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Open Access Publications from the University of California

New Mexico’s Box of Pandoras

  • Author(s): Seckler, Kim
  • et al.

In the spring of 2020, the global coronavirus pandemic brought deadly disease to New Mexico, a state already struggling with inadequate health care, vulnerable populations and an unreliable state revenue base. A strong executive and mostly willing legislature met multiple times in multiple special sessions to reduce budgets, allocate federal funds, and shore up public finances. They also had to deal with social and cultural fights aggravated by strict public health orders and plunging revenues. By the close of 2020, the state was slowly regaining its fiscal footing and physical health, though the underlying problems of inadequate health care, educational and economic inequality, and a budget overly reliant on extractive industries remain. As a result of the 2020 general election, the public officials chosen to resolve these issues are more likely to be progressive Democrats, more likely to be women, and more demographically reflective of the majority-minority state they call home.

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