I profiled New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez for the nationally syndicated radio program Latino USA. Governor Martinez is the first Latina governor in the country. She’s also getting a lot of attention from the national Republican Party this year.
Rising Republican Star
In the Latino USA profile, we mention a recent Newsweek/the Daily Beast profile of Martinez: What New Mexico’s Governor Can Teach the GOP. Governor Martinez’s stance on immigration in that article was on people’s minds and it will be interesting to see how she approaches immigration issues in the future, both in the 2012 elections and beyond.
Albuquerque voters will be able to choose two new members of Congress in 2012.
Senator Jeff Bingaman (D) retired after five terms in office. Representative Martin Heinrich (D) left his seat in the 1st Congressional District to run for the open senate seat. That means his U.S House seat will be a race to watch.
Three Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination on the ballot in November – former Albuquerque mayor Marty Chavez, State Senator Eric Griego and Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham. I covered the Democratic 1st Congressional District primary for NMPolitics.net:
Chávez’s past may be a ‘double-edged sword’
Griego: ‘People want you to stand for something’
Grisham has already defied expectations
New Mexico has flown under the radar for years in the national immigration debate. Maybe it’s the state’s small population of about 2 million residents. It might also be the unique demographics – about 44% of New Mexicans identify as Hispanic or Latino. State and local leaders, especially in northern New Mexico, have adopted policies to protect immigrants from discrimination. New Mexico also currently lets anyone get a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. But, some immigrants’ rights advocates are raising concerns that federal policies and local politics are hurting the state’s tolerant culture.
I did two stories for KUNM as part of my fellowship with the Institute for Justice and Journalism’s Immigration in the Heartland program.
New Mexico’s Immigration History Shapes Debate Today
Secure Communities Targets Undocumented Immigrants In NM
In May 2011, I traveled to Turkey with a group of New Mexico reporters and writers. We met with Turkish journalists to talk about press freedom, culture and democracy. Many of our questions were about political and cultural changes in Turkey, a country that’s important for Europe and the Middle East. The Turkish journalists were open about their struggles and humble about the challenges they face, including death threats and lawsuits.
Some amazing families also invited us into their homes for dinner. Our conversations reminded me how important it is to connect with people around the world. It’s critical for journalists who want to write about the complex history and culture of Turkey.
Here’s a conversation we had about the trip on KNME-TV’s New Mexico In Focus
Immigration is a profoundly human experience. That’s what keeps pulling me toward this topic as a reporter.
This year, I’m focusing on immigration as a fellow with the Institute for Justice and Journalism. In March, I attended a week-long training program in Oklahoma City and Dallas. The other reporters were from states like Florida, Iowa, Colorado and Illinois. We learned about immigration law, research and census data and met with teens and families who shared their experiences of living in the U.S. without legal papers.
Back in Albuquerque, I’m looking for perspectives on immigration in New Mexico.
Albuquerque has a small but growing population of Iraqi residents. Many of them have been resettled in New Mexico as refugees. They have to overcome differences in language and culture, but many are also finding it difficult to start over after leaving behind careers and wealth in Iraq.
Iraqi Refugees Face Unique Challenges In New Mexico
The One Million Bones project aims to give people a tangible way to help raise awareness about genocide and help prevent it. The Albuquerque-based project asks people to craft a bone and donate 5 dollars. I was drawn to the program when it launched last year. The vision to create a display of a million bones in Washington D.C sounds a little bit gruesome but the creator is also incredibly hopeful about how empowering people to talk about genocide might lead to real change. My story on KUNM focused on how the project is being used in local classrooms.
Activism + Art To Prevent Genocide