Corruption Case Heads To Trial, Officer Says He Was Disciplined For His Beliefs

Oct 24, 2017

New Mexico Political Corruption Case Heads To Trial – The Associated Press

A former New Mexico state senator goes on trial next week on corruption charges in a high-stakes showdown with state prosecutors. The case comes to a head as voters consider creating an independent state ethics commission to shore up oversight of elected officials.

Phil Griego, a Democrat, is accused of using his former position as a lawmaker and his work as a real estate broker to profit from the sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe.

Griego, 69, is charged with eight criminal counts including bribery, fraud and perjury.

He has said he broke no laws while earning $50,000 commission from owners of an upscale inn that bought the building located a block from the state Capitol.

Griego's attorney, Thomas Clark, has said evidence and testimony will show Griego never voted in 2014 on the sale as a lawmaker and was not promised a commission until after the Legislature adjourned.

Air Force Officer Says He Was Disciplined For His BeliefsThe Associated Press

An Air Force colonel said he was wrongly disciplined after refusing to sign a certificate of appreciation to the same-sex spouse of a retiring master sergeant.

Leland Bohannon, who cited his religious beliefs for not signing the document, was relieved of his command at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. 

The First Liberty Institute, a religious liberties group, is representing Bohannon. The group is demanding that the complaint against him be reversed and that related materials are removed from his service record.

Air Force officials said they are aware of the issue, and it's moving through the proper channels.

APD Reforms Available Online Now- The Associated Press

Residents will now have access to updates on court-mandated Albuquerque police reforms through a new website that will feature progress and milestones that the department makes.

The website, apdreform.com, will report department changes and results of those efforts as police continue with an overhaul of practices required after a Department of Justice investigation found the department had a pattern and practice of excessive force.

That investigation came as Albuquerque police were involved in a high number of officer shootings.

APD Chief Gorden E. Eden said it's important to be transparent and for the public to know how the department is changing.

The settlement was reached after a Department of Justice investigation found Albuquerque police had a pattern and practice of excessive force, which included numerous police shootings.

Los Alamos Lab Workers Contaminated By Radioactive MaterialThe Associated Press

Workers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory were contaminated after radioactive particles were released into the air inside the lab's plutonium facility.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the lab accident last month was the second time in four weeks that the same crew was exposed to radioactive material. The clothes of three workers were contaminated as was the skin on one of them.

Lab spokesman Matt Nerzig says the three workers did not receive a measurable dose, and the public was not in danger. He says the worker with the skin contamination "was successfully and thoroughly decontaminated — mostly by washing off the contamination with water."

A report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board states the workers were wearing protective clothing and air purifying respirators.

UNM Boss Says John McCain Could Get New Cancer Treatment- The Associated Press & The Albuquerque Journal

The CEO of the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center says Sen. John McCain could have his brain cancer treated through clinical trials there if the Arizona Republican's treatment isn't effective.

The Albuquerque Journal reports CEO Dr. Cheryl Willman told an Albuquerque business group Wednesday about the possibility of McCain receiving treatments at the facility.

McCain spokeswoman Julie Tarallo said Thursday the senator has no new announcement about his treatment and is getting excellent care at the National Institutes of Health. He previously was treated at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

Researchers say trials underway at the Albuquerque cancer center could offer a new tool for fighting a deadly form of brain cancer too often immune to conventional treatments, such as radiation therapy.

The first human trials have shown promise in attacking glioblastomas, or solid brain tumors — the type of brain cancer McCain is battling.

New Mexico City, Airline Work To Keep Flights Going- The Associated Press & The Daily Times

Great Lakes Airlines is preparing to end flights to and from one northwestern New Mexico community due to a lack of pilots.

Still, the airline and the city of Farmington have been discussing ways to keep commercial flights at the Four Corners Regional Airport.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports the city has hired a consulting firm to help attract new airlines and to study what types of planes can operate on the airport's short runways.

The city has also applied for a grant that could help pay for marketing and subsidizing the startup costs for a commercial air service.

Airport manager Mike Lewis says aside from railroad or interstate access, an airport is key for a community's economic success.

Great Lakes is planning to transfer its resources in Farmington to California where there are more pilots available.

Collection Of Former Latina Ambassador To Be Digitized- The Associated Press

The National Hispanic Cultural Center will be digitizing more than 2,600 images from the collection of Mari-Luci Jaramillo, a national advocate for civil rights and the United States' first Latina ambassador to Honduras.

The center made the announcement Thursday, saying it received funding for the project from the state of New Mexico and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Officials say the Jaramillo collection provides an unparalleled look at life dedicated to and distinguished by service to community.

Once the project is complete next summer, the images will be accessible for research and study through the New Mexico Digital Collections portal.

Jaramillo was a leader of education reform in New Mexico. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico and was nominated for the post in Honduras by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

New Mexico Delegation Seeks More Funding For Opioid FightThe Associated Press

Democratic members of New Mexico's congressional delegation say they're disappointed no new funding comes with President Donald Trump's declaration of the opioid crisis as a nationwide public health emergency.

Thursday's declaration allows the government to redirect resources and part of that includes expanded access to medical services in rural areas.

Sen. Tom Udall said if the Trump administration is serious about saving lives, it needs to actively seek major new funding through congressional budget negotiations before the end of the year.

Attorney General Hector Balderas says the federal government also needs to do more to target the pipeline of drugs that has flooded New Mexico and other states.

In September, Balderas sued some of the nation's largest opioid manufacturers and wholesale distributors, accusing them of downplaying addiction risks and failing to monitor suspect prescriptions.

Report: Drug Courts Cost Less Than 'Business As Usual'The Associated Press

Analysts reported today that specialized courts that hear the cases of adult defendants with drug abuse and addiction issues are a less expensive alternative to incarceration.

Their findings were presented to the Legislative Finance Committee.

The report comes as lawmakers grapple with rising crime rates and an overburdened court system. Officials have pointed to New Mexico having the second-highest rate of property crime in the nation last year.

The report cites the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, saying 50 percent of the jail and prison population in the U.S. is clinically addicted to drugs.

For juvenile defendants, the report indicates that there are no cost benefits given that drug court programs for younger offenders are typically more resource intensive. 

New Mexico AG Investigates Claims Against HomebuilderThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has opened an investigation into the nation's largest homebuilder after receiving complaints that it may not be honoring home warranties.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports complaints have been made about Pulte Group by a small group of homeowners who called the consumer division of the Attorney General's Office.

Balderas says he has asked for Pulte's cooperation to resolve the more serious issues. Among them are not refunding an earnest money deposit when a buyer lost his job and complaints over cracked tile, concrete and grout.

A Pulte spokeswoman says the company has "launched our own analysis to ensure we fully understand the underlying issues which prompted involvement from the New Mexico AG's office. Pulte remains committed to working cooperatively with the AG's office."

Judge Rejects Challenge To Part Of Jaguar Recovery PlanThe Associated Press

A federal judge has rejected a challenge to the federal designation of parts of New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for the endangered jaguar.

Judge Kenneth Gonzales' order Wednesday rejects farming and ranching groups' arguments that the Fish and Wildlife Service's inclusion of 181 square miles (469 sq. kilometers) in New Mexico's Hidalgo County and Arizona's Cochise County was arbitrary and capricious.

The challenged areas were part of nearly 1,200 square miles (3108 sq. kilometers) designated in 2014 as essential for the conservation of the jaguar.

Jaguars are found in countries stretching from the United States to South America, but there are few sightings in the U.S.

Parts of the U.S. Southwest were home to jaguars before habitat loss and predator control programs aimed at protecting livestock eliminated them.

Judge Orders School District To Reinstate 3 Ousted EmployeesThe Associated Press

A judge ruled that a northern New Mexico school district must reinstate three employees who were fired without cause more than a year ago.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the former superintendent of the Mora Independent School District ousted a teacher and two counselors without specifying reasons why, prompting the American Federation of Teachers to later sue.

The lawsuit came after the district refused to rehire the employees when an arbitrator ruled the district to reinstate them in April.

The judge's ruling on Tuesday orders the district to give the employees full back pay and benefits and to maintain their district seniority ranking. The judge also gave the union the option to petition the court to have the district cover all legal fees in the case.

New Mexico Moves To Defuse Outrage Over Science Standards- The Associated Press

New Mexico's public education secretary said the state will adopt widely used school science standards in their entirety in response public to outrage over proposed changes that omitted references to global warming, evolution and the Earth's age.

In an interview Wednesday night, Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said a final version of the New Mexico standards would replicate Next Generation Science Standards developed by a consortium of states, with a half-dozen added passages tied to local accomplishments in science and industry.

An earlier proposal contained about 35 New Mexico-related passages — detracting from the core mission of science education in the eyes of many critics.

A public hearing on the earlier version of standards drew scores of impassioned pleas for the state to reconsider and adopt an unedited template. The critics included leading scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, science teachers associations, faith leaders, as well as teachers and administrators from several New Mexico school districts.

Navajo Nation Lawmaker Implores Trump To Protect Monuments- The Associated Press

In a television advertisement airing Thursday, a Navajo Nation lawmaker implores President Donald Trump to protect national monuments.

The 30-second ad shows Davis Filfred walking in Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. The footage features an expansive landscape with cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, mesas and the sun sitting on the horizon.

Bears Ears has been targeted for reduction by the Trump administration, but it's unclear by how much.

As the ad wraps up, Filfred says: "Mr. President. Not all monuments divide us. Some bring us together."

Filfred tells The Associated Press the ad is his way of trying to get attention from officials he says haven't listened to tribal concerns.

The $150,000 ad is airing in the Washington, D.C., market. It's paid for by the National Wildlife Federation.

New License Plate To Feature New Mexico State Fish- The Associated Press

New Mexico drivers can now get a license plate featuring the state's official fish — the Rio Grande cutthroat trout.

A portion of the initial $27 fee for the plate and nearly all of the $12 annual renewal fee will go to the state's Share with Wildlife program, which helps pay for research, habitat improvements, rehabilitation programs and education around New Mexico.

Aside from the wildlife license plates, the program gets much of its funding through a state income tax check-off program.

The Rio Grande cutthroat trout was once found from southern Colorado into New Mexico. But its numbers are now limited to roughly 10 percent of its historic range. Environmentalists have sued and are seeking to have the fish added to the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

New Mexico NFL Store May Close, Owner Blaming Protests- The Associated Press & The Albuquerque Journal

A chain of central New Mexico stores that sells NFL-licensed gear says it's seeing a big drop in sales. Its owner is blaming the national anthem protests.

The Albuquerque Journal reports co-owner Andy Hageman said Tuesday his business, House of Football, has seen a 50 percent drop in its sales of NFL-licensed gear so far this month compared with the same month last year.

If trends continue, Hageman says the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho stores will be forced to close by Christmas.

Last year, the stores saw revenues drop because of internet sales after the NFL ruled only the league could sell NFL products online.

Recently, House of Football's social media sites have been hit with angry posts about the protests.

Former Charter School Founder Pleads Guilty In Fraud Case- The Associated Press

Federal prosecutors say a former school administrator has pleaded guilty to fraud, theft and other charges stemming from schemes to defraud millions of dollars from the public charter schools he founded.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico announced the plea of 50-year-old David Scott Glasrud on Wednesday.

Glasrud will be required to pay restitution and he could face at least four years in prison under an agreement reached with prosecutors. He has yet to be sentenced.

As head administrator for the Southwest Learning Center Schools in Albuquerque, Glasrud admitted to devising various schemes to defraud the schools.

Prosecutors say at one point he used $199,000 to pay down his personal line of credit, while $50,000 was transferred into his personal bank account. Another $4,000 was spent at a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lawyers Trim Jury Pool In Former Senator's Corruption CaseThe Associated Press

A few days before former New Mexico Sen. Phil Griego is scheduled to stand trial on corruption charges, lawyers and the judge in the case eliminated nearly half of the potential jurors.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports prosecutors from the state Attorney General's Office and Griego's lawyer, Tom Clark, agreed Tuesday to excuse dozens of members of the jury pool for reasons that included health issues, out-of-state travel plans and complications with work, family duties and expressions of harsh feelings toward politicians.

Though many have speculated the two sides might reach a plea deal before Griego's case goes to trial, there was no sign of that at Tuesday's hearing. Court documents show negotiations for a plea fell apart early this year.

The trial is set to begin Oct. 31.

US Nuclear Agency Seeks Bidders For Nuclear Lab ContractThe Associated Press

The U.S. agency that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons cache and the science behind it has finalized its request for proposals to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The National Nuclear Security Administration posted the documents online Wednesday.

The list of interested bidders includes defense contractors, technology companies and universities. They have until Dec. 11 to submit their proposals for taking over the troubled northern New Mexico lab.

Among the charges will be improving the safety and security culture at Los Alamos, which has struggled in recent years with the mishandling of plutonium and radioactive waste.

The current multibillion-dollar management contract expires in 2018. It was first announced in late 2015 that Los Alamos National Security LLC would be losing the contract since it failed to earn high enough performance reviews.

New Mexico Provides Online Tool For Insurance ShoppersThe Associated Press

New Mexico insurance regulators are creating an online shopping tool to help individuals compare 2018 health care plans amid shifting federal subsidies.

The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance on Wednesday unveiled the comparison tool for pricing and coverage.

Premiums for mid-level insurance coverage on New Mexico's federally subsidized health exchange are increasing by an average of about 40 percent for 2018.

The record-setting increase is partly a result of President Donald Trump's decision to pull the plug on federal payments that reimburse insurers for reduced copays and deductibles they're required to provide to people of modest means.

New Mexico's online tool can contrast on- and off-market plans.

Consumers eligible for income-based tax credits will be protected from rising premiums. Those who pay full-cost confront double-digit premium increases.

New Mexico Governor Dedicates New Veterans CemeteryThe Associated Press

Northwestern New Mexico will have its own veterans cemetery by 2019 thanks to state funding and a multi-million-dollar federal grant.

Gov. Susana Martinez and other officials gathered Wednesday in Gallup to mark the dedication of what will be the second of four proposed cemeteries for veterans who live in rural areas of the state.

Martinez says the effort started in 2013 is aimed at ensuring more veterans have a final resting place closer to home.

The Gallup cemetery will serve veterans of McKinley and Cibola counties, as well as communities in the Four Corners area, the Navajo Nation and area pueblos.

The first state veterans cemetery launched under the governor's initiative is in Fort Stanton. It will open later this year. There are also plans for cemeteries in Angel Fire and Carlsbad.

Lawmakers Invite New Mexico Governor To Explain Bail Plan- The Associated Press

New Mexico state lawmakers are inviting Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to explain her plan for repealing and replacing voter-approved bail reforms.

Democratic state Rep. Antonio Maestas and GOP Sen. Sander Rue on Tuesday asked Martinez in a letter to present her proposal for replacing a constitutional amendment on bail reform to members of a criminal justice subcommittee. The panel meets Friday.

In Facebook posts last week, Martinez lambasted the amendment and new pre-trial release and detention procedures as a threat to public safety.

Maestas said the posts have created a whirlwind of confusion about recent changes to the state's bail system designed to rein in the role of monetary bail, and that lawmakers hope to hear a more detailed plan.

The governor's office had no immediate response to the invitation.

New Mexico Ten Commandments Monument Moving After Ruling- The Associated Press & The Daily Times

A Ten Commandments monument in a northwestern New Mexico city at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court fight is coming down.

The Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico, reports the Four Corners Historical Monument Project announced this week the monument located outside of City Hall in Bloomfield, New Mexico, will be moved.

The group's founder, Kevin Mauzy, says it will be placed at another prominent location within the city limits.

The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last week sided with a lower court that ordered Bloomfield to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn outside City Hall.

Los Alamos School Board Eyes Policy On Immigrant Students- The Associated Press & The Los Alamos Monitor

The Los Alamos Public Schools board is considering a policy aimed at protecting immigrant students amid fears of increased federal enforcement.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports board members are scheduled Thursday to discuss a proposal that spells out how school staff should react if federal immigration agents come on campus without a warrant.

Under the proposal, staff is to notify the superintendent and not give agents any information on the students' whereabouts.

A separate resolution calls for school employees not to keep any records showing that information after admission.

Widow sues ex-officer over husband's death- The Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

The widow of a Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy is suing the fellow lawman accused of gunning him down in 2014 and a bar that had served them both alcohol before the shooting.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the civil lawsuit over Jeremy Martin's death was filed late last week in state district court.

Tai Chan's first two murder trials ended when jurors couldn't agree on a verdict. A third trial is scheduled for April.

According to testimony, Chan is accused of shooting Martin in the back as Martin fled from their room during an argument at the hotel where they had stopped on a trip to transport a prisoner to Arizona.

Chan has maintained Martin was the aggressor and that he shot his fellow deputy in self-defense.

New Mexico health officials report first suspected flu death- The Associated Press

New Mexico health officials are reporting the first confirmed flu cases of the season, including one death suspected of being related to the illness.

The Health Department on Tuesday said the patients include an 82-year-old man from Bernalillo County who was recently hospitalized. The man is linked to an early season flu outbreak at a healthcare facility where there are four additional confirmed cases, including the one death.

The agency did not release any details about the deceased person but confirmed it is investigating the outbreak.

Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher said with the flu season in swing in New Mexico, she's urging people to get vaccinated.

Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, congestion and muscle aches.

Bill To Build Grand Canyon Tram Goes Before Navajo Lawmakers-The Associated Press

Navajo Nation lawmakers are scheduled to take up legislation to build an aerial tram into the Grand Canyon next week.

Navajo Nation Council spokesman Jared Touchin says the Grand Canyon Escalade is the only item on Tuesday's special session agenda so far.

The legislation introduced last year has struggled to gain widespread support.

Developers say the project would revitalize the region's economy. Opponents say it would desecrate the area.

The tram would carry visitors from the Grand Canyon's eastern edge 3,200 feet down to the Colorado River in 10 minutes.

The Navajo Nation would have to invest $65 million to start the project.

The full Tribal Council has not voted on the project. Approval requires a two-thirds vote of lawmakers meeting in Window Rock.

Albuquerque Zoo Welcomes Baby Giraffe- The Associated Press & The Albuquerque Journal

The newest addition to the Albuquerque zoo's giraffe herd is a 6-foot-tall newborn named Malika.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the healthy calf was born Monday and both mother and calf were doing fine Tuesday.

The zoo now has three adult female giraffes, one adult male and two calves.

Mammal curator Erin Flynn says because the gestation period of baby giraffes is 15 months, zookeepers had a long time to think about names.

Malika, like the other giraffes at the ABQ BioPark Zoo, are reticulated giraffes. There are nine subspecies located throughout the African continent. Reticulated giraffes are mostly native to east Africa.

Flynn says giraffes are considered vulnerable because of loss of habitat, illegal hunting and civil unrest in many of the countries where they are found.

Presbyterian Tops List For Unpaid Taxes – Associated Press

A newly released audit places Presbyterian Health Plan at the top of a list of 17 insurance companies with unpaid taxes that are owed to the state of New Mexico.

Records released by the New Mexico Office of the State Auditor on Tuesday to the Associated Press show a $28.9 million underpayment of taxes at the for-profit arm of Presbyterian Healthcare Services since 2003.

The audit could weigh in efforts by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to recover millions of dollars in alleged unpaid taxes from Presbyterian Health Plan. Office of the State Auditor spokeswoman Justine Freeman says the lawsuit by state prosecutors relates to about $14 million in estimated underpayments.

Other insurance companies with large estimated tax underpayments include Health Care Service Corporation that oversees Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, Molina Healthcare, Amerigroup and Lovelace.

Federal Judge Dismisses Hispanic Ranchers' Claims – Associated Press

A federal judge has dismissed the remaining claims in a case that pitted Hispanic ranchers against the U.S. government over its handling of grazing permits.

Attorneys for the ranchers had argued during the years-long legal battle that the U.S. Forest Service violated the law when deciding to limit grazing on historic land grants despite recognition by the government that the descendants of Spanish colonists have a unique relationship with the land.

The ranchers claimed the agency failed to consider social and economic effects that would result from limiting grazing in a region where poverty and dependence on the land for subsistence is high.

The judge ruled that federal law doesn't require the Forest Service to consider any social or economic effects that aren't directly related to environmental changes resulting from the agency's actions.

New Mexico Supreme Court Ousts Aztec Magistrate From Office – The Daily Time, Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has removed Aztec Magistrate Court Judge Connie Johnston from office for misconduct that a state commission said included dishonesty, surreptitious recording of private conversations in the courthouse and abuse of her judicial power of contempt.

The high court's order issued its order Monday following a hearing on the Judicial Standards Commission's April 10 petition seeking removal of Johnston from office.

Her term was set to end in December of 2018.

The commission's petition cited Johnston's "dishonesty shown in committing various acts of willful misconduct and throughout the commission's proceedings, including her false statements under oath as well as her concealment of surreptitious recordings that she was ordered to disclose but kept secret until midtrial when she perceived a personal advantage to disclosure."

New Mexico's Bid For Amazon HQ Offers Bi-national Option – Associated Press

New Mexico's bid for Amazon's second headquarters includes a southern option that proposes a bi-national effort on a location that straddles the U.S. border with Mexico.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the option would be located in the master planned community of Los Santos that's proposed for an area between Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and San Jeronimo, Mexico.

Backers of the proposal say it's an attractive option because it offers a combined labor pool, 200 acres spanning both sides of the border and plenty of sun to support renewable energy requirements.

The Seattle-based online retailer received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The company's second home is expected to generate $5 billion in investments and create 50,000 jobs.

Roller-Skating Rink Owners Say Racist Response Was Hoax – The Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The owners of a Santa Fe roller-skating rink say they're the victims of a hoax that painted them as unwilling to serve minorities.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a woman inquired with the rink through Facebook about its availability to host a birthday party, and she received a racist response on Sunday.

The response states the rink doesn't "do business with colored people," and she shared it on social media, unleashing a flurry of comments accusing the rink owners of racism.

Co-owners of Rockin' Rollers Event Arena Bill Spencer and Robbyn Garden have denied sending the message, which they say they were horrified by. They say they don't know who sent the message, but a former employee previously had access to the business' Facebook account.

Sheriff's Department: Deputy Fired At Armed Assault Suspect – Associated Press

Bernalillo County authorities say a sheriff's deputy fired at least one gunshot at an armed suspect sought in reported aggravated assault but that nobody was injured and that the suspect is in custody.

Deputy Felicia Maggard says the shooting and subsequent arrest occurred about an hour after the reported aggravated assault early Tuesday morning.

Maggard says a deputy spotted the suspect and saw that the suspect was armed but she did not provide additional information on what prompted the deputy to fire.

She says the suspect ran off and had a gun when taken into custody.

Analysis Shows College Affordability At Risk In New Mexico – Associated Press

New Mexico government analysts are warning that shrinking enrollment and limited funding at many public state colleges and universities may lead to tuition increases that few local students can afford.

A report released Tuesday from staff at the nonpartisan Legislative Finance Committee shows that a shrinking portion of the state budget is being devoted to higher education as enrollment declines.

Lawmakers are being warned of the need for greater efficiencies to avoid tuition and fee increases that threaten college affordability.

The report suggests the state seek greater efficiencies in higher education by allowing colleges to merge and to combine purchases and services.

It recommends allocating a much greater share of state funding based on performance goals. Those goals can reward institutions where students increasingly complete their college degrees and certificates.

New Mexico Ex-Lt. Gov. Denish Endorses Haaland For Congress – Associated Press

Former New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is supporting Debra Haaland for an open U.S. congressional seat in central New Mexico.

Denish announced her support Monday as Haaland tries to become the first Native American woman elected to Congress.

Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, is seeking to succeed U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, an Albuquerque Democrat who is stepping down to run for New Mexico governor. Haaland is facing seven others in a Democratic primary for a seat that includes Albuquerque.

Former U.S. Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, who now lives in Corrales, New Mexico, and is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission, also has endorsed Haaland.