On behalf of over 800 members and supporters of the American Association of University Women, New Mexico, we urge the state Legislature to support the Redistricting Act, House Bill 211/Senate Bill 199.
Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our advocates have taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic and political — that impact women and girls. The betterment of New Mexico’s women and girls cannot be appropriately addressed until all eligible voters of our state know that their voices are heard and their votes matter. The only way to ensure that all citizens of the state are enfranchised is to ensure that the voting districts of New Mexico are fairly established.
By creating an independent redistricting commission to develop district maps that set political district boundaries, HB 211 would begin to eliminate bias. Let us remove redistricting steps from partisan politicians, thus mitigating the unfair advantage enjoyed by a majority party. This independent process would greatly reduce the possibility of a protracted, expensive litigation between the two major political parties, which is what occurred during the last two redistricting periods, costing New Mexico taxpayers more than $7 million.
Most importantly, the independent commission will create greater transparency and fairness in the redistricting process, giving voters the confidence that, yes, their votes matter and, yes, their voices will be heard.
Again, on behalf of the 800 members and supporters of AAUW NM, please support the Redistricting Act.
Association of University Women, New Mexico
Choice, but consequences
To Nancy Durell regarding her comment about the vaccine (“Stop mandatory vaccinations,” Letters to the Editor, Feb. 22). The vaccine is not mandated for anyone. Many have opted out. Opting out will have consequences, though, just like any decision you make. You may not be able to use public transportation or enter certain businesses, and you could possibly even lose your job. And, most importantly, you will delay herd immunity and possibly risk the lives of yourself and your family and friends.
No one is required to take the vaccine. But there are consequences to every decision you make in life. As in everything, you must take those into consideration when you make a choice.
Opinion, not news
Judith Haden has voiced my daily sentiment on seeing Milan Simonich’s column displayed prominently on the news pages (“No opinion on news pages,” Letters to the Editor, Feb. 22).
Please follow her suggestion, and politely request Simonich relocate his Ringside Seat column to the opinion page to promote his personal agenda about the state of the world. And tell him I will still read his opinions.
It appears to me that New Mexico is not following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations. Statistically, the New Mexico approach makes no sense if the goal is preventing deaths. Out of 443,107 deaths on Feb. 6, 359,956 were people 65 and over, whereas 35,956 were people 65 and under.
Unless we decide young lives are more important than the elderly, it makes no sense to first vaccinate 16 and older with a condition instead of all people 65 and over. It actually makes sense to vaccinate in order of date of birth from older to younger, while first protecting exposed health care workers and vulnerable people living in nursing homes and prisons.
A numbers game
Now that restaurants and entertainment venues are opening, I guess that it is not very politic to notice that the number of coronavirus positive tests are at about the same level or higher as when everything was locked down in July.
I do not understand why teachers who want so much to be back in their classrooms after being vaccinated for COVID-19 are such a low priority in New Mexico. A number of Santa Fe Public Schools employees have taken matters into their own hands by going to Texas and Colorado for a vaccination. This is something that I am considering for myself during spring break.
This does raise a question. Why should New Mexico teachers who care so much about returning safely to their classrooms have to go out of state to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Stephen E. Hauf