New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, on New Year's Eve day, signed an executive order to provide a 12-week paid parental leave policy for all state employees under her purview. The order, which directs the State Personnel Office to create the policy, represents the first time New Mexico state government will have paid family leave. "Ensuring that families have time to bond with and care for their children is incredibly important," Gov. Lujan Grisham said in a press release. "That this was not in place for state employees before is a shame, and I am proud that we are making the situation right." The policy went into effect yesterday.
Martinez draws challenger
Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo says he will challenge convicted drunk driver and state Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Ojo Caliente, in the June 2020 Democratic primary. "I decided to run because there couldn't be a more important time for an ethical voice to prioritize equity and to represent our values of decency," Jaramillo told the Associated Press yesterday. Martinez has vowed not to resign his seat, despite a call from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that he do so. Martinez did, last week, step down from leadership positions he held at the Legislature.
If you build it…
Construction jobs in New Mexico are expected to rise in 2020, and grew steadily in the final months of last year. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the state ranked No. 2 in October and November for job growth in the industry, with more than 11% year-over-year gains. Much of the gain in construction employment occurred in Eddy and Lea counties, with a fair amount related to the oil and gas industry. Nationwide, AGC reports that contractors are optimistic about demand for construction in the coming year, but face challenges in hiring qualified employees.
Game Commission shake-up
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham won't reappoint former Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Secretary Joanna Prukop to the Game Commission, where Prukop has served as chairwoman following her appointment—by Lujan Grisham—last spring. The governor's office confirmed Prukop would not be appointed and cited differences over policy, but did not specify which policies. The news did not sit well with New Mexico Wildlife Federation, an advocacy organization for sportsmen and sportswomen, whose executive director, Jesse Deubel, said: "Joanna Prukop was without question the most qualified and best chair this commission has ever seen so for this to happen is beyond infuriating. I'm speechless."
Talking with Lyla June Johnston
In the latest episode of SFR's podcast Reported, host Katherine Lewin talks with New Mexico legislative candidate Lyla June Johnston, an indigenous activist who is running in the June 2020 Democratic primary for the District 47 House seat currently represented by Speaker of the House Brian Egolf. Lewin and Johnston discuss missing and murdered indigenous women, her childhood in Taos, her former drug addiction and why she's running for the seat. If you listen to the entire episode, you'll also learn how to snag a free SFR T-shirt!
If it feels like ice fishing weather to you, that's because it is. Eagle Nest Lake Park is open for ice fishing, reporting that the depth of ice now exceeds the minimum requirements for walking access, along with snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. Advice for those who plan to ice fish: Don't go alone, wear a life jacket, and keep fishing holes small. More tips and information available here.
Chile in Brooklyn
Albuquerque native Eric See has done what few have dared: brought New Mexico cuisine to Brooklyn, New York. See's restaurant, The Awkward Scone, was recently featured in Eater New York, for its New Mexico-style breakfast burritos, featuring—obviously—both red and green chile. All the chiles, See says, are shipped from New Mexico. "The burritos have been really popular at the cafe—more so than I was anticipating," See tells Eater. "This is what I grew up eating, and this is me trying to tell my story." As for that awkward scone, it also includes green chile.
Paying tribute to Vasulka
Yesterday, The New York Times published an obituary for the groundbreaking acclaimed video artist Woody Vasulka ($), who died at the age of 82 on Dec. 20 in Santa Fe, where he and his wife Steinunn (Bjarnadottir) Vasulka have lived since 1980. The Vasulkas co-founded The Kitchen, an avant-garde performance space in Manhattan in the early 1970s, and were pioneers in the field of video art. "Video is an art unto itself, with its own reality, visual language and its own conception of time and space," Woody Vasulka told The Times in 1972. He also was involved with various Santa Fe arts organizations, such as Currents New Media and Burning Books.
In with the new…snow
A 40% chance of precipitation today with scattered snow showers predicted, primarily between 8 am and 2 pm. Otherwise, today will be mostly cloudy with a high near 35. If it does snow, we're looking at approximately one inch of new accumulation. It will be clear tonight and sunny tomorrow with a high in the 30s. The weekend also looks sunny, with highs in the mid 40s Saturday and Sunday.
Thanks for reading! The Word is bummed about the destruction of this mural.