This week, New Mexico in Focus features reaction to confirmation hearings for Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland. The New Mexico congresswoman spent parts of two days this week in front of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources defending her stance on fossil fuel production and parrying thrusts from conservative senators, some of whom called her environmental stance “radical.” Correspondent Antonia Gonzales speaks to a group of prominent Native women about the hearings, then The Line opinion panel offers its thoughts. 

The combination of a limited housing supply and a high demand for rental properties in Albuquerque is causing a surge in rental prices, which is frustrating some tenants who are looking for somewhere to live that fits both their needs and their budget. NMiF Correspondent Megan Kamerick talked with tenant Thomas Hughes about his difficulty finding somewhere suitable to live, and to UNM Law Professor Serge Martinez about how these increases are especially problematic for younger and lower-income people. 

The Line opinion panel also looks at the choices in front of school boards across the state as they decide whether to return students and educators to school buildings for the remainder of the school year. The recent decision by Albuquerque Public Schools to allow a limited return, but stay mostly online made headlines, but the APS board’s choice doesn’t stand alone among New Mexico school districts. The group also looks at the advancement of the budget on the House side of the Legislature. After a disastrous prediction as the pandemic settled in, the state’s economy has bounced back somewhat and lawmakers are looking to spend more than they did last year.   

New Mexico in Focus airs on NMPBS 5.1 (KNME HD) Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28 at 7 a.m.       

Line Panelists
Merritt Allen, Vox Optima public relations 
Eric Griego, former state senator 
Kristelle Siarza, Siarza Social Digital 


Native Community Reacts to Haaland Hearing 
Antonia Gonzales 

Kiera Toya, National UNITY Council Co-President, Jemez Pueblo  
Shayai Lucero, Floral Designer/STEM Expert, Acoma/Laguna Pueblo 
Holly Cook Macarro, Spirit Rock Consulting, Red Lake Nation 

Pandemic Compounds Housing Problems 
Megan Kamerick 

Thomas Hughes, rental tenant 
Serge Martinez, UNM Law School professor 

New Mexico in Focus is the New Mexico PBS prime-time news magazine show covering the events, issues, and people that are shaping life in New Mexico and the Southwest. NMiF takes a multi-layered look at social, political, economic health, education, and art issues, and explores them in-depth with a critical eye to give them context beyond the “news of the moment.”

The producer of New Mexico in Focus is Matt Grubs, with Kathy Wimmer, associate producer. The NM PBS Public Affairs executive producer is Kevin McDonald.

The McCune Charitable Foundation provides NMiF funding, along with viewers like you.

Get updates, watch and follow New Mexico PBS on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and more.