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Editorial

Editorial content. Content posted here may or may not reflect the opinions of the Beat. They reflect the opinions of the author.

Op-Ed by Rep. Jim Townsend, House Minority Leader

Our Constituents should not have to read the fine print in order to see how their tax dollars are spent and by whom. Accounting for individual earmarking and capital outlay isn’t always transparent, but it should be.

Historically, Legislators are awarded equal amounts of Capital Outlay to take home to their Districts. Each Legislator has the ability to publicize their use of those funds, which some do and some do not. If we really want transparency, every legislator should publicize every capital outlay project every time. These expenditures are very important to every district and most critical to the smaller and sparsely populated areas. Rural districts don’t have the same ability as the Albuquerque and Bernalillo areas. In those more populated areas, there are many Representatives and Senators to combine capital outlay funds. However, in rural New Mexico each Legislator may represent two to six counties and must divide their capital outlay among many areas.

by New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales

There is new leadership for our state’s classrooms, bringing winds of change that are long overdue. The new Secretary of the Public Education Department, recently appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, is Karen Trujillo – a New Mexican with over a decade teaching in the classroom and twenty years in teachers’ professional development. Special Advisor Pedro Noguero is an internationally recognized counselor and researcher to schools seeking improvement. The Governor called her seven education appointees an “all-star team,” and she is right. They bring hands-on understanding of the classroom, deep expertise in the areas where we most need it, with a combined 100-plus years of experience in New Mexico among them.

Gov. Lujan Grisham holds a powerful vision for what classrooms can be in New Mexico. She has backed it up by calling for a historic education budget in the year ahead, a $500 million increase to transform public education. Key components include more summer learning for kids, a big investment to improve the education of at-risk children, and curriculum and skills needed to prepare students for college and careers. This is all part of what the governor has described as a public education “moonshot.” It is out-of-the-box thinking – exactly what this state needs right now. 

Her proposal includes:

A six percent pay raise for teachers and other school personnel. This increase is necessary because our educators are some of the lowest-paid in the country, causing a huge teacher shortage in our schools.

Sixty million dollars to increase the number of quality pre-kindergarten slots for children across the state.

Five million dollars for more vocational and technical skills to prepare more students for the workforce.

Outdoor recreation activities and associated expenditures by people engaging in leisure time activities remains a mostly untapped reservoir of economic potential for a New Mexico economy. We are continuously challenged to find new revenue streams to pay for education, infrastructure, health care, and the myriad demands on state funds. As concerns emerge that protect and preserve our fragile natural resources of air, soil and water while creating a sustainable valued sector of the New Mexico economy, this initiative can very possibly be a major part of the state’s economic development strategy. While a detailed accounting of all private and community wide benefits and costs associated with expansion of this outdoor recreation sector, which provides more jobs than the oil and gas industry nation-wide, is still to be fully developed. By focusing on the outdoor sector, the state’s leaders can provide a sustainable addition and even a mode of transition from reliance on the energy extraction industry.

Op-Ed by Rep. Rod Montoya

The opening weeks of the 2019 Legislative session have proven just how out-of-touch Democrats are with the people they’re supposed to represent. They are so committed to their radical agenda that they are breaking the rules to impose it.

Before the legislative session even began, Governor Lujan-Grisham presented an unsustainable budget proposal, growing government spending to outrageous levels. The recurring budget she submitted is a 12.7% increase—more than Governor Martinez increased spending in eight years! This irresponsible proposal is only slightly worse than that of the Democrats in the legislature who are proposing a 10.6% year-over-year increase.

By Randy Randall, Executive Director, Tourism Santa Fe
Tania Armenta, CEO, Visit Albuquerque
Tonya Stinson, Executive Director, Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Philip San Filippo, Economic Development Director, Las Cruces

Tourism is one of the largest employment and revenue sectors for the state - employing over 100,000 people, bringing in $6.6 billion in revenue and paying in $660 million in state and local taxes. Whether someone is making the decision to move to or retire in New Mexico, buy a vacation home, or open a business in our state, the first point of entry for most people is as a visitor. For many, the message that had them consider a trip to New Mexico was a well-placed New Mexico True ad.

 By Senator Pete Campos

The 2019 legislative session will be a session of great change, and the New Mexico education system is a top priority. Parents, guardians and teachers should be able to assure students that an education will lead to success in careers and in life, in general. The strength of our current society is that developed intellect, cultivated skills and earned credentials matter.

Improving New Mexico's educational system will keep our population healthy, attract more high- quality jobs and set New Mexico on the path of long-term success.

The consolidated cases of Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico highlight some of the problems New Mexico has faced in recent years. We must thoughtfully establish a long-term plan to address our constitutional and statutory obligations to all students. Our diverse state deserves an equally diverse education. Multicultural schooling should be accessible to Spanish, English and indigenous language speakers regardless of the intellectual, socioeconomic or physical aspects of their lives. Teachers should be supported as they implement techniques that inspire independent thinking and prepare students for college and careers.

The ideas are endless, but our goals are attainable. First steps include developing a replacement for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers examinations, know as the PARCC, that can utilize the best parts of the PARCC and remedy the worst; creating standards and continuity to ensure positive outcomes for all school districts; strengthening high school and post-secondary career counseling and placement centers; and addressing the needs of all students, with a focus on at-risk and nontraditional students. New Mexico has many highly qualified education professionals, including assessment developers and teachers, who can assist in our endeavors.

 https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/president-trump-sends-letter-border-security/

January 4, 2019
This morning, President Donald J. Trump sent a letter to all Members of Congress on the need to secure our borders. He attached a presentation that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was planning to deliver during a meeting with Congressional leadership in the White House Situation Room earlier this week.

Some of those present did not want to hear the presentation at the time, and so the President decided to make it available to all Members of Congress.

Below is the full text of the President’s letter, along with a gallery featuring the presentation slides.

Dear Members of Congress:

Congratulations to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her entire team, on her election to be Speaker of the House. I look forward to working together on our shared priorities for the American People, including rebuilding our infrastructure, reforming unfair trade deals, and reducing the price of prescription drugs. Our recent bipartisan success on numerous legislative accomplishments such as Criminal Justice Reform, opioid legislation, and the Farm Bill, underscores the extraordinary achievements that are possible when we rise above party politics to advance the good of the Nation as a whole.

Hope, Outreach and Service

Op-Ed by Sen. Pete Campos

Today's youth are anxious to complete an educational degree, jump-start their careers and begin earning good wages. As a significant multicultural population, we all have high hopes that our way of life can be successfully and meaningfully passed on to our families. To do this, a deep understanding of our majestic landscapes, life with scarce water sources, foods, art, music, lowrider and motorcycle clubs, life in small communities, farms, ranches and unique personal experiences is essential. Once our way of life is fully integrated and each person is recognized for our purpose — regardless where we choose to live — then the state's collage of talents, products and services will "operate as one", and we will rise to the top of the country's good lists.

Live from Silver City

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Editor's Note

Mary Alice tried out a different format for reporting the lengthy County Commission preliminary budget hearing. Instead of traditional narrative sentences, to do it more quickly and efficiently, she put the name of each speaker before a paraphrased version of their comments. Questions were not necessarily asked by the speaker, but they were answered by the one replying. Please let editor@grantcountybeat.com know if you love, hate or are indifferent about the format. It may lead to how some reports are written henceforth in order to get them out in a more timely manner.

Mary Alice is back, but on slow-mo, trying to catch up with all that didn't get done before she had to leave. And doing everything that happened after she got back! Working on it

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