Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez will be the keynote speaker for the fall commencement ceremony at Western New Mexico University (WNMU) on Friday, December 12, at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Theatre. Some 265 degrees will be conferred during the ceremony including certificates, associate, baccalaureate and master degrees. Lieutenant Governor Sanchez is an active member of the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association (NLGA) and currently serves as the West Regional Chairman. As Lieutenant Governor, he serves on several boards and commissions including the State Board of Finance; the Military Base Planning Commission; the Mortgage Finance Authority; the Spaceport Authority; and the Community Development Council.
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) successfully included several key provisions in the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to strengthen national security and New Mexico’s military bases, and boost the economy. The NDAA sets the Department of Defense (DOD) spending levels and policies for the upcoming fiscal year. Heinrich fought to include the following provisions in the FY15 NDAA: Military Equitable Reimbursement Act (S. 1669): Senator Heinrich introduced a bill with Senator Vitter (R-La.) that would allow the DOD to retain payments for costs incurred during support of non-governmental film productions. Currently, DOD units can accept reimbursement for expenses associated with the use of military assets for production. Operationally Responsive Space (ORS): Authorizes $20 million to continue the ORS program at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. Since elected to Congress, Senator Heinrich has worked to keep the ORS office at Kirtland Air Force Base and continue small satellite research and development by rejecting multiple proposed terminations. Air Force T-1A Aircraft Modernization/Replacement: Senator Heinrich worked with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to support language in the NDAA requiring a report on the options to modernize or replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 178 T-1A Jayhawks.
US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $9.7 million in grants to 62 community-based and non-profit organizations, and educational institutions to conduct training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged (including tribal) and veteran farmers and ranchers. These awards are distributed through the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the “2501 Program.” The 2501 Program has distributed more than $66 million to 250 partners since 2010. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded assistance to include military veterans. The program is administered by the USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach.
Silver City High School senior Victoria De Los Santos will be headed to London the day after Christmas to dance on London Bridge. She was selected as one of 700 dancers and cheerleaders from across the United States for this honor. Students auditions earlier this year with the Universal Dance Association. She will also have the opportunity to see Buckingham Palace and Hard Rock Casino among other sites.