Tuesday News Roundup: 5 Democrats In Race To Unseat Martinez

Feb 4, 2014

5 Democrats In Race To Unseat Martinez  - The Associated Press

Five Democrats have officially entered the race to unseat Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, Santa Fe businessman Alan Weber, longtime government worker Lawrence Rael of Albuquerque and state Sens. Howie Morales of Silver City and Linda Lopez of Albuquerque Tuesday turned in the petitions and paperwork required to qualify for the Democratic Party's June primary ballot.

No one has filed to run against Martinez in the GOP primary.

But a lively Republican primary could be shaping up for U.S. Senate. Former New Mexico GOP Chairman Allen Weh and former Dona Ana County Republican Party Chairman David Clements are vying for the nomination to run against Democrat Tom Udall. It's Udall's first bid for re-election.

 NM Agency Gives More Leeway On Physical Education - The Associated PressThe state Public Education Department is allowing some high school students to count activities such as marching band, athletics and Junior ROTC for their physical education requirement.

A recent from the department updates rules on waivers. It says current seniors and some juniors can be grandfathered in under old rules if districts apply for waivers.

The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/1bquW2Z) reports that the waivers apply to a new state rule. It blocks students from using other courses or activities to substitute for physical education to graduate from high school.

The department says juniors are eligible for waivers if they have already applied an extracurricular activity toward their required credit for physical education.

Department spokesman Larry Behrens says 26 school districts and charter schools have applied for waivers so far.


  Panel chairwoman opposes Highlands regent nominee The Associated Press

A Senate committee leader is opposing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's appointee to the governing board of New Mexico Highlands University.

Rules Committee chairwoman Linda Lopez, an Albuquerque Democrat, said Monday she'll recommend the panel reject Carl Foster's nomination to the university's board of regents.

Lopez said Foster has a conflict of interest because of a pending lawsuit against the school for breach of contract.

Foster formerly taught special education at the school's Rio Rancho center, but filed a lawsuit last year contending the university improperly handled a student complaint against him.

The committee planned a confirmation hearing this week, but Lopez said Foster has told her office he's unable to attend.

Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell said Foster's lawsuit doesn't disqualify the nominee or lessen his educational record.

New Mexico preserve submits latest report to Congress - The Associated Press

Not as many people visited Valles Caldera National Preserve in 2013 as the previous year.

Officials say the 11 percent drop in visitation is a result of the northern New Mexico preserve being forced to close while firefighters battled the Thompson Ridge Fire.

The blaze burned across more than 36 square miles of the preserve during the height of the summer tourist season.

Visitation numbers, efforts to expand public access to Valles Caldera, post-fire concerns and the effects of last year's federal shutdown are all detailed in the preserve's annual report to Congress. It was released late last week.

The report notes that assessments have consistently found that expanding public access and use of the preserve has been limited by a lack of parking areas, picnic sites and other infrastructure.