Editorial content.

By Carla J. Sonntag
President and Founder, New Mexico Business Coalition

New Mexico is the land of enchantment.

Our state is blessed with breathtaking natural vistas and a rich multicultural history. And our people are some of the warmest and kindest you will ever meet.

With all of those blessings you would think our great state would be prospering and rank at the top of every national indicator in growth, jobs, and education. Unfortunately, that is just not the case.

In June 2017, New Mexico had an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent, and it was ranked 42nd by Forbes for growth prospects. Its poverty rate is 20.4 percent, and New Mexico's college attainment is just 26.5 percent. The state also ranks 49th for educational quality.

How do we explain to our children that we, the business and political leaders of our state, have failed to provide them with the prosperity and opportunity they deserve?

Well it's time we stop explaining our failures and start taking the bold and necessary steps to secure a future for young New Mexicans and attract talented people from other parts of the country. One of the things we can do is let employees decide if they want to join a union rather than forcing them to do so.

Right-to-work laws allow workers to opt out of union membership and dues without fear of losing their jobs. Twenty eight states have right-to-work laws on their books, including nearly all of New Mexico's neighbors. But thanks to a recent federal court decision, local governments can pass their own right-to-work ordinances. And that is exactly what Sandoval County and the City of Rio Rancho have decided to do.

As President of the New Mexico Business Coalition, I support the officials of those jurisdictions in their decision. I am proud to sponsor and include the New Mexico Business Coalition in a letter of support which can be read on our website at nmbizcoalition.org. Other business organizations, community leaders, and liberty-oriented nonprofits have co-signed and we are glad to have them all.

There will be the usual complaints and attacks from organized labor, which has fought right-to-work everywhere. They say that right-to-work increases poverty. But that's ridiculous. New Mexico already has an unacceptable poverty level without right-to-work protections for our workers, and California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, and it is also not right-to-work.

Union leaders will also say that right-to-work is a Republican attack on workers. Not true; in fact states that have traditionally voted Democrat have recently gone right-to-work, including Wisconsin and Michigan.

Another argument against right-to-work is that it allows workers who don't join the union to "free ride" on union representation without paying for it. This is also false. Unions can choose to only represent their members; the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), for example, has thousands of people covered by members-only contracts.

The truth is that right-to-work is good for jobs and good for growth. As one spokesperson for a manufacturers association put it in the New York Times, "75 percent of businesses rated locating in a right-to-work state as 'important' or 'very important.' Moreover, up to half of businesses consider right-to-work as a pass/fail factor when deciding where to invest. They view right-to-work, as dubbed in Site Selection Magazine, as 'the box that must be checked.'

It has always been important for economic growth, but as more and more states go right-to-work, it has become an absolute necessity. And it is popular, too: In New Mexico, right-to-work polls favorably at 60 percent. Nationally, nearly three out of four Americans approve of right-to-work, according to a Gallup survey.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the New Mexico legislature will pass a state right-to-work anytime soon. That is why we are supporting the push for local ordinances in Rio Rancho, Sandoval County, and any other jurisdiction in the state that wants to take the prosperity of its citizens into its own hands.


The New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC) is a statewide nonprofit association that works to improve the business environment for companies and the quality of life for all New Mexicans. NMBC's nonpartisan educational efforts focus on providing New Mexicans the facts about regulation, legislation and elected officials' decisions affecting them.

Dear Mr. Mayor,

As a resident of Silver City for thirty-one years, I am writing to you in hope that you will not consider changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People Day to please a small minority of people. I was disgusted to read this in the Silver City Daily Press today that it was even being considered. Columbus Day is a day that most Americans have celebrated and enjoyed for most of their lives.

Indigenous people have Indian Nations where they don’t have to celebrate Columbus Day. I happen to have Native American blood in my ancestry, too. I am an American who is tired of all this sudden offense that people are feigning and causing idiots to tear down beautiful statues, erase our history and insult America. If it is so bad, why are they here?

Dear Community,

Thank you for your support of the only charter school in Grant County. Aldo Leopold Charter School is a State Public Charter School that offers a free education to all students in grades 6 through 12. Currently our enrollment is 167 students. We are at our capacity in the current facility, but next year the entire school will be moving to the WNMU campus if all remodeling goes as planned, and we hope to achieve our charter capacity of 210 students in the future.

As part of our school’s commitment to active transparency, we would like to update you on the aspect of our school that has to do with the management of risk. As part of our curriculum of Experiential Education, we spend a good bit of time learning outside the classroom. Our mission is to provide an engaging and challenging educational program emphasizing direct experience, inquiry learning, stimulation of the creative process, and stewardship of our community and natural environment. We take our mission seriously and want to manage the inherent risk involved with experiencial education. This type of learning requires the careful evaluation and implementation of policies and procedures for making these experiences as safe and effective as possible.

To the Editor:

To give a few details to the story on President Shepard's evaluation. The Regent's finding that President Shepard meets expectations immediately releases a retention bonus of $25,000 to President Shepard. The contract of no other president of a comprehensive university or college (Eastern, Highlands and Northern New Mexico) provides for a bonus of any kind.

Alfred Milligan
Silver City NM

In the age of social media, drama travels fast.

Parents of pre-teens and teens whose doctors recommend they receive the cancer-preventing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine might find plenty of unsubstantiated reasons on the internet to not get the vaccine: it’s easy for stories—true or not—to be uploaded to a chat room and read across the globe in a matter of hours.

By Senators John Arthur Smith, Steven P. Neville, Mary Kay Papen

We and other legislators had hoped that the regents of New Mexico State University, in accepting the recently announced retirement of Chancellor Garrey Carruthers’ at the end of his contract next year, nonetheless would ask him to stay on for two more years. Chancellor Carruthers’ record of vision and leading the institution is outstanding, and big challenges lie ahead. The university needs him.

NMSU and all of our public universities in New Mexico today are facing extraordinary, difficult circumstances driven by state budget cuts and unstable state revenues. In his time leading New Mexico State, Chancellor Carruthers has made the hard decisions necessary to maintain this key institution, body and soul. His long, distinguished career demonstrates real commitment to the university, to New Mexico, and to his community.

Dear Editor:

After sitting on the sidelines and watching the GRMC controversy unfold, the air is beginning to clear. The contract problems with the Cancer Center took the spotlight and pretty much overshadowed the selection of a new CEO. Then the selection of Taffy Arias was announced without much fanfare. Not much to get excited about. Probably just another poor soul to sit in the executive office and watch the hospital continue it's spiral into oblivion.

But what is happening? All of a sudden the new CEO is on a fast track tombring GRMC back as a viable entity. Yes, it is too early for jubilation, but the selection of the CEO is certainly looking like a winner.

Editor's Note: It has come to the attention of the editor that some of this information is misleading and non-factual. Reader beware. 

The purpose of the Foundation is to create, maintain and administer assets for the benefit of Western New Mexico University a state educational institution, located in Silver City, New Mexico

For years the WNMU Foundation has been an important source of scholarship money for students of Western. However, it now appears that the focus has shifted from providing scholarships for students to employment opportunities for selected people and funding the Presidential Discretionary Fund.

Live from Silver City

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The Beat as a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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