Protection and conservation of our environment is critical to the continued livelihood of residents, ranchers, and farmers, and to the enjoyment of visitors who boost our tourism industry.
Climate change is destabilizing our environment and we must take immediate action to adapt to its effects and mitigate its causes. Retaining rainwater; recharging our aquifers; and improving the health of our soil to reduce run-off, evaporation, and erosion will lessen the severity of drought. Making our landscape and forests fire resistant will reduce the risk and severity of fire.
These measures make our environment and community more resilient and adaptive to an uncertain climate future. Strong action must be taken now to support environmental stewardship programs across the state.
Transitioning away from fossil fuel to renewable wind and solar power benefits our environment, workers, community, and economy. It decreases carbon dioxide and methane pollution, conserves water, and mitigates global warming.
As New Mexico transitions from fossil fuels to renewables, workers have an opportunity to transition to solar and wind energy jobs. Large scale exploitation of these new energy sources will be in predominantly rural areas and local residents should benefit directly through training, jobs, and revenue reinvestment in the local areas. Harnessing the abundant solar and wind energy provides an opportunity for economic growth as electricity generation costs drop and interstate sales of excess energy becomes a revenue source.
By moving quickly on this transition New Mexico can lead the nation in the growing green energy industry.
More than 10% of New Mexico’s population is veterans--well above the national average--and in rural counties that percentage is higher.
Our veterans and military families deserve access to timely, effective, and comprehensive healthcare, regardless of where they live. With only one VA hospital in the state, we must provide options such as telemedicine to bring the best medical care to rural and underserved communities. Tricare must widen their network of primary care practitioners to ensure military families receive high-quality medical care as well.
We must hold the VA and other federal agencies accountable to those they serve.
I have personal experience with this and I know we can do better. I will be a strong advocate who will work tirelessly to ensure our veterans and military families become the priority they deserve to be.
Education is an investment in our human resources and our future. Improving our education system to prime the next generation for success in the workforce is the most critical first step in strengthening our society, our economy, and our future.
Recent changes such as raising teacher’s salaries, hiring more full-time teachers, and working collaboratively with all stakeholders to replace the student assessment exams are a step in the right direction. Further efforts to decrease class size and hire more highly-qualified teachers are still needed. Early literacy, computer literacy, adult literacy, as well as STEM, the arts, and second language programs should be widely available.
All New Mexico students deserve access to an education that sets them up for success.
CARING FOR OUR VETERANS
Reliable high-speed internet, wider cell phone coverage, and access to clean water will allow our local businesses to prosper, while attracting new businesses that bring jobs.
A more diversified economy that includes value-added jobs in the trades, hospitality, manufacturing, finance, entertainment, and rural medical services is healthier than one dependent upon resource extraction.
Investment in our infrastructure spurs economic development that enables us to thrive economically. New Mexico’s economy has unlimited potential, but right now, much of its profit flows out of state.
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes obvious there is not only a need, but a benefit to us all, for universal health care in the United States. When communities have access to affordable health care, people are healthier, more productive, and more financially secure.
In New Mexico, we have a year-long mandated economic impact study for our state’s own proposal for public healthcare- the New Mexico Health Security Act. This fiscal analysis will help New Mexico determine whether this public program will be more economical and a better value for taxpayers than programs that go through the private sector.
I look forward to seeing the results of this study later this year.