The federal government is the world’s biggest customer and a major driver in New Mexico’s economy.

    While only a fraction of the $8.2 billion that Uncle Sam spent in New Mexico in fiscal year 2017 benefitted local companies, advisers at the state’s four Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) work to increase the flow of federal dollars to small businesses that offer products or services the government wants.

    To that end, the Clovis PTAC is hosting a workshop March 20 at Clovis Community College for entrepreneurs who want to learn more about becoming a government contractor.

    “The workshop is to educate business owners on how to do business with Cannon Air Force Base and other government agencies,” said Jonnie Loadwick, procurement technical adviser at the Clovis PTAC and a certified VA verification counselor. “Cannon has been growing the last few years, and there is a lot of opportunity for government contracting in this area.”

    Obtaining government contracts can be just as onerous as securing contracts in the private sector: Businesses must aggressively market themselves, because competition is fierce.

  • Joseph Cervantes (joe4nm.com ) offered substantive ideas to the Democratic Party preprimary convention March 10 in Albuquerque and got 10 percent of the votes.

    Jeff Apodaca (apo18.com), with his promise of 225,000 new jobs, attracted 21 percent of the votes.

    Peter DeBenedittis (peterd4gov.com) had the truth, drew 1.9 percent of the votes and endorsed Apodaca.

    Michelle Lujan Grisham (newmexicansformichelle.com) won the audience sign waving battle and 67 percent of the votes.

    The four candidates for governor and candidates for other offices spoke to a full house in a hall on the top floor of Albuquerque’s convention center. The show-biz part might have swayed one or two delegates. As the candidates pitched, delegates completed ballots in small voting booths in an adjacent room.

    The convention was about candidates getting enough delegate votes—20 percent—to be on the primary ballot.

    Candidates not making the delegate vote cut can get more petition signatures to get on the ballot. The six contested races attracted 21 candidates.

    It was show biz with a ritual of a video and supporters packing the stage and waving signs. DeBenedittis did it differently. His fiancé, Tracy Juechter, introduced him and was the only person on stage as he spoke.

    Los Alamos County Councilor, candidate for District 43

    As a member of the County Council’s Regional and State Subcommittee, I helped develop our state legislative agenda, which was approved by the whole Council last December.  One priority was to address the concern that if a non-profit organization won the new LANL contract, state and local government could lose a total of  $50 million per year in gross receipts tax (GRT).

    Working with our State Senators Cisneros and Martinez and Representative Garcia Richard, we developed a bill, SB17, to close the loophole that lets non-profit organizations avoid GRT payment as prime contractors for national laboratories (SB17 preserves the GRT exemption for all other non-profit businesses and contracts). The bill passed both Houses: 31-4 in the Senate and 48-19 in the House.  It still needs the signature of Governor Martinez to become law.

    Why SB17?

  • Political talk has had its substance wither away for the sake of style. In this country, business is conducted the most clearly and quickly using the American standard style of talk, which is also known as the “straight” style.

    In stark contrast, political exchanges today rely on ... are reduced to ... styles of metaphor, mimicry, sarcasm, sound bites and slogans. These popular styles would fail in business and they fail our country.

    Worse yet, the styles shift weirdly. In a political exchange, one style intrudes on the next style where they mix up for a spell before styles flip again. Shifts come too fast for the ear to know what style is in play. How much is metaphor? How much is sarcasm? What is told as a slogan? Or a joke?

    Parts of the talking from enemy sides are done in straight style. Yet, even the straight parts are lost in the crowd of talking styles.

    Examples tell more.

    Black lives matter” and “All lives matter”are two simple facts that are equally true when they are meant in the straight style. Now start every word with a capital letter and refashion the style as metaphor, mimicry, sarcasm or slogans. What happens?

    Guest Editorial

    Founded in 2011, the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) comprises nine cities, counties, and Pueblos surrounding the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Since I was hired as executive director in 2015, we have worked together to ensure that LANL is responsive to the issues and concerns of our northern New Mexico communities.

    RCLC has been the sole organization to go to the U.S. Congress and request increases for cleanup of nuclear waste at LANL. These requests have continued to increase from $184 million in 2016, up to $191 million in 2017, and a $217 million request for 2018. These funds bring critical jobs to northern New Mexico to remediate polluted land and water, making our communities safer and more environmentally sound.

  • I’m Mick Rich, and I’m running for the U.S. Senate. I’m not a career politician. I’m an outsider and a proven job creator.

    From the time I was in grade school, I wanted to build big things. I worked my way through college in construction and started my own company here in New Mexico. 

    Along the way, learning Hard Hat Values. 

    What are Hard Hat Values? Always do your best work. Use teamwork for every job. And do what it takes to get the job done. 

    Thirty-five years ago, I chose to start my construction business in New Mexico, because I loved the beauty of this state and the character of its people, and I knew I could make a difference here. This is where my wife, Marion, and I chose to make our home and raise our family.

    With the help of Marion and our four children, along with the efforts of scores of skilled and dedicated employees, I have helped to build communities around our state.

    New Mexico’s strongest resource is you and me, the people. People who work hard, treat one another with respect, and do what it takes to get the job done. We care for others and take pride our in our lives. That’s Hard Hat Values.


    Last year was about digging holes. This year’s recently completed legislative session was about filling holes – literally, figuratively and financially.

    It was also about working together. “We don’t want to be Congress,” they said again and again.

    During the 2017 session, budgeters frantically emptied the state’s reserves, school balances and other funds to fill a deficit caused by plunging oil and gas tax revenues. It was an unforgiving process.

    In recent weeks, they’ve talked about “backfilling,” replenishing reserves and fund balances and restoring agency budgets.

    Two of the big issues were crime and the unstable, man-made cavity beneath Carlsbad. Lawmakers finally stopped talking and approved funding to remediate the Carlsbad Brine Well. Even then I heard griping: Why should it be the state’s responsibility? Well, we’ve harvested boatloads of taxes from the industry for decades. We can’t suddenly wash our hands of its impacts. (Footnote: Debates about over-regulation suddenly fall flat when we have a spectacular failure of regulation, and in this case it was a failure of state regulation.)


    Ithink you should know that my deadline for writing is well before you receive the paper on Wednesday. So needless to say, I feel like I need to comment on the events last week, in Parkland, Florida.


    As a nation, we will never come to agreement on gun control. I believe that the issue of mental health is too difficult of topic to tackle in a short-term solutions kind of way.

    So, when I hear the statements made by so many after a shooting that, “Now isn’t the time to talk, it’s a time to heal,” we have to realize that it happens so often that we are never talking about it.

    If that is the case, then I say let’s change the conversation! Let us look at it from a perspective at 180 degrees. What school is doing something that is making a shift in the area of bullying? Someone, somewhere is doing this work at gold standard level. If that is the case, then I call on all media outlets to sing their praises again and again.

  • The Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer published this editorial Feb. 12 on due process amid recent abuse allegations.

    The American principle of due process should be used neither as a political football nor a reason to excuse credibly accused abusers who are unlikely to face criminal or civil proceedings. Doing so undermines faith in the criminal justice system and makes it more difficult for victims to receive justice and for the innocent to clear their names.

    And, yet, that’s precisely what the Trump administration has been doing, beginning with the president himself.

    “Peoples (sic) lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Donald Trump tweeted Saturday. “Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

    The president seemed to be responding to reports about how his administration egregiously handled allegations of domestic abuse by a top White House aide, though some believe it was in defense of a Republican donor, Steve Wynn.

  • Japan News published this editorial on why no improvement is possible in Korea relations without denuclearization.

    It is obvious that Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, has intensified his dialogue offensive to win over South Korea.

    Precautions need to be taken against a situation in which a rift would emerge in international efforts to contain North

    Korea, while there is no progress being made on the North Korean nuclear issue.

    In tandem with the opening of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a high-level North Korean delegation visited South Korea and held talks with South Korean President Moon Jae In. Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the North Korean leader, handed a personal letter from Kim Jong Un to Moon and asked Moon to visit North Korea at an early date. The letter was said to contain the leader’s willingness to improve South-North relations.

    Kim Yo Jong, as a special envoy for Kim Jong Un, joined the delegation led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea. It is the first visit to South Korea by a direct descendant of the North’s three generations of supreme leaders, which began with Kim Il Sung.

  • By Finance New Mexico

    For evidence of the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA)’s power to stimulate the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, New Mexico residents need look no further than the massive industrial building at 2600 Camino Entrada in Santa Fe.
    The former home of CleanAIR Systems and Caterpillar Inc. is now the world headquarters for Meow Wolf Inc., a leader in the vibrant “experience economy” that expects to employ as many as 360 highly skilled workers over the next five years. Its genesis was a City of Santa Fe-backed LEDA loan and grant package that enabled the original owners to capitalize on their company’s rapid growth.

    Infrastructure improvements like this building are what the proponents of LEDA envisioned 25 years ago when the law was passed: Allowing local governments to invest taxpayer dollars in promising private-sector businesses can bring jobs, skills training and permanent physical assets to New Mexico communities.

  • School buses can be hazardous to your children’s health.

    Most school buses, including New Mexico’s, are powered with diesel. The diesel fumes contain enough toxic substances to cause an identifiable health hazard to children (and others, especially the drivers) who are regularly exposed to the fumes.

    Documentation is ample. Diesel exhaust has more than 40 toxic air contaminants, including nitrogen oxides and known or suspected cancer-causing substances, such as benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde.

    Diesel soot from school buses has also been associated with reduced lung function and increased incidences of pneumonia in children, according to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. And New Mexico has a respiratory disease problem.

    “Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in New Mexico, with an estimated 150,000 adults and 47,000 children currently having the disease,” said a report from the state Health Department. It notes that asthma contributes to reduced quality of life and health care costs.

    Chief Medical Officer, United Healthcare New Mexico

    If you haven’t had a flu shot, the CDC recommends still getting vaccinated. The flu season typically peaks in February and can continue as late as May. You can help protect yourself and your family – as well as others you may contact – by getting a flu shot today.

    If you are a typically healthy person who’s had a flu shot but think you may be experiencing a common case of the flu, start by calling your primary care physician, visiting a convenience care retail clinic or urgent care clinic, or consider a virtual visit that lets you see a doctor on your mobile device or computer.

    Emergency rooms should be reserved for medical emergencies.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are very sick or who are at high risk of serious flu complications should be treated with antiviral drugs (such as oseltamivir, generic Tamiflu) as soon as possible if they develop flu symptoms.

    Your primary care physician can assess whether an antiviral medication is right for you.

    The greatest concern with flu is for the very young, very old, or people with co-existing medical conditions.

  • “(T)he state of our state is strong – and getting stronger,” Gov. Susana Martinez claimed in the State of the State address Jan. 16.

    My assessment is that the state of the state is weak and, maybe, getting a little less weak. Candidates seeking a say in our future give quickly passing attention to fundamental problems.

    Deb Haaland, Albuquerque candidate for Congress, is fond of endorsements from people outside New Mexico. A recent endorsement is from the Congressional Black Caucus. She has 12 endorsements from individual members of Congress, says her section at medium.com. Her website is debforcongress.com.

    My confusion is my general problem with endorsements: Why I should trust these other guys, especially the non-New Mexicans and especially members of Congress? If Haaland gets to Congress, I hope she represents her district without obligations to members of Congress from other states. Haaland has a bunch of other endorsements from New Mexicans, presently and formerly in office, from people she calls “community leaders” and tribes.

  • By Finance New Mexico

    One advantage of running a small business with family or friends is that the principals know and are committed to one another and the success of their enterprise. But intimate partnerships also have potential relationship-based perils, some of which could cause work-force demoralization, legal problems and even failure.

    The trick to making a small venture succeed is to acknowledge these risks from the start and institute processes to contain or minimize them.

    Conflicts are inevitable, so prepare for them: Disputes arise in all businesses, but they’re harder to conceal in a small operation that doesn’t have a formal complaints-resolution process or human resources personnel. Business disagreements can carry over from the partners’ private lives, with long-standing feuds, rivalries and disagreements poisoning business decision-making.

    Partners should refrain from taking sides in a business dispute based on loyalty or emotion; only facts should matter when deciding a course of action.

  • Gov. Susana Martinez just gave her eighth and final state-of-the-state speech. I’ve covered them all. She’s given pretty much the same speech year after year, and in her consistencies are strengths and weaknesses.

    The first year her priorities were education reform, corruption, and repeal of the law allowing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. In succeeding years she added increased penalties for child abuse, economic development, “job-creating infrastructure projects” like water and road projects, pre-K expansion, higher salaries for starting teachers, and tougher penalties for repeat DWI and violent crime.

    Her education reform platform has had different planks, but in her first seven years it included ending social promotion (passing third graders who can’t read at grade level), curbing school administration spending, and raising pay for new teachers and “exemplary” teachers.

    In her first year, she proposed and got letter grades for schools, calling it a “system that is uniquely our own” and a way to identify struggling schools. Educators call it demoralizing and ineffective.

    D-Dist. 8  (Colfax, Guadalupe, Harding, Mora, Quay, San Miguel and Taos)

    As the new year commences, we look to the current legislative session with optimistic caution. Despite a modest increase in state revenue, the budget must address growing state and local needs, federal tax changes and the need for gradual tax modernization. 

    We will approach the 2018 legislative session with a delicate balance of spending, investing, saving and vision-building for the future. We will prioritize the state budget to address people’s real needs, reinvigorating our residents’ confidence and their roles in our future economy. The legislature will focus heavily on mental health, public safety, benefits to our elderly, child protective services and health services for underserved communities. We will seek to stabilize the state’s revenue to allow for more strategic and long-term planning. I will work hard during the session to improve the lives of constituents throughout the state of New Mexico.

  • The Los Angeles Times published this editorial Jan. 17 on a Congressional bid to preserve net neutrality.

    Congressional Republicans breathed new life last year into the all-but-ignored Congressional Review Act, using it to reverse a wide range of Obama administration regulations on the environment, consumer protection and workplace issues. Now Senate Democrats are trotting out the act to undo a Republican effort to let cable and phone companies meddle with the internet. This particular turnabout is most definitely fair play.

    At issue is the Federal Communications Commission’s move not just to repeal the strict net neutrality rules it adopted in 2015, but also to renounce virtually all of the commission’s regulatory authority over broadband internet providers. Its new “Restoring Internet Freedom” order, adopted last month on a party-line vote, opens the door to the likes of Comcast, AT&T and Verizon giving deep-pocketed websites and services priority access to their customers for a fee. It also lifts the ban on broadband providers blocking or slowing down traffic from legal online sites and services, provided they do so openly. Such steps could cause unprecedented distortion in what has been a free and open internet.

    Rio Grande Foundation

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is hardly a flashy agency. News releases about drug approvals and genetic testing don’t get quite as much fanfare as NASA’s latest mission or the Pentagon’s latest maneuver. But the FDA’s role as a gatekeeper of innovation has increased significantly over the past few decades, with billions of lives sitting on the sidelines. Now, with a rash of decisions awaiting the guidance of agency officials, New Mexicans have a lot to gain with prudent FDA decision-making that prioritizes customer choice over bureaucratic meddling.

    The Land of Enchantment enjoys some of the highest sun exposure levels in the continental United States, but this pleasant weather presents a double-edged sword. Melanoma incidence in the state is higher than the United States average, and the genetic component of the disease makes it all-too-easy for many to develop a malignancy. Personal genetic testing services like 23andMe have been able to point to some of the genetic variants that increase melanoma risk, pointing last year to the suppression of a gene known as BASP1.

  • Seniors, take note: A state agency is about to terminate the contract of the organization that provides senior services to most of New Mexico.

    The termination demand has already been delivered, but a transition is in place, through Feb. 1. The organization that got axed is complying with the transition process while also fighting the decision.

    This potentially affects roughly 70,000 seniors who receive services such as meals at senior centers, home delivered meals, transportation, and caregiver respite care through government-authorized programs delivered by local providers.

    The state assures us services to seniors will not be disrupted. But a number of officials, including a few state legislators and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, are crying foul and demanding that the state rescind its decision. They do not believe the state’s assurance of uninterrupted services to seniors. Lujan’s office said he will ask the relevant federal agency to investigate.