Women are valued


Did you heard the good news? March was Women’s History Month!

We had 31 whole days to highlight history’s amazing women and celebrate centuries of achievement. The month has come and gone but exploring the history behind Women’s History Month is a worthy endeavor.

It began in Manhattan in 1909 as International Women’s Day, chosen to memorialize a meeting (held on the 28th day of February!) of activists, suffragists and the like. Over many years, and after a warm reception and wild popularity in Europe, it officially caught on in the United States.

President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation recognizing the week and, in 1987, March was officially designated by Congress as Women’s History Month. Assuredly there are details missing from my very short retelling of history, but the importance of the day, week and month resonate.

Women contribute, women achieve and women should be recognized as valuable members of society. The official theme of this year’s Women’s History Month was “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced,” and this valiant woman is speaking up.

Valencia County is 51.3 percent male and 48.7 percent female. Females comprise nearly half the population in our mid-sized county. Why, then, do males hold more than 80 percent of all elected offices and leadership positions? From state legislators to school boards (including the county’s new superintendents) to commissioners, from councilors to mayors, and from magistrate to district court judges, and including county office holders, males dominate by a ratio of 53 to 13.

To be sure, it is not my intention to judge the quality of our male leaders or office holders. Like all areas of life, variation is common; some will be great and some less than, some will have experience and some will not. However, as a female and previous elected office holder, it is my intention to inform our community of the disparity in representation and to plead for some balance.

How can issues important to us (gender pay gap, women’s health care, paid parental leave, domestic violence, etc.) be addressed if we don’t have a seat at the table? Well ladies, it’s time you pulled up a chair. Municipal elections will be held at the end of this year and county and state elections in June and November of 2022.

There are several positions on the ballot, each representing an excellent opportunity for change. Please heed my call to action: Recognize the knowledge and potential we (women) possess and run for these offices. And more importantly, please recognize the collective power we have, and fully support each one of our sisters who rises to the challenge.

In the meantime, a huge thank you to the female councilors, mayors’ pro temp, district and municipal judges, county office holders, state legislators, and school board members who’ve been elected. And, a special thanks to the candidates who gave it their all, but didn’t get a majority of the votes (you know who you are).

I see you, I value you and you have my deepest gratitude. And, while Women’s History Month has come and gone, there is still ample time for us to make history. Onward!

Heather Benavidez

Rio Communities

Saves quarter million over 20 years


A recent edition of the Rio Grande Sun newspaper in Espanola — and I might add, a great paper — had a very enlightening article, “Chama Council Inks a Deal on Wastewater Solar Farm.”

Wastewater treatment plants and street lights are usually the biggest energy cost to a city. So I had to read the article twice, as Chama will save $13,000 a year. The 196 kWh solar array to power the wastewater treatment plant was a power purchase agreement, meaning the city’s only cost is an internet connection over the 20 year contract.

The proposal by Clean Energy Solar came in at .074 cents a kilowatt hour, that’s less than a penny a kilowatt hour or one hundredth the cost that our co-op power supplier, Tri-State is charging us.

The city of Chama will save $260,000 over the 20-year contract or $13,000 every year. Vince Campione, of Clean Energy Solar, indicated that Rio Arriba County and Chama Valley Schools were also looking into signing a contract for solar.

Mr. Campione also mentioned that the ability to finance the project comes through a federal income tax credit allowing the investors to buy into renewable energy enterprises and write off the nearly 100 percent of their investment in the first year. That’s basically the same tax credit, oil and gas drillers have enjoyed for 40 years.

Unfortunately, our state Legislature in the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee, chose to table Senate Bill 83, Local Choice Energy, which would have enabled many more entities to take advantage of these terrific cost savings, but on a larger scale.

However, hopefully, your school, county, or city looks into the terrific cost savings that renewable solar can now provide.

Ward B. McCartney III


It’s none of my business


A recent News-Bulletin letter-writer seemed in a complete meltdown, poor thing. I think it would help her to actually grab hold of some facts.

She insists on blaming Democrats for the reality of abortion and seems to think that if Republicans held complete power, abortion would disappear. But from 2003 to 2005, George W. Bush was president, with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.

Also between 2017 and 2019, both chambers of Congress were Republican under Donald Trump. What happened about abortion? Absolutely nothing. Even the GOP was bright enough to leave that right alone.

However, if the letter writer moved to Colorado, she’d probably be much happier. Since the beginning of the Colorado Family Planning Initiative in 2008, the rate of teenage abortions has fallen by 54 percent, with slightly smaller drops for older women.

So what brought about this miracle? Free contraceptives! Even staying in New Mexico, the letter-writer could be more useful by standing on street corners and handing out condoms.

Also, Colorado is a much wealthier state, more likely to afford the weird hallucinations she’s having of luxury resorts where abortion is a prime vacation activity, like snorkeling and pickle ball.

And of course, like most of the anti-choice gang, she ties herself in linguistic knots to label blastocysts, embryos, and fetuses as “your pre-born children.” It would probably help her to stop looking at anti-abortion billboards featuring adorable 8-month old babies instead of bits of tissue smaller than your thumb.

It’s sad, but I guess she feels an overwhelming compulsion to insert herself into other people’s most intimate decisions.

Personally, I’d be scared to advise anyone to either have an abortion or not have an abortion. It’s none of my blasted business, and I don’t know the facts of their lives or the depths of their desperation.

Laura F. Sanchez

Los Luna

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.