Warning: U.S. might be subjected to ‘petticoat rule’ – a celebration of women’s right to vote

The city of Albuquerque’s 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage special on Wednesday was both a celebration of the 19th amendment and a reminder of the darker moments behind voting rights. A bevy of women speakers, from political leaders like Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to young women pledging to vote for the first time this year, talked about the importance of voting and frequently referred to it as a way to make their voices heard. Many also spoke about the struggle for women of color to gain the right to vote even after the passage of the 19th amendment. Social justice advocate Pamelya Herndon, executive director and founder of KWH Social Justice Law Center and Change, brought up the education requirements that some Black voters faced for a century in some states after the Civil War ended as just one impediment. Herndon said the historical social justice leader and “leading male feminist of his time,” W.E.B. Du Bois said that “in order for the Black race to be lifted, every single Black person must have the right to vote.”

The women’s suffrage movement distanced itself from the concept of Black women having the right to vote in the early years of the effort because the suffragettes didn’t want to alienate the white Southern women involved in the cause, according to historians.

In rural NM, Postal Service woes started long before 2020

Santa Fe — Before the federal Postmaster General Louis DeJoy suspended his short-lived and highly controversial policy changes, the slowdowns it caused had already trickled into rural New Mexico. 

Fernando Rodriguez, a window clerk at the Roswell post office, said mail that was usually processed in a day or two would take most of the workweek. Earlier this week, he said federal authorities were already trying to make cuts at his facility. 

“They’re trying to shut down some of the machines,” said Rodriguez, president of the statewide union for rural and small-city postal workers. “Those machines cost millions of dollars, why not use them to the best of their abilities?’’

However, the Trump administration’s latest attacks on the Postal Service are just part of the issue in New Mexico. Rural post offices have faced cutbacks for years that have led to inadequate staffing and slow mail turnaround times. “It’s really an attack on rural America,” said Roxanne Heckman, a maintenance worker and vice president for the New Mexico postal worker union.

Leaders from NM participate in Emily’s List virtual conference

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small spoke during the political action committee Emily’s List virtual conference this week, highlighting women’s accomplishments in politics. Lujan Grisham took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s “refusal to do the bare minimum,” during the pandemic as she highlighted the accomplishment’s women have made, particularly during the public health emergency. She cited governors Gretchen Whitmer, of Michigan, and Gina Raimondo, of Rhode Island, in particular, for their leadership during the pandemic and called New Mexico “a leader in electing women.”

“Almost a third of women of color who have ever served in any statewide executive office are from New Mexico,” she said in an online speech. “We have the opportunity this fall to send an all women of color House delegation to Washington, D.C. and we have the momentum on our side.”

Lujan Grisham was referring to Democratic candidates Teresa Leger Fernandez, who is running for the 3rd Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Torres Small, the incumbent Democratic candidate running to keep her seat for the state’s 2nd Congressional District and U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, another incumbent Democrat running to keep her seat for the 1st Congressional District. Torres Small spoke briefly about some of the difficulties of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico during the pandemic and how COVID-19 exposed inequities that have “existed since the birth of our nation.”

She cited the lack of water and lack of adequate living situations in the Navajo Nation as having contributed to the spread of the disease in the Navajo Nation.

Herrell wins GOP primary, will face Torres Small again for CD2 seat in general election

A three-way race in the Republican primary for the state’s 2nd Congressional District ended with former state representative Yvette Herrell winning the Republican nod. 

The Associated Press called the race for Herrell at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. Herrell had garnered 45.58 percent of the vote at the time.  

The primary campaign was dominated by attacks between Herrell and oil and gas lobbyist Claire Chase. Chase came under fire in the early days of the campaign for social media posts made in 2015 and 2016 that were critical of President Donald Trump. Chase has since praised Trump for his “fearless leadership.” 

Related: Progressive Democrats defeat incumbents, with some races still pending

Chase took more vots in Chaves and Eddy counties, but fell behind Herrell in Doña Ana County and Lea County. Chase garnered 31.62 percent of the vote as of 2 a.m. Wednesday to Herrell’s 44.77 percent.

‘The genie is out of the bottle’: Rural healthcare providers see silver lining to pandemic

“It’s a sea change.”

That’s how Sylvia Villarreal, CEO and owner of Taos Clinic for Youth, described telemedicine and its place in rural healthcare. Villarreal has offered limited telehealth services, also referred to as telemedicine, to patients for about eight years. 

Telehealth refers to healthcare services that are administered remotely between patient and doctor, typically over video using a broadband connection. In theory, telehealth could significantly expand access to healthcare in rural communities. But implementing telehealth across the U.S. has proved challenging for a number of reasons — insurance coverage and reimbursement being one of the larger roadblocks to adoption for providers. After a recent push at the federal level to expand telehealth service reimbursements for Medicaid and Medicare patients in response to COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges to adoption has suddenly been removed.

Torres Small responds to Ocasio-Cortez’s oil and gas price drop comments

U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a Democrat in New Mexico’s highly conservative southern New Mexico district, rebuked a progressive colleague for cheering the recent dramatic drop in oil and gas prices. Torres Small represents a heavily conservative district that includes the state’s portion of the Permian Basin, one of the most oil-rich areas in the world. “A champion for the working class should be a champion for all workers,” Torres Small said on Tuesday, in response to tweets from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez of New York, like Torres Small a freshman Democrat, is a prominent progressive and the most prominent rising star of the left wing of the party. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “You absolutely love to see it,” a Twitter meme, in reply to the unprecedented drop in oil and gas futures on Monday that saw prices drop to negative for the first time in history.

In historic vote, House impeaches Trump for abuse of power, obstruction of Congress

The U.S. House voted to approve two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Wednesday night. 

The House voted 230-197, with one voting present, on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power. That alleged that Trump used his powers as President to try to punish Joe Biden, a political opponent. The House voted 229-198, with one voting present, on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress. That article alleged that Trump improperly impeded the investigation in a number of ways, including directing current and former officials to not comply with subpoenas from House committees. It’s just the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Torres Small: Impeachment ‘the necessary response’ to Trump’s actions

U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small announced this weekend that she will vote to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump this week. The freshman Democrat said in a statement that she believes “impeachment is the necessary response to President Trump’s use of the Executive Office of the President for his own personal and political gain.”

Torres Small won election in a very narrow race in a conservative district that Trump won in 2016. Torres Small was one of the moderate and conservative Democrats who won congressional elections in 2018 as part of a Democratic wave. The articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week charge Trump with abuse of power for his conduct in asking Ukraine to help his political campaign by investigating Joe Biden’s son.

Pelosi announces House will move forward with articles of impeachment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the U.S. House of Representatives would start drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his withholding of foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating the son of a political rival. The announcement came after an investigation by the House, which began in late September. At the end of October, all three of New Mexico’s members of the House, all Democrats, voted to support the impeachment inquiry. The investigations included closed door meetings by House committees and more recently public hearings of the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. Ben Ray Luján, the Assistant Speaker in the U.S. House of Representatives, supported the announcement.

Members of NM House delegation vote to back impeachment investigation

House Democrats, including all members of New Mexico’s delegation, voted Thursday to approve rules related to the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The 232-196 vote was nearly on party lines, with ex-Republican, now independent Justin Amash voting along with the Democratic majority and two Democrats voting with Republicans against the rules. The vote outlined rules for the next phase of the impeachment proceedings, which has so far consisted of closed-door meetings with witnesses. At the same time, the House has been pushing for documents from Trump and testimony from those close to Trump. Republicans have criticized the process, saying it is not transparent.