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Morning Word: Pearce To Run For Governor

July 10, 2017, 7:30 am

He's in
That sound you heard this morning was the other shoe dropping. The Albuquerque Journal's Michael Coleman reports New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce will announce today that he's going to run for governor. Pearce instantly becomes the favorite for the Republican nomination—in part because he's the only one to have declared. But his name recognition and fundraising prowess will give other potential candidates pause. Pearce's candidacy means the 2nd Congressional District seat in Southern New Mexico is up for grabs. Pearce, a consistent, conservative voice in Congress, lost a statewide race for Senate in 2008.

Feds to review NM's behavioral health system
The federal Health and Human Services Department plans to take a closer look at the behavioral health care component of New Mexico's managed care plans. In 2013, the Martinez administration accused 15 behavioral healthcare providers of Medicaid fraud and overbilling. In the years since, no fraud has been found and the overbilling—once estimated as high as $36 million—appears to be just a tiny fraction of what the state feared.

Auditor questions state's accounting
State Auditor Tim Keller says New Mexico's bookkeeping practices have resulted in double counting hundreds of millions of dollars received from the state's Land Grant Permanent Fund. The net result is an inaccurate picture of New Mexico's finances, the auditor says. The state has made accounting changes to stop listing more than $750 million as an asset both for individual departments and the fund itself. Keller is a Democrat who is running for mayor of Albuquerque. 

Former US attorney to run for Congress
Damon Martinez, the former US attorney in New Mexico, will run for the 1st Congressional District seat, which primarily includes Albuquerque. Martinez held the federal post when the Justice Department concluded Albuquerque police were engaging in unconstitutional policing. The Democrat joins a crowded field that includes city councilors and state representatives.

'Proof positive'
The ACLU's New Mexico branch is suing Albuquerque police after the city denied a public records request for police policies regarding cellphone snooping devices. This has happened in other cities that use Stingray machines and other such devices that mimic cell towers and let police covertly lift data from mobile phones. The ACLU says the city denied owning any such devices, but also refused to release policies regarding their use. "I would say it's proof positive that they have them," a spokesman said.  

Las Soleras dust-up
Folks who live near the huge Las Soleras development on the Southside say dust from the construction project is out of control. There are rules for mitigating blowing dust from such projects, but some people who live in the Nava Ade subdivision say they're either not being followed or not doing much good.

It's kind of starting to look that way, as afternoon chances of storms seem to be more regular. There's plenty of heat to build the storms, and the National Weather Service says monsoonal moisture is joining the party.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks guessing when the monsoons will start/have started is one of the best parts of summer. Assuming they actually start, that is.

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