In the State Senate, I will prioritize what's important: good paying jobs in our small towns and rural communities, true investment in education, expanded healthcare and social services and protecting our natural resources, like water.
Jobs and Rural Economic Development
Small towns across New Mexico are struggling. Jobs in rural communities are drying up and economic opportunities are being shifted to larger cities or out of state. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet and many are forced to consider whether they must leave a community they’ve known their entire lives. I believe that our first priority should be to create good jobs with benefits in rural New Mexico. We should do our job to help struggling families and to give our young people the opportunity to live and work in their local communities near family.
- Invest in local economic development by supporting local businesses and providing rural infrastructure tax credits.
- Expand broadband access to rural communities.
- Support family operated farms and ranches that are crucial to the state’s agricultural sector and to New Mexico’s economy as a whole.
- Stop tax giveaways to large out of state corporations that don’t result in promised jobs. These tax favors reduce state resources that could be invested in education and training programs, homegrown business and rural economic development strategies.
- Require more transparency and accountability by supporting a tax expenditure budget that would provide policymakers and the public with a full accounting of how state resources are being used and whether performance requirements are being met.
New Mexico’s children are being left behind. Studies that compare New Mexico to other states show time and time again that our state sits at or near the bottom when it comes to our children’s wellbeing. We know that income levels impact education, so we should continue to find ways to improve financial security for families. But we must also do our best to ensure that we are adequately investing in education to give our kids the opportunity to be successful.
- Help our kids get a head start by investing in Early Childhood Education. I support using a small portion of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to establish a sustainable funding source for early childhood programs.
- Improve educational outcomes for our children by adequately investing in our schools and supporting our teachers. We need to ensure that teachers have adequate tools to improve student proficiency in reading and math.
- Create more wrap-around “community schools” in the district.
- Increase local decision-making power so that we can focus less on testing and more on the needs of each student.
Environment and Natural Resources
The effects of climate change and water scarcity have had a substantial impact in rural New Mexico. Many of our smaller communities are dealing with local rivers and lakes that are drying up. These towns rely on these water sources for their own water use needs but also for agriculture and tourism that drives their local economies. We must do a better job of managing our state’s limited water resources to ensure that these needs are met but also to ensure that we’re considering the needs of future generations.
- Protect our precious water and natural resources by implementing water management strategies that include regional plans and input from local community members.
- Protect traditional and cultural heritage, support land grants as a political subdivision, and recognize the indigenous residents of our state.
- Ensure that everyone has access to clean and safe drinking water.
Health Care and Anti-Poverty Programs
Many rural communities have minimal access to necessary health care services. Sometimes families are forced to make long commutes to receive routine care. Our state also has the second highest poverty rate in the country. I support investments that will not only put more money in the pockets of working families, but will also lead to better health outcomes and food security across New Mexico.
- Maintain and expand health care and social services for all New Mexicans.
- Improve rural access to health care services. I support dental therapy programs that provide affordable routine dental care to kids and families in remote parts of the state. I also support investments that incentivize doctors and other professionals to practice in rural areas.
- Ensure that our elderly family, friends and neighbors and veterans have access to the medical support they need.
- Set up and reestablish strong behavioral health services around the district.
- Address mental health and addiction concerns in our communities by adequately funding treatment programs.
- Increase the working families tax credit for low income New Mexicans.
- Support strategies to maximize enrollment in federally funded health and nutrition programs.
Our state ethic’s code needs a complete overall to root out corrupt elected officials who violate the public trust by abusing their positions. To ensure a democracy that works for the people, government officials should be accountable to voters in their districts, not to wealthy special interests who fund their campaigns. If we don’t improve transparency in elections and mandate legislative accountability, then we risk allowing powerful special interests to drown out the voices of everyday citizens.
- Establish an Independent Ethics Commission that hears complaints related to corruption, mismanagement of state funds, and potential ethics violations. This body should have the ability to engage in effective oversight and hold elected officials accountable for violating the public trust.
- Revoke the pensions and health care benefits for public officials convicted of corruption and establish mandatory prison time.
- Improve transparency in elections and regulate money in politics. We must fix New Mexico’s Campaign Reporting Act to ensure that the public knows exactly who is spending to influence elections and to ensure that citizen voices are heard.