Does MLG deserve a $40k pay raise?

With the 2022 legislative session underway, for the next month will be providing you a special edition of the Intelligencer that includes summaries of Roundhouse activity, where we will be tracking the latest movidas, legislation on the move, and all other important legislative activity - including some of the chatter going on behind the scenes in a legislative session with very limited public access. 

Our coverage this week covers the first few days of the 2022 legislative session. Also this week, the continued fallout of failed COVID policies and the collapse of Democrat support predicts a historic GOP swing.

We'll be monitoring the rest of the 2022 session weekly in our newsletter, but for more up to date information please follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Send us any feedback (including chismes and quejas) by going to our website or shoot me an email at dax[AT]nmhispanos.com. And if you are not already subscribed, sign up here.


Dax Contreras
Executive Director, Hispanos Unidos

2022 Legislative Session Recap: Opening Days

In her fourth State of the State speech, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was clearly in campaign mode, outlining an agenda carefully crafted in an attempt to improve her standing with New Mexicans fed up with her radical environmental agenda and out of touch COVID policies.

Curiously, her tough on crime agenda was immediately put on ice by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Cervantes, and given his post as chair of Senate Judiciary, it remains to be seen which if any of MLG's anti-crime bills make it through.

But to her credit, her surprise announcement to cut Social Security taxes is a politically savvy tax cut many have been advocating for years, and with the state having more money than the Roundhouse knows what to do with, it should be an easy policy victory that will make for good fodder for mailers and TV commercials later this year.

Here is a briefing of some of the news coming out of the Roundhouse in the session's opening days:

The continued fallout of failed COVID lockdown policies

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Left out: A recent WSJ story noted that while most states in the Southwest have recovered the jobs they lost due to COVID (including our neighboring states Texas and Arizona), New Mexico has not.

What they're saying: "Arizona rapidly returned to its prior peak of employment because compared to the nation we didn’t fall as far. One big reason is because the stay-at-home order in Arizona wasn’t very restrictive." — George Hammond, economist at the University of Arizona.

Hammond also pointed to other growth factors: lower cost of living, growth in transportation and other industries, the arrival of remote workers and increased population.

The big picture: A recent study revealed the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 pandemic on health and finances of Hispanics in New Mexico. It certainly does not help that in New Mexico our governor refuses to accept that her overly restrictive and heavy handed COVID polices (which as you may remember Colorado used as an example of why mask mandates don't work) have clearly failed: New Mexico ranks fourth in the nation for the number of COVID-19 deaths per capita, according to federal data released Wednesday last week.

On a related note, MLG made national news when she announced Wednesday that she has requested the New Mexico National Guard to work as substitute teachers and child care workers. 

The pendulum is swinging, setting the stage for a historic GOP wave in November

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Details: Gallup polling identified a huge shift in party preference during 2021, from a 9-point advantage by Dems in the first quarter to a 5-point GOP lead in the fourth quarter: it is the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.

The poll is the latest data point to confirm Biden's historically low approval rating is a drag on Democrat candidates down the ballot.

Background: In New Mexico, these concerns are obviously top of mind for MLG and her reelection election chances; she was recently identified as one of the most vulnerable governors running in 2022. While no recent public polling information is available, it is obvious the 2022 midterm elections will be the toughest election environment for Democrats since at least the Tea Party wave of 2010.

Across the country and in a minority majority state like New Mexico, the Hispanic vote will be key to the Dems' chances of winning this year and in the next presidential election. But as we have covered before, if the Democrats continue to take the Hispanic vote for granted they are in for a rude awakening come election day.

 

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