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.