Headlines: Voting Begins, Gubernatorial Debate, Obama Approves Storm Aid...

Oct 7, 2014

Credit Photo via www.multiamerican.scpr.org

Absentee Voting Starts Tuesday In New MexicoThe Associated Press

New Mexicans can start casting ballots in general election races although Election Day remains several weeks away.

Voters can go to their county clerk's office starting Tuesday to cast ballots. That's also the final day for New Mexicans to register to vote and clerks can begin mailing absentee ballots requested by voters.

Early voting will expand to more locations on Oct. 18 when counties open satellite polling places across the state. There will be 19 early voting locations in Bernalillo County.

Election Day is Nov. 4.

Four years ago when New Mexico voters last elected a governor, 49 percent of ballots were cast before Election Day with absentee and early voting. Election Day voting accounted for the remainder of balloting.

New Mexico Governor Rivals Spar In Spanish Debate - The Associated Press

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic challenger Gary King squared off yesterday in a Spanish-language debate aimed at the state's Hispanic voters.

The debate marked a growing trend nationwide with more candidates agreeing to Spanish-language debates as the Latino voting bloc grows.

The two met in a KLUZ-TV Univision-sponsored forum.

Martinez answered her questions in Spanish, while King used an interpreter. They sparred over the economy, education and a state law that allows immigrants in the country illegally to have a NM driver's license.

According to the U.S. Census, around 47 percent of the state's population is Latino — the largest percentage of any state.

3rd Congressional District Candidate Forum Planned - The Associated Press

Candidates for the 3rd Congressional District of northern New Mexico are to appear at a forum later this month sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County.

The group says the candidate forum is scheduled for Oct. 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the downtown Santa Fe public library's community room.

Three-term Democratic incumbent Ben Ray Lujan is running against Republican challenger Jefferson Byrd, who lost a bid for the congressional seat two years ago. Republican Thomas Hook of Portales is a write-in candidate.

Obama Oks Aid For New Mexico Storm, Flood Damage - The Associated Press

Local governments and some other entities in New Mexico are now eligible for federal assistance to recover from flooding and storm damage suffered during last summer.

The White House says a disaster declaration by President Barack Obama applies to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations in Guadalupe, Rio Arriba, and San Miguel counties and in the Pueblo of Acoma.

That part of the declaration applies to repair or replacement of facilities or for emergency work between July 27 and Aug. 5.

The declaration also authorizes federal funding hazard mitigation measures in all areas within the state.

Medical Pricing Website Proposed In New Mexico  - The Associated Press

An independent think tank is recommending New Mexico establish a website that provides consumers with information about the cost of medical procedures and quality of care at hospitals.

In a new report, Think New Mexico said 13 states, including Arizona and Colorado, have websites allowing health care price comparisons by consumers and employers.

The group plans to push the proposal when the Legislature meets next year and says more price transparency could help make health care more affordable.

Todd Sandman of Presbyterian Healthcare Services said Monday it "makes a lot of sense" to provide more information on pricing and health care quality so consumers can make better choices about their medical services. But he said the health care provider hasn't endorsed any of the report's specific proposals.

Virgin Galactic Partners With Ted Turner Lodge - The Associated Press

Virgin Galactic is expanding lodging and entertainment options in New Mexico for its roster of passengers who hope to one day take flight into space.

The company says it's partnering with a lodge in Truth or Consequences that is owned by media mogul Ted Turner.

Aside from lodging, the Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa will offer Virgin Galactic customers eco-safaris on Turner's two ranches in southern New Mexico. Combined, the ranches cover more than 800 square miles.

Spaceport America, the world's first dedicated spaceport, is in a remote area, and the lack of luxury lodging has been an issue.

Virgin Galactic announced earlier this year it selected Hotel Encantado de Las Cruces as the preferred hotel for its customers, who will pay $250,000 a person to make the flights from the spaceport.