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Legislative Preview, Navajo Nation Fights COVID, Vaccination Rollout

This week on New Mexico in Focus

The Navajo Nation is one of the largest tribes in the United States, both geographically and by population.  The Navajo have been hit hard by COVID-19, with more than 25,000 positive cases and more than 800 deaths. Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, has been fighting the pandemic with curfews and lockdowns and has aggressively ramped up vaccination efforts. Correspondent Antonia Gonzales talks with President Nez about plans for the new year. 

Dr. Tracie Collins, the secretary-designate of New Mexico’s Dept. of Health, and a group of medical experts from Presbyterian, Lovelace and UNM hospitals held press conferences this week to explain the roll-out of vaccinations so far. They also talked about moving into the next phase of vaccinations for older New Mexicans and those with underlying conditions. New Mexico in Focus includes part of that discussion. 

Gene Grant and The Line opinion panelists preview the two-month session of the New Mexico Legislature that is set to start next week. COVID protocols will dictate the process of holding a full session during this pervasive pandemic, and while finalizing and approving a balanced budget is a number one priority, there are many other bills that will be on the docket. The Line also looks at how the COVID vaccine is being delivered – and how the message of its importance is being communicated.  For their final topic, the Line panelists voice their opinions on how New Mexico’s conservative leaders have responded to violent rhetoric from President Trump.

Host: Gene Grant

In Focus Interviews:
Fighting COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation 
Correspondent: Antonia Gonzales 
Guest:  President Jonathan Nez, Navajo Nation 

Health Secretary, Medical Experts on COVID Vaccinations 
Dr. Tracie Collins, New Mexico Dept. of Health secretary-designate  
Dr. Denise Gonzales, medical director, Presbyterian Medical Group 
Dr. Vesta Sandoval, chief medical officer, Lovelace Health System 
Dr. David Pitcher, executive physician, UNM Health Sciences 

The Line Opinion Panel:
Merritt Allen, Vox Optima  
Cathryn McGill, NM Black Leadership Council   
Dan McKay, capitol bureau reporter, Albuquerque Journal  
Dave Mulryan, founder, Everybody Votes


This episode is part of our #YourNMGov project, in collaboration with KUNM radio and the Santa Fe Reporter. Support for public media (NMPBS and KUNM) provided by the Thornburg Foundation.