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Morning Word: State Rep Denies Conflict of Interest

August 2, 2016, 7:30 am
Pacheco Accused of Conflict of Interest
State Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, says he didn’t know his brother, an architect, would personally benefit from capital outlay money that he set aside for a charter school his brother designed. But Progress Now Executive Director Pat Davis says lawmakers are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest and he wants the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office to investigate. Pacheco calls the allegations “a smear campaign.”

Former Environment Chief to Lead Oil and Gas Group? 
Anonymous sources say Ryan Flynn, who recently announced he will resign from  his position as secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department, may become president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, political blogger Joe Monahan reports. Flynn and NMOGA both say no decision has been made, but the group's former ED, Bob Gallagher, tells Monahan: "I commend NMOGA for the hiring of Ryan Flynn. ...Ryan's background and work history is a perfect fit for NMOGA. Not to worry about the 1 year ban on lobbying..." Meanwhile, Conservation Voters says if the job change is true:
...Why didn't the Gov announce Flynn's new job when they announced his departure? Because they know what it looks like because that's what it is. It's Flynn doing the job he's been doing since his confirmation, just more honestly. As Environment Secretary, he has prioritized making things easy for industry with no regard for the health and well being of New Mexicans that are negatively impacted by the environmental, health and socio-economic woes that oil and gas dependency brings with it. Now, he'll just have a title to fit.
Transit Project Temporarily Halted
Just a few hours after we reported a federal judge had given the City of Albuquerque approval to start construction on its controversial rapid transit bus line, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order halting the project until it decides whether to hear the case. 

NM Public Education System Gets Another Low Ranking
New Mexico still has the second worst public education system in the country, according to 
A new WalletHub report. Students here continue to underperform in math and reading. Still, there is a glimmer of good news: Teens who took the SAT test ranked 22nd highest in the nation.  

UNM Athletics Faces Budget Deficit
The University of New Mexico’s athletic department came up $1 million short of its revenue goals and reports a $1.5 million deficit for the fiscal year that ended in June. Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs tells Geoff Grammer at the Albuquerque Journal the department needs to “do a better job managing our funds” and garner more fan support.  

Mandatory Dorm Requirement Dropped at UNM
Maggie Shepard at the Albuquerque Journal also reports that UNM has dropped plans to require college freshman to live on campus their first year after concerns were raised about increased costs, parking and other issues, including recreational opportunities around campus.

Low Cost Vaccines Available
Gov. Susana Martinez announced a statewide program to help parents get vaccines for their kids at little or no cost before the school year starts. The program, “Got Shots? Protect Tots!” will run from July 30 to Aug. 13 and increases access to vaccines at more than 60 providers for New Mexicans.

Clinton Tops Trump in Post-Convention Polls
Hillary Clinton received a bump in the polls after being nominated for president at the Democratic Party’s convention last week.
 A poll released by CBS News on Monday found 46 percent of voters said they would vote for Clinton in November, a seven-point lead over her Republican rival Donald Trump (39%) Clinton’s bump comes after Trump gained a slight edge over his Democratic opponent after his own party’s convention in Cleveland. Last week, a RealClearPolitics average of polls showed Trump ahead by 0.2 percentage points. On Monday, Clinton held a 2.2 percentage point lead over Trump in the RealClearPolitics average.
Martinez Criticizes Trump
Gov. Susana Martinez joined the chorus of voices speaking out against Donald Trump’s attacks on the parents of a soldier killed in Iraq. Martinez tells the Associated Press that Humayun Khan’s parents “have every right to voice their opinions in the political process” and that disparaging them is “absolutely wrong.”

 

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