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New Mexico governor wants to divest from Russian stocks

March 5, 2022 GMT
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham high-fives a grade school student at a bill-signing ceremony at the Francis X. Nava Elementary School on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. Lujan Grisham signed bills to increase teacher pay and benefits.(AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham high-fives a grade school student at a bill-signing ceremony at the Francis X. Nava Elementary School on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. Lujan Grisham signed bills to increase teacher pay and benefits.(AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham high-fives a grade school student at a bill-signing ceremony at the Francis X. Nava Elementary School on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. Lujan Grisham signed bills to increase teacher pay and benefits.(AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham high-fives a grade school student at a bill-signing ceremony at the Francis X. Nava Elementary School on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. Lujan Grisham signed bills to increase teacher pay and benefits.(AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham high-fives a grade school student at a bill-signing ceremony at the Francis X. Nava Elementary School on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. Lujan Grisham signed bills to increase teacher pay and benefits.(AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants to join other U.S. states in reconsidering public investments that might aid Russia as it wages war against Ukraine.

The Democrat announced Friday that she is urging the directors of the state’s permanent funds and two major pension funds for public employees to examine investments that may benefit Russia and its supporters and take steps to divest.

“It is critical that the state of New Mexico demonstrates its support for the people of Ukraine and disclaim any investments that may directly or indirectly aid the Russian government’s unjustified war,” she said in a letter.

State Sen. Jacob Candelaria of Albuquerque made a similar plea earlier this week.

The State Investment Council is in charge of managing more than $35 billion in investments on behalf of New Mexico.

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Council spokesman Charles Wollmann said the state’s exposure to Russian stocks or bonds amounts to $7.9 million, or about 0.025% of the state’s portfolio. The council sends out more than 12 times this amount to beneficiaries that include public schools and the state’s general fund every month.

Wollmann said some of the state’s investments are in emerging market indexes, which are now being restructured by their originators to remove Russian stocks. For other related investments, the council could instruct external investment managers to make changes once Russian markets reopen. Russian securities markets have been closed for several days, halting trading.

Still, the council will likely have to discuss the governor’s request as a matter of policy, Wollmann said.

The effect of sanctions by U.S. states often pales in comparison to national ones. But officials from New York to Arkansas and Indiana have said they wanted to show solidarity with Ukraine and do what they could to build upon the penalties imposed on Russia by the U.S. government and other Western nations.