50 pm. The trip is a part of a celebration of 100 years of the U.S. National Parks Service.
Senator Martin Heinrich was at the White House’s Astronomy Night with his wife and son when he ran into a celebrity of sorts. Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 year old boy who was arrested after building a clock and bringing it to school, finally got his promised chance to meet President Barack Obama. He also met others, including Heinrich and his son, as shown by an image that showed up on Heinrich’s social media pages, including Twitter and Instagram. New Mexico Political Report reached out to a spokeswoman, who said that the Senator, his wife Julie and younger son Micah happened to be in line at the same time as Mohamed. “He was excited to learn there is an engineer in the Senate,” the spokeswoman wrote.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez was far away from his home in Valencia County or even the Roundhouse in Santa Fe on Wednesday. The Democrat from Belen took part in the “Summit on Worker Voice” at the White House. The New York Times described the gathering as “an effort to give unions, organizers and some businesses a platform to discuss wages and other issues.”
President Barack Obama spoke at the summit and said that when unions are attacked, the middle class is attacked. He also spoke about income inequality. “America works when we are building a broad-based middle class and there are ladders of opportunity that everybody can reach,” Obama said according to a White House transcript.
New Mexicans were among the thousands to see Pope Francis’ historic visit to Washington D.C. today. The Pope will address Congress on Thursday, but the New Mexico delegation was on hand on Wednesday with guests to see the Pope speak on the White House South Lawn. The Pope addressed climate change, saying it is “a critical moment in history” to address the problem, and referred to himself as “the son of an immigrant family.” Both play into recent American politics, as one might expect from a speech in Washington D.C., but also to common themes of Pope Francis’ time in charge of the Catholic Church. Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to Washington D.C. to see the Pope speak.
The Pentagon is considering ending a ban on transgender people from serving in the armed forces. The White House has pushed for an end to the ban, the latest in a move to open the military to more who wish to serve. In 2011, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the policy that forbid openly gay members of the military. New Mexico Political Report spoke to Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TGRCNM) executive director and co-founder Adrien Lawyer earlier this year about issues in the transgender community. New Mexico Political Report again reached out to Lawyer, this time about the Pentagon push for acceptance of transgender members.
A Las Cruces man behind bars for marijuana possession is among the 46 people whose prison sentences President Obama commuted today. In 2004, John M. Wyatt was convicted with possessing and attempting to distribute more than 220 pounds of marijuana in southern Illinois. His sentence netted him nearly 22 years in prison plus an extra eight years on supervised release. Wyatt, 54, is serving his sentence at a low security Federal Correctional Institution in La Tuna, Texas. He was set to be released in November 2021 until Obama’s commute.