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Morning Word: Corralling Llamas

July 18, 2017, 7:30 am

Down on the farm
The LA Times checks in this morning with a mostly glowing profile of US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. It starts and ends with stories about corralling llamas on the small family farm in Nambé. Llamas, you see, are like members of Congress, except these llamas are there to protect the family's sheep. WAIT! Anyhow, more useful info would be that his father, the late Ben Lujan, was a particularly effective Speaker of the House of Representatives in New Mexico, especially when it came to corralling wayward members. Lujan the younger holds the post of Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and on his shoulders rest much of the party's hopes of winning back the US House. And that's why the article's worth a read. 

Down in the 2nd Congressional District
As you have surely heard, Rep. Steve Pearce is leaving his seat in Congress to run for governor next year. The Republican has turned back challengers every two years and amassed more than $1 million in campaign money. He'd like the option of transferring it to his gubernatorial campaign. It's allowed by federal law, but state law may block it. That's what Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham thinks. The Democrat limited her federal donation to her state campaign to $5,500. The secretary of state will issue an opinion soon. The Word will issue one now: It doesn't matter much, because there's going to be a ton of money in this race regardless. (This message brought to you by the Committee to Inject a Ton of Money into New Mexico.) 

Meow Wolf's millions
Not visitors, dollars. The arts collective recently launched a fundraising campaign to help with its expansion plans both in Santa Fe and elsewhere around the country. It maxed out its initial investors in less than 48 hours and topped $1 million in about three days. It's also getting about $1 million from state and city economic development grants.

Facebook's multi-millions
The social networking website's Los Lunas data center is doubling in size. The massive facilities will employ 1,000 construction workers at its busiest building stage. Once the centers are open, 100 people will work there. New Mexico pledged billions in industrial revenue bonds for the project, as well as $10 million in economic development grants and $1.6 million in tax reimbursements.

New Mexico's financial fallback
The state's reserve funds are in better shape than anticipated, though there's still a debate over how much money New Mexico is likely to have socked away a year from now. Just weeks after threatening furloughs and shutdowns, the Martinez administration says New Mexico has relatively robust reserves of 5.3 percent and is likely to have 3 percent at the end of this budget year next June. Legislative agencies are less optimistic, but say the state's revenue is outpacing expectations at the moment.

Moon landmark
Consider it a National Historic Landmark you can never visit: The spot where man first set foot on the moon. A New Mexico State University professor is thinking ahead, though, and wants Tranquility Base—the site of the Apollo 11 landing—to be officially preserved by not just Space, but the US.

Elephant Butte Bigfoot
If you're a regular reader of the Morning Word, chances are you don't get most of your news from Facebook. Good on you, because Facebook is a lousy place to get your news. The latest proof is a garbage article from a website that lets users create their own news stories. It claims bigfoot was found on the shore of Elephant Butte this month. The fake-news-debunking website reminds you that this did not happen.

Thanks for reading! The Word thanks you for paying attention and caring and encourages you to urge your friends to do the same. You deserve a donut. With sprinkles.

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