The Rio Grande Foundation is a non-partisan organization, but like so many other New Mexicans we followed the recent election closely and were surprised by the “blue tsunami” that hit our State.
As a policy-driven organization, we look forward, not back. That said, the utter devastation of the GOP and most fiscally-conservative candidates on Election Day will make the 2019 Legislature and beyond quite interesting. We have a number of questions that we don’t know the answers to, but we hope will frame the policy discussion as we move forward:
I counted on you. You can count on me
As the dust settles from the midterm elections and we assess where we are as a country, I find myself being very grateful to live in New Mexico’s House District 38.
In a year when many political races became acrimonious and bitter, the voters of Grant, Hidalgo and Sierra Counties elevated the political dialog in their communities. Every person I met on the campaign trail asked thoughtful questions about ways we can improve life in New Mexico, and they carefully evaluated the answers that were presented to them.
By: Mary McGinnis, Counselor & Poet
Having been blind from birth, public transit is a vital part of my daily life. I’ve lived in Santa Fe since 1982, and have been a regular transit rider since paratransit services began in the early 1990s.
Due to my blindness, I have some difficulty with spatial concepts and did not start to receive mobility training until the age of 18. Prior to the availability of transit, I relied on my partner to get to and from work. This severely limited my freedom and my independence.
Because of this, I was one of the initial advocates for both a bus system and paratransit system in Santa Fe. Since the successful accomplishment of our goals, I have been a rider on Santa Fe Trails and Santa Fe Ride on almost a daily basis. For me and others like me, transit is not simply another service; it is the service that affords us basic freedoms and the ability to get where we want or need to go without having to rely heavily upon friends and family members—most of whom have their own busy schedules.
By Rep. Gail Armstrong (R-District 49)
Every year on Veterans Day we, as a nation, honor those members of the armed forces who have put their lives on the line to defend the civil liberties we enjoy. These women and men have all made tremendous sacrifices in service to the ideals of this country; that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with the right to live in freedom and pursue their dreams.
There will be speeches, flyovers, and salutes. Then, on November 12, many Americans will wake up and resume their daily lives.
By James Jimenez and Brian Etheridge, MD
Democracy is “a system of government by the whole population.” By that definition, everyone’s participation is needed in order to keep a democracy alive and well. There is no act of democracy more foundational than voting. Casting a vote is more than exercising your right as a citizen. It’s about accepting the responsibility of citizenship. It’s about affirming that you are a part of something larger than yourself.
In much the same way, elections are about more than sending new or returning leaders to our state and nation’s capitals to enact laws and budget money. Elections are also about what vision we share for the future, what projects we choose to build to improve our quality of life, what problems we decide to work together to solve. Election issues are at the very heart of the values that matter most to us and our families – educating our children, improving our communities, protecting our rights, safety, and the world around us.
Submitted by Heather Balas of New Mexico First
Questions remain on healthcare, economy and their approaches to collaborative governance.
“Often, we are presented with a false choice between stewarding our environment and building our economy. How can we take care of both?” This question, offered by Mark Childs of Albuquerque, is one of more than 50 questions developed by New Mexicans for the state's gubernatorial candidates as part of a televised debate that aired Oct. 16 on KOB-TV.
By: Doris Roberts, Executive Director for All Individuals First
As a caretaker for individuals with developmental disabilities and the Executive Director of All Individuals First, I see firsthand how public transit not only improves the quality of life, but also creates opportunities for empowerment, independence and joy. Public transit for people with no other means of transportation gives them the same options as everyone—shopping, volunteering, going to the post office, going to work, or taking a fun outing – without relying on someone else to get them there.
One year left to graduate high school, a young woman with the whole world in front of her with endless dreams and potential – dreams of not only serving in the US Navy and commanding ships but to ultimately become one of the most powerful women – takes a quick turn to becoming a prisoner – a victim of domestic violence, forced to be submissive. For the next 17 years and counting she becomes focused solely on survival simply because of a boy who charms his way through a tangled web of lies, their children, and a slowly progressing legal system that fails to recognize and protect the victims of domestic violence post-divorce from the abuse of what I call, “DNA privilege.” Because domestic violence is repetitive and endurance-based, it does not end when the marriage ends.
To understand where the laws have failed the victims in my story, we go back to 2009. I divorced my abuser at the age of 25, after eight long years of suffering where I was simply existing … not truly living. I am now 34, but the abuse has not stopped. During the past nine years, I have been awarded sole legal and sole physical custody of the children, who have already been granted a last name change. The estranged “father” has provided no financial support and any relationship the children once had with him has completely disintegrated. Two of the children don't even know who this person is and, thus, he is no different than a stranger at Walmart.
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