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Desertrat56

Letters from Martin Heinrich

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Desertrat56

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Dear Friend,

When I talk to people about what makes New Mexico unique, it always comes back to our breathtaking landscapes, our deep and complex history, and our rich cultures. Bandelier National Monument encapsulates each of these in unrivaled ways.

That's why I am so proud to work with communities in northern New Mexico to introduce legislation to make Bandelier our nation's newest national park. This legislation has garnered widespread support from local communities throughout northern New Mexico and tribes across Indian Country.

I announced the Bandelier National Park and Preserve Act yesterday, and was honored to have Santa Clara Pueblo Governor Michael Chavarria share his views on the legislation during a teleconference. I hope you can take a moment to listen to our comments on KSWV - Suave Radio.

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PHOTO: Alcove House in Frijoles Canyon in Bandelier National Monument.

Bandelier's mesas and canyons have human history that dates back more than 10,000 years. The ancestral sites in Bandelier continue to hold deep cultural and religious significance to the pueblos. Creating this new national park is the best way to ensure Bandelier's cultural treasures and northern New Mexico's history and natural beauty receive the recognition and protection they have long deserved.

Only Congress can create a national park and provide the highest level of protection for cultural resources, and Congress can ensure that a current or future president can't undo those protections. Many of our best-known national parks, like the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns, started as national monuments and were later upgraded to national park status by Congress. I believe it's long past time that we recognize that Bandelier's historical and natural resources are more than worthy of this same treatment.

I encourage you to write to me about this and other issues important to you and your family.

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

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Desertrat56

Dear Friend,

Last year, the U.S. Air Force confirmed that firefighting foam containing toxic PFAS chemicals used around Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases in New Mexico had contaminated nearby groundwater supplies. Recent scientific studies link PFAS chemicals to a number of serious adverse health effects. The contamination at Cannon affected several nearby agricultural wells, creating major disruptions for local dairy farmers. One dairy producer had to lay off 40 employees and quarantine 4,000 cows.

It's clear that we cannot wait to clean up this toxic mess and protect the health and safety of impacted communities and businesses. I strongly believe that the federal government has a responsibility to clean up after itself and an obligation to protect the health of military communities like Clovis.

That's why, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I fought hard to include amendments to this year's national defense bill--which the Senate just passed--to require the Department of Defense to remedy contaminated sites like those at Cannon Air Force Base, provide clean water to local farms, and compensate affected landowners.

These PFAS provisions came on top of other major gains I've fought hard to include for our men and women in uniform. The defense bill supports the national security missions and infrastructure investments at all of New Mexico's military bases, national defense labs, and test ranges. When I work on this legislation every year, I strive to make sure our missions are well funded and aimed at having an enduring presence in New Mexico to help meet the national security needs of the future.

I am firmly committed to ensuring that our military has the tools and resources it needs to keep our nation safe. I encourage you to write to me about this and other issues important to you and your community.

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

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Desertrat56

Before the end of the year, I wanted to wish you and your family a happy holiday season and share some of the progress we have made for New Mexico. I have traveled to all corners of the state, and it has truly been a pleasure to meet with so many New Mexicans in their communities and discuss the issues that matter most. Below is a photo album of 100 highlights from 2019.

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As your senator, I am working on your side to make great strides for our state every single day. Despite a difficult political climate in Washington, I have remained focused on fighting for our national labs and military bases, investing in education and infrastructure, growing our clean energy economy, defending our public lands, making college more affordable, expanding access to broadband internet in rural and tribal communities, and establishing the nation's newest national park to New Mexico. 

My office also helps constituents on a one-on-one basis when they are having trouble with federal agencies, including keeping our promise to our veterans and servicemembers. This year my staff held Mobile Office Hours events in local communities throughout the state and processed over 1,100 individual cases that resulted in over $1.2 million recovered for New Mexicans. If you or your family needs help, I encourage you to reach out to my office nearest to you.

I will continue to fight every day to make a difference for you, and focus on what matters to all of us. Please stay in touch with me as we work together to create a better future for New Mexico. From my family to yours, Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

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Desertrat56

Dear Friend,

We owe our men and women in uniform, and their families who support them in their service, an incredible debt of gratitude. In return for their sacrifices in defense of our nation, they expect and deserve the benefits they have earned.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I play a leading role each year in authoring the national defense bill. The bill we passed into law at the end of last year included major funding and support for the national security missions at New Mexico's national labs and military installations. I wanted to let you know about two provisions I championed in the defense bill that will support military families.

I find it deeply disturbing that in New Mexico, and around the world, our men and women in uniform and their families have lived in substandard housing living conditions. Often, these service members and their families live in privatized, on-base housing that is managed by for-profit companies. That's why I fought hard to include major reforms to fix the military housing crisis in the defense bill. The new law establishes a uniform code of basic military housing standards and requires inspections to ensure compliance. This is a critical step in addressing the problems we've seen and ensuring our service members and their families live in the healthy dwellings they deserve.

I also joined the bipartisan effort to finally end the so-called "widow's tax," which for decades required that surviving spouses of deceased military members forfeit part or all of their Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity when they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 60,000 surviving Gold Star families are negatively impacted by the Widow's Tax, which reduced surviving spouses' benefits by an average of $924 per month, or $11,000 annually. Under the new law, widows and widowers of a deceased active-duty service member or retiree who died of a service-related cause will receive full annuity payments.

I am committed to assisting veterans and their families access their care and benefits. My office has helped hundreds of veterans all across New Mexico. Whether you or a family member is having trouble filing a claim, receiving benefits, accessing health benefits or military records, replacing medals, or with other veterans issues, my office is here to help. Please contact my office by calling (505) 346-6601 or visit the Veterans Resources Center on my website.

I will never stop fighting to do right for those who have served in our military and those who continue to serve our great nation.

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

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