When President Trump issued a directive for his Secretary of the Interior to “review” some 27 national monuments across the American West, a significant part of that process was the public comment reviews. Literally millions of people wrote in their comments to support their love of national monuments, none more fervently than New Mexicans. No, really, more New Mexicans wrote comments per capita than any other single state. The Land of Enchantment really stepped up to the plate to defend our protected public lands. Today, Sec.
Over 500 New Mexicans rallied around the Capital in support of Public Lands on Wednesday, brought together by the threats of Trump administration supporters who are calling for federal lands to be sold off to the highest bidder.
The overwhelming response from those in attendance and the legislators who spoke in the rotunda: Not in New Mexico.
In August, Republican Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced his plan to ask the federal government to turn over “upwards of 6.5 millions acres” of “unleased federal subsurface mineral acreage” (ie, federal public lands) and federal mining leases to him. “Any and all unleased land… would then be leased out by the State Land Office” for new oil and gas permits, Dunn said. At the time, he had a big problem: a Democratic president who favors more public lands. But with Donald Trump in the White House, Tea Party leaders in Congress see a new opportunity to transfer our public lands to private hands – and apparently so does Aubrey Dunn.
Santa Fe – New State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn barely had time to change the curtains in his new office before he was hit with an ethics complaint accusing him of giving a public contract to a local official who tried to put Dunn’s son on the county payroll. From the Santa Fe New Mexican:
“I believe there was a conflict of interest. This is about ethics.” – William Wheatley, Otero County
The complaint stems from two contracts, a short-term contract with the State Land Office benefiting Rardin and a proposed Otero County contract that would benefit Blair Dunn. It may also stem from bad blood between Otero County officials. Rardin was one of five people who signed short-term professional services contracts Jan.
Republicans and Democrats are raising record dollars in races both see as key to the control of the House of Representatives in 2015. For the first primary reporting period, Democrats raised $491,265 over the Republicans’ $428,359. Statewide, only about 10 house seats are competitive enough to influence party control of the state’s lower chamber. That leaves most legislators busy connecting with voters about local issues or defending their seat from primary challenges. Democrat State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard outperformed two Republicans bringing in an impressive $33,000 this period.
2014 is a big election year in New Mexico. In addition to US Senate, Congress candidates are lining up for ballot space in every statewide office, every state house seat and a few judicial seats. The New Mexico Republican Party posted this list of candidates for offices in a recent post. We’ll post a full list of Democratic candidates as they are posted.
U.S. Congress – District 1