It’s a steep hill to climb for women running for state office

Kim Olson, the Democratic candidate for Texas agriculture commissioner, has been driving across the Lone Star State for the past year, spreading the message about the importance of farming and handing out wildflower seeds. “Some candidates have push cards or business cards, I don’t have any of that. I just have my seed packet and it has all my information printed on it,” said Olson, a farmer, Iraqi war veteran and retired Air Force colonel from the small city of Mineral Wells about 80 miles west of Dallas. “They are Texas native wildflowers, because I’m a beekeeper and my tag line is ‘Wild for agriculture.’”

This article is reprinted with permission from the Center for Public Integrity.Olson, 60, is part of a women’s movement that in the past year has harnessed the power of female protesters angered by the 2016 presidential election and transformed it into political ambition up and down ballots nationwide. Already nearly 500 women have shown interest in running for Congress in this year’s midterm elections, twice as many as compared with the same time in 2016, according to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.

Countless archaeological sites at risk in Trump oil and gas auction

SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah – A steep rock ledge, known locally as Ruin Point, stands sentinel over public lands rich with Native American antiquities preserved from the sands of time. More than 700 years ago, ancestral Puebloans incised images of mountain sheep into sandstone faces now visible from dusty roads carved into canyons. Pieces of red and black-on-white pottery are scattered about snowy mesas, along with ancient corncobs and stone tools. Cliff houses wedged into crevices hide in plain sight, the blocks and mortar used to craft them blending seamlessly into steep stone walls. Now, the 13,000-year-old historical record of Native Americans who inhabited the outskirts of two national monuments near the Colorado-Utah border is facing an unprecedented threat.

How one influential NM powerbroker might have escaped a drunken driving charge

Just after midnight on May 20, Albuquerque Police Officer Joshua Montaño saw a luxury sedan veer into a turn bay blocked off by bright orange traffic barrels before it pulled back over a solid divider line onto an Interstate 25 frontage road. Montaño flipped on his emergency police lights and the 2004 Infiniti stopped in the parking lot of the Marriott Pyramid, a high-end hotel in Northeast Albuquerque. A veteran DWI cop who has conducted hundreds of drunken driving investigations, Montaño approached the vehicle on foot. He was armed with a slew of additional information gleaned from a police service aide and a concerned citizen: The Infiniti’s driver had swerved numerous times traveling northbound from downtown Albuquerque, he’d delayed proceeding through a green light by 10 seconds, he’d driven 10 mph under the posted speed limit, and he’d done it all with his headlights turned off. In the driver’s seat of the car was Ryan Flynn, 39, Gov. Susana Martinez’ former cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department, who left that job in 2016 to become executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.

Sine die: Bipartisanship was buzzword but not everything was kumbaya

The final legislative session of Gov. Susana Martinez’s tenure passed into history Thursday. What a difference a few months makes. Last May, state lawmakers were in crisis dealing with a yawning budget gap and no money for the state’s universities and colleges or the Legislature after Martinez vetoed that money. A special session restored funding to those two areas. But state lawmakers were testy with one another and the governor.

‘Nothing ever dies’ at the Roundhouse, except maybe transparency

Gov. Susana Martinez wants each state lawmaker to disclose how much he or she spends on projects around the state. Making their emails public would be nice, too. However, the governor isn’t keen on sharing information about legal settlements the state negotiates. As for state lawmakers, they aren’t rushing to support calls from Martinez or some of their colleagues to shine more light on how the Legislature works. Legislation that would help New Mexicans better understand New Mexico state government is going nowhere fast in the legislative session that ends Thursday, a review by New Mexico In Depth has found.

Language preservation focus of 2018 American Indian Day

Slideshow by Anthony Jackson
Native Americans from across the state gathered at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe on Friday to celebrate their cultures and languages during American Indian Day. New Mexico has 23 federally recognized tribes and there are 25 dialects of eight indegenous languages spoken in the state. Native Americans make up 10 percent of the state’s population. The governor of Santa Clara Pueblo, J. Michael Chavarria, opened the day with prayer and a few special guests — children from Zuni Pueblo and their teacher — drove over 200 miles to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in both English and Zuni. The Head Start program the children participate in has a language immersion program where the they can learn Zuni, their Native language.

Efforts look to support children and teen sexual assault survivors

The trauma Abrianna Morales, 16, experienced from sexual assault last year was compounded by isolation she felt during her recovery . There was no resource group or program specifically directed toward teens and youth. “I felt very alone, very isolated, having to deal with the ptsd, the trauma, all by myself,” Morales said. “I was sitting one day watching television and the character had to report a sexual assault, and it occurred to me, I didn’t know how to report a sexual assault.”

With the help of her parents she properly reported her case, but realized that not all young people who’ve been sexually assaulted have support from their parents. So she decided to do something about it.

Legislators strike middle path between Martinez, Judiciary with crime bill

An early showdown of the 30-day legislative session in Santa Fe spotlighted the competing narratives over one of the state’s most pressing issues: a precipitous rise in crime in Albuquerque and other New Mexico cities. New Mexico has risen to the top of national lists marking property and violent crime rates in American cities. Crime is up. It’s a painful fact, one that has found no disagreement among lawmakers, judges and Gov. Susana Martinez. But how to solve it?