KUNM

Marisa Demarco

Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent more than a decade in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She covered poverty and public health until September 2016 when she became a general assignment reporter at KUNM. 

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Keller And Lewis Faceoff For ABQ Mayor

Oct 4, 2017
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Voters whittled the eight-candidate ballot for mayor down to just two contenders: state Auditor Tim Keller and Westside City Councilor Dan Lewis. About 97,000 people voted in Albuquerque’s election on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and that’s significantly more ballots than the dismal citywide election four years ago.  "Today citizens of our city came out to vote like they haven’t in a long time," Keller told a crowd of supporters.

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Employers in Albuquerque will not have to offer paid sick leave to workers in the city for the foreseeable future. Sick leave opponents edged out supporters by less than 1 percent. The final tallies in the municipal election rolled in near midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 3. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Will voters in Albuquerque decide on Tuesday, Oct. 3, that businesses in the city have to provide paid sick leave to workers? Opponents say it will hurt small businesses, and advocates say it will lead to healthier communities. Another facet of the debate is emerging: the necessity of paid sick leave for people who’ve been assaulted.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The question before Albuquerque voters on the ballot tomorrow: Should all employees be able to earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work? Advocates who help people experiencing violence at home say it’s crucial.

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All over the country, people who signed up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have been speaking out about President Trump’s decision to rescind that program. And a federal judge said on Thursday that he’s going to try to rule quickly on the lawsuits filed to challenge the end of DACA, which shielded many college students.

Down in Las Cruces, New Mexico State University sits just 40 miles from the border. Former Republican Gov. Garrey Carruthers is the chancellor there. He said the university has no idea how many DACA students attend NMSU, because they don’t ask people about their status when they enroll. Trump’s decision, he said, was a violation of trust.

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Let’s Talk New Mexico 9/21 8a: It’s the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds heading into the municipal election on October 3. Some mayoral and Council candidates in Albuquerque are calling for more police officers on the force and a new police chief. What do you think it will take to decrease the number of violent crimes and property crimes?

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Hundreds of young people who were brought into the U.S. as kids without citizenship status attend colleges around New Mexico. Many were shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. President Trump announced the end of DACA Tuesday, Sept. 5, and will begin phasing out the program in March, which will affect 800,000 recipients nationwide.

Hundreds of people marched at the University of New Mexico campus Tuesday afternoon to demand equality and rights for immigrant students.  

succo via Pixabay / public domain

National elections get a lot of attention and press, but local ones? Not so much. And some folks say it’s those local races that have a bigger impact on your everyday life.

There are a slew of candidates running for mayor in Albuquerque. And the last two city elections here saw low voter turnout. The deadline to register to vote in October is the end of day on Tuesday, Sept. 5, but Viki Harrison of Common Cause says that’s way too early. 

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Fifteen states and D.C. let people register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. But that’s not the case here, and for the election in Albuquerque in October, the last day you can register to vote is Tuesday, Sept. 5. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Before last year’s presidential election, University of New Mexico student Joshua Ramirez was paying careful attention to what the candidates were saying about national security and foreign policy. He’s a third-generation soldier and a Republican. He’s already served for a year in Kuwait, and anytime through October, he could be called to duty.

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The New Mexico attorney general had some sharp words late last week about a lawsuit filed by bail bondsmen. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the AG’s Office called it  “patently meritless” and “desperate.” 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People have been demonstrating and hold vigils around the country—and here at home—ever since violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday where a woman was killed. A peaceful solidarity event at the University of New Mexico Tuesday night in Albuquerque drew a large and sometimes solemn crowd.  

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Nuclear weapons contractors around the U.S. made mistakes when shipping explosives and toxic chemicals at least 25 times in the last five years, according to government records. And an investigation found that regulators imposed only a few, minor penalties for those potentially dangerous errors. 

Who Calls Police?

Aug 10, 2017
Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC

KUNM Call In Show 8/17 8a: Call now - 505-277-5866 (local in Albuquerque). Not everyone reaches out to law enforcement when they're in danger or when they're victims of a crime. With the federal government trying to crack down on undocumented immigrants in New Mexico, advocates say even more people here are unwilling to call police for help. But this is an ongoing issue here and all over the country.

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Several branches of law enforcement in the Albuquerque area participated in a sting last month that targeted people who were trafficking minors for sex. But the operation netted adult sex workers, and the agencies took different approaches to dealing with them.

Via compfight CC

President Trump Tweeted Wednesday morning that transgender people will again be barred from the U.S. military.

It’s unclear what this means for the thousands of transgender service members in the military today. The president’s press secretary said the White House and Department of Defense will have to work together to figure that out. The Pentagon had already delayed accepting transgender applicants into the military through at least January 2018.

Tony Webster via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

A federal sting last year resulted in the arrest of an unusually high number of African-Americans in Albuquerque, and mostly vulnerable, low-level offenders—not the bosses of big drug and gun rings.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

There are about 1,400 Iraqi nationals in the United States who could be sent back to Iraq any day now under new Trump Administration policies no matter how long they’ve lived here. 

One refugee in Albuquerque has been fearing his time is up in the country, even though he spent years helping the U.S. military during the Iraq War. Immigration authorities have ordered him to report to their offices for removal on Thursday, July 13. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

About 1,400 Iraqis could be deported from the U.S. under President Trump’s new policies. A federal judge temporarily halted their deportation through Monday, July 24, but a man who lives in Albuquerque has been ordered to report this week for removal from the U.S.—it could be dangerous for him. 

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Lawmakers and educators in New Mexico have been talking about the achievement gap in public schools for years—and trying to figure out how to close it. Testimony in a landmark education trial underway in Santa Fe touched on early childhood education programs this week. The lawsuit says they’re crucial to making sure students of color, children from families with low incomes and English language-learners succeed. But those programs aren’t widely available. 

Local government has to provide millions of meals every year to schools and to people who are incarcerated. It’s big money for whoever’s providing that food. The state auditor found it’s mostly national companies that get those multi-million-dollar food contracts.

Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

More than three years after the health care expansion, 43 percent of New Mexico’s total population is signed up for Medicaid. But budgets are tight, and the Human Services Department is trying to figure out how to make it all work. Some of the  proposals presented at a public meeting in Albuquerque were contentious.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Donald Trump is changing how it effectively prioritizes immigrants for deportation. Immigrant rights advocates in New Mexico say these days, anyone can become a target. That unpredictability is forcing people to make some hard choices. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Acoma Pueblo is considered the oldest continually inhabited community in North America. And only about a hundred people or so still speak the Acoma Keres language. Many of those fluent speakers gathered earlier this month in Acoma to record their voices, saving words, concepts and culture. They’re hoping that someday soon, young people will speak the language, too.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

All around the country, questions about law enforcement and free speech are coming to the fore as police clash with demonstrators. Scores of officers were sent to the Milo Yiannopoulos event at UNM in January where hundreds protested the extremist speaker. We made multiple public records requests, and now, months later, we know the total cost to taxpayers. 

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New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the union, and advocates fighting for people in poverty are alarmed at President Trump’s proposed budget.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

After officers shot and killed a man camping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains in 2014, outcry over how Albuquerque police deal with people who have mental illness reached a fever pitch. More than three years later, Bernalillo County announced on Tuesday, May 23, that it’s rolling out long-promised teams of mental health experts to respond to crisis calls. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s been almost two years since an Environmental Protection Agency contractor released millions of gallons of acid mine drainage into the Animas and San Juan Rivers. A plume of contaminants and heavy metals stained the rivers yellow and flowed from Colorado into New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.

Elaine Baumgartel / KUNM

The state Supreme Court decided that there’s still a way for Gov. Susana Martinez and lawmakers to work out their differences during a special session, so it doesn’t have to weigh in right now. The high court canceled a hearing Monday in a case the Legislature brought against the executive about some of her many vetoes. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

A lawyer with the Department of Justice said in Federal Court on Wednesday, May 10, that the Albuquerque Police Department has made “remarkable progress” in its reform process. But Judge Robert Brack said a recent report is troubling.

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