- Allen Weh launched his U.S. Senate campaign with a web video and many interviews with news outlets throughout the state. From New Mexico Telegram's write-up:
Weh gave no specifics, but stressed his role as a businessman and veteran as part of his qualifications for the United States Senate.
“I want to tell you that I firmly believe that we can restore the vitality of this country and the vitality of this wonderful state,” Weh said in his announcement. “But hope isn’t a plan. It will take hard work. Americans have never had a shortage of that.”
- David Clements, who was already in the race, released a bunch of opposition research on Weh, most of it dating back to Weh's 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Weh attempted to buy his way into another Republican Primary in 2010, pouring millions of his own money into a campaign that lost to Susana Martinez by more than 23-points. Weh was repeatedly condemned by his own party’s leadership during his failed 2010 primary campaign for running ads against Martinez that lacked documentation and truth.Steve Terrell wrote about it earlier this week.
- Some Democratic members of the legislature are questioning why an understaffed Children, Youth and Families Department returned $6.6 million to state coffers despite dozens of vacancies.
Some Democratic legislators have expressed frustration that funding for CYFD and other state agencies has gone unspent by the Gov. Susana Martinez administration, saying it has led to high vacancy rates and a short-handed workforce.
“I do have concerns about it,” Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, said of the state’s failure to spend that money. “I think trimming the fat (in state government) is good, but you have to be careful you’re not trimming the meat.”
- Attorney General Gary King criticized Gov. Susana Martinez on the CYFD.
- King will also launch is own investigation into the case, separate from that of Susana Martinez.
- Gov. Susana Martinez still backs New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“Gov. Martinez is not familiar with the details of the situation, but understands Gov. Christie took strong action today, which is what she would expect from him,” said Danny Diaz, a spokesman for Martinez’s re-election campaign, in a written statement. “She considers Chris Christie a colleague and friend, and is confident he will handle this matter appropriately.”Top aides for Christie were involved in closing lanes outside the city of a mayor that did not endorse Christie's latest campaign for governor.
- Insight New Mexico spoke to State Sen. Tim Keller. Keller, who is the Senate Majority Whip, is also running for State Treasurer.
- KOB found little support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the state.
But our informal check with veteran lawmakers and legislative leaders shows there’s not much appetite for this issue in the thirty day session that starts January 21 – even among some lawmakers who oppose same-sex marriage.
- The state Department of Workforce Solutions cut down on fraudulent unemployment payments.
Fraudulent and improper payments were 2.11 percent of all payments in 2013, a 60 percent decrease from 5.22 percent in 2012, Martinez said in a news release. That amounts to $10 million saved.
- A Taos representative will introduce legislation to fund rail improvements to keep an Amtrak line continue to go through New Mexico.
Rep. Roberto Gonzales, D-Taos, who chairs the state House Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommittee, said he will prefile a bill that would allocate $4 million from the state’s general fund for track upgrades in New Mexico. A second bill to be introduced during the 30-day session, which starts Jan. 21, would ask for $4 million from the capital outlay fund, which usually funds special state projects, Gonzales said.
- Attorney General Gary King endorsed Patti Bushee for mayor in Santa Fe.
- A youth forum for Santa Fe mayoral candidates (or at least two of them) focused on homelessness in the state capital.
- Santa Fe mayor David Coss denied any political favoritism in a restaurant deal at the Santa Fe airport.
- New Mexico's education performance ranked last in the annual Quality Counts Report from the Education Research Center.
- Fourteen candidates are running in five municipal races in Española, including three who are running for mayor.
- Meanwhile, two family members are running against each other for the position mayor in Chama. The Rio Grande Sun does not say who the two are related.
- Did officials in the Town of Taos help a city councilor when it came to a construction project where his company provided hundreds of windows?
Email and phone messages suggest planning director Martha Perkins was getting pressure from town manager Oscar Rodríguez and town councilor Andrew Gonzáles to issue temporary certificates of occupancy for several units in an affordable housing development known as Taos Haus.
Town officials say the push was to encourage low-income housing in Taos.
- Those in eastern New Mexico who were encouraged to join a plan to protect the lesser prairie chicken said the plan was vague and still have questions.
“I think there was probably a lot of generalizations and not specifics,” Bilberry said.
The way the program would work, according to New Mexico Game and Fish Biologist Grant Beauprez, is that the energy industry would provide funding for the program, which would in turn be paid out to the farmers and also cover administration costs for the program.
- The mayor of Carlsbad was cleared of allegations that he was fixing citations. The police union had made the allegations. A ruling by Attorney General Gary King cleared the mayor.
- Is an oil boom going to hit the Four Corners area? The Farmington area could see more than $500 million in investments in those who want to drill for oil in the area.
Encana Corp., based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, will invest between $300 million and $350 million in oil wells.
A second company, WPX Energy of Tulsa, Okla., is looking to invest between $148 million to $185 million in the area, according to its third quarter 2013 financial statement.
- New Mexico Compass looks at the actions the Albuquerque city council took in their Monday meeting.
- The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Mexico collected more than $14 million in criminal and civil actions.
- One Clovis city councilor won't face a recall while another may.
- The state is holding back $35,000 in film incentives rebates while they sort out a dispute over who owns land that the movie Lone Survivor used as an Afghan village.
- Five Mexican nationals were arrested for attempting to fraudulently obtain New Mexico drivers licenses.
- The state will get a $1.6 million federal grant for highway repairs from flooding.
- A walk in Farmington is about to undergo major renovations, the mall's first since 1995.