The August break hasn’t been a vacation for the congresswoman who represents most of the Albuquerque area.
U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland hosted town halls in Meadow Lake and Moriarty over the last couple of weeks. That’s in addition to speaking at the Freedom and Justice Conference at the University of New Mexico, at climate and energy conferences, and participating in an affordable housing roundtable and an artist presentation.
“I always want to be accessible to every community, and it was important for me to get out into this corner of our district,” the first-term Democrat said after her town hall in Valencia County. “Meadow Lake has very specific challenges that many rural communities face. I’ll be using the feedback from this town hall to ensure communities like Meadow Lake get the resources they need to improve public safety, continue to have access services that help families living in poverty, and see a doctor when they are sick.”
Haaland’s office said constituents asked questions about protecting the Affordable Care Act, increasing funding for rural sheriff’s offices, immigration raids that separate children from their parents, and gun violence. Several constituents also raised issues that they are experiencing with their health care, and Haaland highlighted the services her district office has available to help navigate the red tape.
At the meeting in Moriarty, Haaland discussed her first 200 days in office and the Farmers Bill of Rights legislation she’s drafting.
At the Freedom and Justice Conference, Haaland talked about the challenges minorities have faced historically in the U.S., including those in Indian County.
“We’re facing a crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, often mothers whose children suffer that loss more than anyone,” she said. “Our communities face health disparities … and there are places in Indian Country that don’t have running water, electricity or needless to say, broadband internet service.”
Haaland discussed legislation she is sponsoring to help Native American communities. She said many of the hardships faced in Indian Country can be traced back “to the federal government’s failure to live up to its trust responsibilities.”
HEINRICH UP FOR ADDRESSING GUN SAFETY: U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., posted on Twitter that he wouldn’t mind the Senate’s recess being cut short if it meant addressing gun safety issues in the aftermath of the El Paso, Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, Calif., shootings.
“I’ll get on a plane back to Washington in a heartbeat if Senator Mitch McConnell (the majority leader) is willing to put any bill on the floor to address this issue,” he posted.
He said he was a hunter “who believes in protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners.”
“I am a father of two young boys who believes there needs to be changes in our gun laws,” the senator posted.
NMSU GETS WEATHER RESEARCH GRANT: Heinrich and Democratic colleagues U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small announced New Mexico State University’s Department of Astronomy was awarded a $1.5 million grant by the National Science Foundation to hire a space scientist to work on physics of sun and space weather. This funding was awarded through a program called “Faculty Development in the Space Sciences” from the NSF Directorate for Geosciences, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences.
This award funding provides universities the support and incentive needed to create new faculty positions in the space sciences.
“This funding will support NMSU’s status as a premier space research hub, and will fund critical research that helps us better understand the way space weather affects our communications, navigation, and energy production on Earth,” Udall said.
Heinrich said NMSU’s Dunn Solar Telescope “has a 50-year history of providing scientists with a greater understanding of solar physics and space weather.”
“I’m proud of the work New Mexico State University has done to find new scientific and research opportunities at Sunspot,” he said.
Torres Small said it was “no small feat that the National Science Foundation selected NMSU-Las Cruces for this important project to grow their Astronomy Department and expand our knowledge of sun and space weather.”
Scott Turner: email@example.com