Gene Grant

Lonnie Anderson

Attack ads and contemporary political rhetoric about crime have a disturbing campaign ancestor: The Willie Horton ad that may have cost Michael Dukakis the presidential election in 1988. It relied on racism for its efficacy, and it ushered in an era of so-called "tough-on-crime" laws and posturing that nearly broke criminal legal systems, like the one in Albuquerque. Executive Producer and longtime criminal justice reporter Marisa Demarco navigates in Episode 13 how racist, fear-based electioneering warped the country's approach to crime. That continues to this day, favoring quick vengeance over long-term solutions that might have a real impact on crime rates. It's an addictive cycle: These methods, in fact, might be a big part of creating the problem candidates are promising to solve with them when they're counting on fear to salvage their flagging campaigns. 

New Mexico PBS

NMPBS Election Special 10/16, 7p: Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (Democrat) is seeking a second term in this year’s Second Congressional District campaign in a rematch from 2018 against challenger Yvette Herrell (Republican). That election was decided by fewer than 4,000 votes. The district spans nearly the entire southern half of New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Carlsbad, Alamagordo, Socorro and Los Lunas. The seat was held by a Democrat for two terms starting in 2010, but has been a traditional Republican stronghold. New Mexico in Focus host Gene Grant hosted both of the candidates for in-depth discussions of the issues they are focused on to try to win a seat in Congress for the next two year term.

New Mexico PBS

NMPBS Election Special 10/15, 8a: Rep. Deb Haaland (Democrat) is seeking a second term in this year’s First Congressional District campaign, against challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes (Republican). The district spans much of central New Mexico, including most of Bernalillo and Torrance Counties, parts of Sandoval, Santa Fe and Valencia Counties as well as several Pueblos. The seat has not elected a Republican since 2008, but has boasted some big historical names from the party, including Heather Wilson and Steve Schiff. New Mexico in Focus host Gene Grant sat down with both of the candidates, for in-depth interviews on the policies and issues they are focusing on to try and win a seat in Congress for the next two years.

New Mexico PBS

NMPBS Election Special 10/7, 8a: For the first time in over a decade, New Mexico’s Third Congressional District will have a new representative. Ben Ray Lujan, who has served in the office since the 2008 election, is running for U.S. Senate this year instead. Vying for his seat are political newcomers Teresa Leger Fernandez (Democrat) and Alexis Martinez Johnson (Republican). The district extends throughout northern New Mexico, but also includes Rio Rancho and even pockets of Albuquerque.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In the last weeks of July, we saw high temperatures across the country. The streets heated up, and we’re not talking about the weather. We’re talking about federal forces sent to Portland, Chicago, Albuquerque and other cities. The arrival of these agents was met with public outcry and increased skepticism by lawmakers and residents alike. Others support the move. In episode 3, we take a look at what exactly is going on and what it means for our civil liberties and our democracy.

The youngest stars are shown as red while more evolved stars are shown as blue.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA / Creative Commons

It’s a weird time. We’ve got a global pandemic, an uprising against racist police violence and a special legislative session dropped in the middle of it—the likes of which no one’s ever seen before. Maybe one that people still aren’t seeing because there have been so many access issues. In episode 79, we dig in to bring you what’s new and developing with the emergency legislative session. What bills have been passed, what is on the way and what is being held until January are just a few of the topics we cover. We talk with journalists from New Mexico PBS and the NM Political Report. We also hear from an advocate who is on the forefront of voting rights in tribal lands.

Arianna Sena / KUNM

Do you have faith in the systems? How has government response to the pandemic eroded or reinforced that for you? It seemed important back in what we collectively refer to as “normal times.” But what have public officials done to instill our faith? In Episode 69, we talk about the long list of pre-pandemic ills that plague us during this plague. We talk with the secretary of state about what it takes for politicians to keep voters invested and journalists about why there is a lack of faith—and whether it can be restored. 

Arianna Sena / KUNM

The 2020 legislative session is over. Gene Grant, host of New Mexico In Focus, recaps the biggest moments and topics, like the red-flag law (which passed), recreational marijuana (which didn't), free college tuition (partially funded) and more.

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This podcast is part of the project: Your N.M. Government. Funding for our legislative coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the New Mexico Local News Fund and KUNM listeners. 

Live Local Election Coverage From NMPBS

Nov 8, 2016

Tonight join Gene Grant and the New Mexico In Focus line panel for 4 hours of continuous live election coverage starting at 7pm.  It will also be on KNMD, Channel 9.1. And live on KNME Channel 5.1 at 10pm, following the PBS Newshour’s national election coverage.