Alamogordo is currently one of the centers of the political universe, and my grandfather was one of its founders. How has it suddenly become so important?

Couy Griffin, leader of Cowboys for Trump, was just barred from political office as Otero County commissioner. State District Court Judge Francis Mathew removed Griffin from his elected position “effective immediately” and banned him from seeking further public office, citing the 14th Amendment’s clause barring those who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding state or federal office if they have engaged “in insurrection or rebellion” based on his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. According to the Washington Post, the last time this happened was 1869, during Reconstruction.

Two other political stories from Alamogordo have not received as much attention but may be equally important. In early August, Otero County commissioners passed an abortion prohibition and a resolution designating the town of 31,000 as a “sanctuary city for the unborn” despite public opposition. In response, a local group of women organized a large protest, using both street demonstrations and a popular social media site. By early September, the group had submitted more petition signatures than needed for a special election to overturn the decision. This also has the potential to greatly increase voter participation, especially among young women in the midterm election.

Julie Fisher Melton is a retired political scientist and former program officer at the Kettering Foundation. She and her husband moved to Santa Fe in 2016.

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