This week on New Mexico in Focus, The Line opinion panel addresses Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision to open New Mexico to full-time, in-person learning by April 5. Largely a local-control matter, the request nevertheless has the attention of school districts, which seem anxious to comply with the request. The panel looks at the role of unions in the return to school, as well as the matter of vaccinating newly prioritized educators, despite no additional vaccine allocations from the federal government.
The Line also examines Mayor Tim Keller’s appointment of interim Chief Harold Medina to a permanent post atop the city’s Police Department. The mayor decided to split the duties of the top position, naming Sylvester Stanley as interim superintendent of police reform. The new system has been met with a mixed reaction. The panel also looks at New Mexico’s effort to form a cohesive strategy to get broadband internet service into homes across the state. Lawmakers are considering a handful of bills and capital outlay proposals to jumpstart what’s been a patchy effort to get critical infrastructure to all parts of the state.
Our Land returns, as Laura Paskus travels to Clovis to speak with dairy farmer Art Schaap. Since the U.S. Air Force revealed in 2018 that it had poisoned groundwater near Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases with PFAS chemicals, Schaap has been pumping and dumping the milk from his cows at his dairy just outside the base. He’s also suing the government for damage done to his livelihood.
Producer Matt Grubs talks to President Biden’s national supply chain manager for the White House Pandemic Response Team, Tim Manning. The former head of the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management under Bill Richardson, Manning explains the challenges of distributing PPE supplies and vaccine to remote parts of the United States.
Line opinion panelists:
Diane Denish, former lieutenant governor
Dan Foley, former House minority whip
Serge Martinez, UNM Law School professor
Biden’s COVID Supply Chain Pick
Matt Grubs, NMiF senior producer
Tim Manning, national supply chain coordinator, White House Pandemic Response Team
Our Land: Art Schaap’s Dairy Dilemma
Laura Paskus, NMiF environmental reporter
Art Schaap, dairy farmer