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This week, New Mexico in Focus features reaction to confirmation hearings for Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland. The New Mexico congresswoman spent parts of two days this week in front of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources defending her stance on fossil fuel production and parrying thrusts from conservative senators, some of whom called her environmental stance “radical.” Correspondent Antonia Gonzales speaks to a group of prominent Native women about the hearings, then The Line opinion panel offers its thoughts. 

The combination of a limited housing supply and a high demand for rental properties in Albuquerque is causing a surge in rental prices, which is frustrating some tenants who are looking for somewhere to live that fits both their needs and their budget. NMiF Correspondent Megan Kamerick talked with tenant Thomas Hughes about his difficulty finding somewhere suitable to live, and to UNM Law Professor Serge Martinez about how these increases are especially problematic for younger and lower-income people. 

The Line opinion panel also looks at the choices in front of school boards across the state as they decide whether to return students and educators to school buildings for the remainder of the school year. The recent decision by Albuquerque Public Schools to allow a limited return, but stay mostly online made headlines, but the APS board’s choice doesn’t stand alone among New Mexico school districts. The group also looks at the advancement of the budget on the House side of the Legislature. After a disastrous prediction as the pandemic settled in, the state’s economy has bounced back somewhat and lawmakers are looking to spend more than they did last year.   

Host: Gene Grant 

Line Panelists: 
Merritt Allen, Vox Optima public relations
Eric Griego, former state senator
Kristelle Siarza, Siarza Social Digital

Segments: 

Native Community Reacts to Haaland Hearing
Correspondent: Antonia Gonzales
Guests: Kiera Toya, National UNITY Council Co-President,
Jemez Pueblo Shayai Lucero, Floral Designer/STEM Expert,
Acoma/Laguna Pueblo Holly Cook Macarro,
Spirit Rock Consulting, Red Lake Nation

Pandemic Compounds Housing Problems
Correspondent: Megan Kamerick
Guests: Thomas Hughes, rental tenant Serge Martinez, UNM Law School professor