These women rule

Xochitl Torres Small, who at 34 years old was elected to Congress for a seat in southern New Mexico. Daniel Hayes

Governor, state of New Mexico commemorate Juneteenth

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Saturday (June 19) issued the following statement in observance of Juneteenth, commemorating the date in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger read the federal orders in Galveston, Texas, informing enslaved people in Texas they were free, nearly two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation:

"Today we celebrate the human dignity and freedom of Black Americans while being reminded, as we should be, of the irrevocable original sin of this country and its long-lasting impacts, the effects of which we continue to grapple with as a nation. Let this be a day of both joyous community celebration and recommitment to actively upholding the principle that all persons are created equal - and must have equal protection under the law. May we continue to work together as a state to enact policies and build frameworks that acknowledge and understand the realities of racism and take meaningful action to correct its impacts."

Juneteenth has been a New Mexico state holiday since 2006, commemorated on the third Saturday of June every year.

Heinrich: Big win for Small, New Mexico

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement in support of the President Joe Biden's announcement that he will nominate Xochitl Torres Small to serve as the Undersecretary for Rural Development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Torres Small, who is from Las Cruces, New Mexico, previously served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's Third Congressional District.

"President Biden could not have found a better suited person to lead his administration's rural economic development work than Xochitl Torres Small. When she served alongside me in New Mexico's Congressional Delegation, I was impressed with Xochitl's ability to bring people together and solve a wide array of problems for her constituents in southern New Mexico. Her experience and her dedicated and pragmatic approach to public service will be incredibly valuable at a time when rural communities across the country recover from the pandemic, diversify their economies, and build long-term, sustainable growth.

"I can't wait to support her nomination and work with her once again to advance key investments in rural economies including universal broadband deployment, affordable housing, clean water and clean energy infrastructure, and assistance for small business owners."

MVD ends automatic issuance of temporary license extensions

The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division is no longer issuing temporary driver's license extensions to customers whose licenses expired during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temporary license extensions were issued because of the Division's limited capacity to serve customers in person. Appointments are now readily available at MVD offices statewide. Customers are urged either to renew their licenses online at mvdonline.com if their license has been expired for less than one year, or to make an appointment at mvd.newmexico.gov/mvd-direct-appointments.

In-person service remains by appointment only. MVD issued more than 620,000 temporary extensions during the life of the program.

New Mexico bumped up to 49th in the nation in child well-being

New Mexico is no longer ranked last for child well-being by the national 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has New Mexico ranked at 49th - up from 50th last year. The higher ranking correlates with improvements the state was seeing in child well-being prior to the start of the pandemic.

This year's ranking is based on the most recent comprehensive data, most of which are from 2019, so this ranking does not reflect the hardships many families have faced since the pandemic began.

The national Data Book tracks a total of 16 indicators of child well-being, including issues such as child poverty, fourth-grade reading scores, child and teen death rates, and teen birth rates, that are grouped under four domains - economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

--Staff report

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