New Mexico is a rich state.
It is rich because of our people and our land; we care about our children and protect our quality of life. We persevere, work hard and have strong core values. New Mexico has an incredibly unique history with multiple diverse cultures. We are rich in resources and natural beauty.
NM has been a wonderful place in which to live in and raise my family.
But we have dropped into a desperate condition. Our richest blessings, our families and children are being stolen by the curses of drugs, senseless killings and violence beyond imagining.
Once purposeful lives have been given over to a rootless and meaningless existence of wasted lives and lost hope. Expectations have hit rock bottom.
New Mexico is in a crisis moment. Our economy, education, crime and poverty are driving the future out of our state. Businesses and our children are fleeing.
Many of our citizens have come to believe our failures are inevitable and that we are doomed to finish last.
When one looks at the national statistics on crime, poverty and education, many conclude that our state seems beyond hope. The question is: “Can we recover?”
I believe we can. But it will take all of us believing in ourselves and our future if we are to succeed. New Mexico can change. We can make people want to invest their lives here. If we join together, we can turn our state around and live in a state filled with hope, promise and opportunity.
How do we get from rock bottom to sky high?
We must have a new beginning if our children are to envision working here and raising their families here.
To regain our promise and our heritage, to change our future, we must understand how desperately our state needs rescue.
Every person must have an equal chance to succeed and have access to the same opportunities.
It is of great benefit to know where we came from and where we are headed, about our fathers and mothers and their story. It is equally important to know where our state’s history. It lets us see how we fit in to the long term picture and understand that the story is not just about us. We are not the center of the story.
We have descended into a situation where every person is living for themselves. Some are living successful lives which is wonderful. But we must change from our disconnected “me centered” lives and choose lives with the purpose of ensuring not only our own success but that the promise of America is available to every person in the state.
We must identify the things and decisions that destroy lives. Then we must reach deep into our culture and traditions to discover the answers. Those lessons must then be taught to our children, family and friends to help them stay free from the anchors that would pull them and us under the waters.
Substance abuse, debt, despair and mental illness; those are just a few of the anchors that drag people down.
Our state and our lives can experience new beginnings. But we must make different choices, individually and collectively.
If our personal lives find a new beginning, corporately the state will experience the new beginning.
Hope is rooted in the belief that it is not too late. If we have lost confidence that the state can change, we must rekindle belief that rescue is possible. Rescue of each person, neighborhoods and of the state.
We will transform rootless, meaningless lives to rediscover lives of purpose. It is the rescue and the rescuing that will transform us.
The challenges that confront us and the problems that have overwhelmed us in the past will require commitment and focus from each person.
Each of us has a role to play in the rescue. We must see the big picture of New Mexico to know where “I” fit in.
Let’s tell the story our way. I am asking you to help design and implement the plan. Visualize the parts of the plan you would include, imagine it unfolding, step after step and imagine your role in it. The transformation possible will amaze all of us. (Share those by texting 53445)
Hope is rooted in rescue. New Mexico’s story must become a rescue story. Rescue is the agenda. New Mexico will rekindle hope where it has been lost, establish it where it never flourished and support it when it is flickering.
This will be our story; it will become the story of New Mexico.
One of the essential components of rescue is unity. If we are to unite, we must discover the things that divide us. Separation is the problem. Wrangling about our political differences is not the sum of the human existence.
The actions that separate us are poison to our state and to ourselves, separating us from from each other, from our loved ones, from ourselves and finally from God. Ultimately, we must discover anew the things we agree on and share. Common beliefs, values and perceptions are the glue that will hold us together.
A key element in the new direction is that the opportunities we create must be available to every New Mexican.
While each of us must take some responsibility for meeting our challenges, it is the next governor who must establish the vision, draft the plan and chart the course we will follow to reach our target.
A new beginning for New Mexico starts with electing a leader who will unite New Mexicans with a common vision for what we can achieve as one. New Mexico is our home and if we do not make the most of it the fault is ours.
“A New Beginning for New Mexico” outlines my plan for implementing changes so that our state government can provide outstanding service to the people of New Mexico without imposing ever higher taxes or blindly ignoring wasteful spending, outdated regulations or poorly managed departments.
A new beginning for New Mexico means focusing on achieving our goals of good schools, a strong economy and a government that the public trusts and respects. And it means realizing our destiny. Our great, multi-ethnic state is unique with over 400 year of diverse cultures living side by side. If we pull together, we can proudly serve as the model for the rest of the country.
Too often, elected officials present lofty promises to the public but lack the management experience, financial skills or policy background to implement their vision. I have the education and the experience to understand what needs to be done. Most of all, I have the passion.
I am the only one of 6 brothers and sisters who grew up on a small 5 acre farm south of Hobbs who stayed in the state. All my brothers and my sister left the state to find better jobs and opportunity. I stayed because I love New Mexico and wanted to live here and raise my family here. I want my grandchildren to love New Mexico as much as I do.
My objective is to make our state government become an efficient, constituent friendly and principled operation. Our government employees should be well trained and highly motivated. The state should meet its financial obligations and provide quality services to the public, especially those in need. The government agencies should find the delicate balance between preserving and protecting while at the same time supporting entrepreneurial individuals, businesses and organizations that create jobs, dream big and want to make those dreams happen in New Mexico.
Most of all, we must focus on the forgotten men and women of this state; the forgotten men and women who go to work every day, raise their children and pay their taxes. They are the men and women who make this country and this state work. Washington and Santa Fe have forgotten these people. We will remember them.
Take a few minutes to read my plan and if you agree that is what we need to create a new beginning full of hope and opportunity for all the people of New Mexico, please complete the attached card and return it today. Share your ideas on what you think needs to be done.
My commitment is that I will dedicate my life to the new beginning, that I will work hard every day for our future.
I welcome your support and help in my campaign for governor and ultimately in rescuing this wonderful state.
Together we can change the future of the New Mexico.
Forgotten man and woman
- Restoring Trust in Government
- Making Government More Effective
- Transforming New Mexico’s Economy
- Improving Education
- Attack the Roots of Poverty
- Standing Up for New Mexico’s Veterans
- Assuring Public Safety
- Improving Healthcare
- Protect Our Environment
- Support Every Form of Energy
New Mexico must get serious about tackling our crime problem. Every day we hear another horrific story about violent crime running rampant. This holds back our state by encouraging people to choose other states for their home, places where their family’s safety can be better assured.
We start by getting the violent, hardened criminals off the street and into prison where they belong. Our New Mexico families must feel safe in their homes.
My administration will also tackle the recidivism problem. Data shows that the two keys to keeping an offender from committing another crime are a job and housing. My HOPE initiative is already doing just that – connecting former inmates with work and a place to live as they rehabilitate their lives and become productive members of our society instead of re-engaging with crime and ending up back in prison.
Currently, estimates are that about a third of people in prisons are people with behavior and mental health issues. Those with behavior and mental illness problems who do not have criminal convictions should be separated from the criminal population and be provided the treatment they need.
I want to restore the state’s watersheds. I also want to restore the lives of first-time offenders when possible.
We will establish Restoration Programs – restoring forests and restoring lives.
Judges will have the flexibility to sentence certain first-time non-violent offenders to these programs.
The programs will have apprenticeship training available in evening hours after work has finished for the day.
Reclaiming lives will help families, the individuals, and NM while helping redirect people who were headed for a life of crime.
Social change begins in the family. Therefore, the family should be the starting point for a new beginning for New Mexico.
Bright futures stem from strong roots.
I believe strong families raise strong individuals; strong individuals make strong communities and a strong country.
The well-being of children is a concern we all share.
The government, through many taxpayer-funded social programs, has tried to support the family, but it should never be our first choice in providing a solution.
When policies and laws pull children further from their parents we should exercise caution.
Methamphetamines and opioids are stealing the soul of our people and our state. But families alone cannot solve the opioid crisis. We must address these problems head-on with the resources of the state helping restore lives and families.
If we focus on building strong families, many negative statistics that plague our state would begin to resolve. Our fast-food, immediate gratification society, demonstrates that convenience does not always produce positive outcomes. One of the grave challenges families and our state face is that we are exporting our young. They pursue their dreams and opportunities in other states. How can we have a strong state when the next generation is leaving?
We, as parents, have largely abdicated our responsibility in the education, discipline, decision-making, substance abuse prevention, respect for others and spiritual training of our children.
There are dire consequences of family disorder: depression, poverty, joblessness, domestic violence and a host of other problems.
Let’s work to build strong families. When problems begin to manifest themselves in our young, let’s work to train and support parents. Let’s work to help our children understand the ‘why’ of societal absolutes.
Restoring Trust in Government
“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Stephen Covey
Crony Capitalism and Corruption: Both are tremendous impediments to any government and need to be rooted out at all levels in New Mexico.
Crumbling Communities: In many areas, our communities, our families and our children have dropped to the bottom in well-being and struggle just to get by.
We must have economic opportunity in every community.
I will work with forgotten communities in our state to start rebuilding the neglected and blighted neighborhoods where our schools and communities are decaying and unhealthy.
We must have a plan and strategy where every child and every family has a chance to succeed.
Making Government More Effective
As your Governor, my commitment is to ensure our state modernizes the way it provides services to you, our people. We will modernize the communication systems The coming years are pivotal in the future of the state and we will be ready for the new economic realities in the world. We will initiate discussions on how to address the complicated issues we must solve to find the new beginning for New Mexico.
Most of New Mexico’s government agencies were designed for a time long passed. A time with a slow, creaking gears and cogs; a tractor-like economy, with mechanical foundations. Processes were paper-based, top-down, closed, cold and artificial. Old government was political, elite, artificial, distant and primitive. It required conformity, standardization and knowing the “right people”.
Our agencies seem tired and immobile; unable to adapt to today’s modern lifestyle. In their fatigue, they have forgotten the everyday man and woman who go to work each day, who quietly raise their children to respect the law and take responsibility for themselves and their family. Government has forgotten the people who make society and our country work.
Our modern economy features companies that were not even in existence when many of our agencies were designed and our laws written. Uber did not exist 5 years ago. Today it is worth about the same as New Mexico’s entire economy. Amazon, Air B&B, and a host of other ideas are redesigning our way of life.
Today’s modern economy demands that we redesign our government. We need a government that is next-generation, fresh and innovative. Our government should be local, personal and fair. It should guarantee equal opportunity for all.
Our redesigned government should offer freedom of choice, diversity of options and should be organic and bottom-up just like the economic opportunities. A new ecosystem of incentive-based government is the model of the future. It is what we should be working to design.
We will build a team across generations; baby-boomers, 30’s-40’s and millennials who have a burning desire to redesign our state government. I invite you to be part of the team, to share in the vision and in the planning and design.
Mental Illness & Drug Abuse
Programs to deal with these problems have become decentralized and are rarely able to adequately address the problem. We should find the latest, most innovative and effective ways to help rescue people. They should not be consigned to homelessness and failure.
Small businesses create most private sector jobs in New Mexico.
Large companies have staff and resources to respond when the government oversteps its authority or fails to uphold its obligations. Small business owners are alone in the fight. Punitive attitudes and regulations hurt New Mexico jobs far more than larger, wealthier states.
Therefore, we will concentrate on regulations that protect the environment and workers without killing jobs or destroying jobs in the state.
Business Friendly State
In 2017 New Mexico fell to No. 42 in CNBC’s annual list of the best and worst states for business, dropping into the bottom 10 after being 24th in 2014 and 39th in 2016.
When companies are subject to more than one licensing agency and have to comply with mandates from multiple levels of government, we make it harder to create jobs.
Many companies complain that our state treats them like adversaries. A high priority of mine is to establish business-friendly attitudes and policies in our government agencies.
To begin our climb to the top, we will focus on:
- training and networking programs,
- regulatory and licensing simplicity and
- helpful government websites to cut red tape
By focusing on becoming more business friendly we will improve life for all New Mexicans.
One-Stop Business Potential
In 2014, New Mexico implemented a one-stop business portal in order to reduce administrative burdens on businesses and business creation. We should continue to perfect that process.
Transforming New Mexico’s Economy
A strong economy benefits everyone.
It means families can be reunited as young people return home to a quality economy that provides not just jobs but careers and hope for the future.
It means families will be able to realize their dreams of homeownership; it means a strong education system that leads to college or career training for their children or a retirement that allows people to live with dignity and remain at home in New Mexico.
For New Mexico to succeed, we must transform our economy, jump-start job creation and position ourselves for future growth. Growing and diversifying the economy is a primary focus of my plan. Diversifying the economy needs to be much more than talk.
New Mexico has great, unharnessed potential.
Companies, as well as workers and their families, are naturally drawn to New Mexico for its scenic beauty. We have some of the most favorable weather in the nation and are rarely struck with major catastrophes resulting from floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. The dry, mild climate is an enormous competitive advantage over other states. New Mexico should leverage our advantages to the fullest extent.
But we need more than the natural attractors. We need to adopt proven, successful economic principles such as embracing the free market, creating more effective and efficient agencies and making a business-friendly environment that will foster job creation. This will create more and better employment opportunities for the people of New Mexico.
There are ample opportunities for business-labor-government partnerships that encourage a diversified, growing and sustainable economy.
Think of New Mexico’s economy as a three-legged stool: government, natural resources, and the private sector. Our task is to lengthen the short leg on the stool, which has historically been the private sector. Diversifying the private sector economy cannot continue to be just talk; we must begin now.
At the same time, we must continue to make sure our public sector jobs are appreciated and supported. The national labs, the bases, WIPP and a host of other agencies call New Mexico home. They are critical to our nation but they are also the source of good, high paying jobs in New Mexico.
Our resource-driven economy should be improved and modernized to make sure we are making the best possible use of our states advantages.
There are 7 distinct areas that New Mexico can harness to diversify and grow our economy:
- Silicon Mesa
- Value Added Production of our Resources
- Expand and Energize Tourism
- Achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
- Retirement destination
- Business Resiliency
- Silicon Mesa
- HIGH TECH: If we are to keep the best and brightest kids of the next generation in the state we will have to provide suitable careers for them. Our major research universities should partner with the National Labs to create a high tech incubator system that rivals the best programs in the county.
- We will develop a high tech component of the economy that utilizes a public-private partnership between our national labs, the research universities and our military research and development facilities which call New Mexico home.
- Efforts like GrowBio and other collaborative efforts have identified huge opportunities for New Mexico jobs in biotechnology, optics, photonics and other high tech industries. These opportunities must be pursued by a state that is open and inviting not only to new businesses but new industries.
- SPACEPORT AMERICA: The global attention that will be harvested by the initial launch of Richard Branson into sub-orbit could be the most anticipated and watched event in the history of humanity. We should use this milestone as a way to showcase New Mexico’s unique offerings when it comes to tourism, weather, and business. At the same time, we need a new strategy to earn the highest possible return on the state’s $200 million investment in Spaceport America. As the Spaceport grows as a tourism and business destination, we should also develop long-term strategies to market Albuquerque and Las Cruces as gateway cities to Spaceport America.
- EXPORT CONTRACTOR SERVICES AND TECHNOLOGY: Private sector companies have built a contractor base around our national labs and military research facilities that is unique in the United States. As national budgets decrease, there is an excellent opportunity for New Mexico’s companies to provide the most professional and cost-effective services in the world to the US Government. New Mexico should work directly with these companies to market their unique technical services to a global market and ensure the continued viability of this important segment of our local economy. Likewise, the energy economy in New Mexico has some of the world’s greatest expertise. New Mexico should concentrate on providing services around the globe to create a stronger economy here in the state.
- Reshoring: Beginning about 2010, companies that had been offshoring for decades began to look at returning to the US as costs escalated in the international marketplace. New Mexico should position itself to be where the companies relocate when they return to this country.
- Innovation: The key to building a sustainable private sector-oriented economy will be innovation and entrepreneurship. Encouraging an innovation ecosystem will be essential for enhancing prosperity and reducing poverty in our state. This ecosystem has numerous components.
- ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS: We have to recognize the role that our state’s anchor higher education and research & development institutions play in creating economic vitality. UNM, UNM+HSC and UNMH combined are the largest employer in our state. The global cities of the future will be places where higher education, business, and the cities they reside in collaborate to build a sustainable economy which will be fueled by innovation, business formation and global reach.
- JOB CREATION FUND: New Mexico needs a closing fund that allows us to attract business and compete with other states. There is no monopoly on competition, so when our neighbors embrace tactics like state-backed closing funds to help recruit employers, New Mexico should be doing the same.
- FILM INDUSTRY:
New Mexico has some of the most scenic vistas in the country that are natural attractors to the film industry. The state should actively pursue these high-quality jobs. Keeping our creative genius at home will benefit the entire state.
- VALUE ADDED PRODUCTION
New Mexico should concentrate on creating value-added production to use all of our precious resources rather than exporting them to create jobs in other states. Let’s establish manufacturing plants here to use our resources. The harvesting of a resource is the lowest economic activity in a production chain. Mining the copper, drilling for oil and gas and growing chile are all valuable economic activities but making copper wire, refining the oil, and canning the chile adds value and creates jobs that are generally higher paying. Houston is one of the richest cities in the country; in part because we ship our high-grade oil there to be refined, creating the thousands of jobs which bring much prosperity to Houston. We should build refineries here to use our oil to create better jobs here. Value-added production in food should be a leading industry for New Mexico.
New Mexico can facilitate the growth of this important industry. Travelers from around the world visit New Mexico to experience our natural beauty, rich heritage and unique cultures. New Mexico tourism should be promoted globally but we should pay special attention to opportunities close by like Mexico’s emerging middle class.The tourism industry should partner with the Native Americans to create robust travel experiences for every person entering the state as a tourist. The resulting increase in tourism dollars will benefit communities and businesses throughout the state.
- SPORTS TOURISM: Our great weather and existing tourism attractions in New Mexico make us a natural destination for families looking to participate in youth sports activities. The resulting tourism could drive economic activity for our state and region while also enhancing the quality of life in our own communities.
The first and most important aspect of sovereignty is a stable and internal source of food. Agriculture in New Mexico is an important part of our economy that should be expanded. We should give incentives to keep young families in agriculture. To achieve significant increases in agriculture we must learn from others. In the Middle Rio Grande we use 300,000-acre-feet of water to produce 3 percent of the food for 1 million people. Israel, which has a similar semi-arid climate, uses 100,000-acre-feet of water to produce 95% of the food for 8 million people. New Mexico should develop the blueprint to lead the United States to more effective use of this scarce resource.Estimates suggest that increasing our food production from 3% to 25% will create thousands of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in new business taxes revenue and $1.4 billion in additional economic growth.
- RETIREMENT DESTINATION
Retiring baby boomers from around the nation are looking for unique, affordable and hospitable places to retire. New Mexico’s climate, natural beauty and affordability should make us a favorite destination. Instead, we make choices which keep them from coming here. Our policy of taxing out of state pensions and social security benefits and military pensions (one of eight states that does this) is usually a deciding factor in retirees not locating here. These practices need to end immediately.New Mexico should follow the lead of other states with growing retiree populations by launching Certified Retirement Community programs.
- BUSINESS RESILIENCY
The impact of severe weather on global business is now seen as a major risk factor for the insurance industry. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Sandy and Katrina, as well as the Japan tsunami, resulted in billions of dollars of lost business productivity and interruption to supply chain activity. With its mild climate and lack of extreme weather events, New Mexico could become an ideal location for global businesses to establish operations that allow them to maintain their competitive advantage during extreme weather events or other natural disasters. New Mexico’s weather and affordable land should be a selling point for business resilience strategies.
Other factors that can help transform our economy
ATTRACT MORE ENTREPRENEURS
Offer in-state tuition to international STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and Business students at New Mexico’s public universities. Statistically, these students are most likely to start new companies and create jobs for New Mexicans.
INVEST IN NEW MEXICO
The State Investment Council (SIC), guided by strict guidelines, should invest in companies that are locating or growing their companies in our own backyard. The SIC can provide providing financing for facilities or invest directly in companies themselves. The SIC should also establish a proof of concept fund that would help early-stage New Mexico start-ups and entrepreneurs and also stipulate that the use of those funds would obligate the company to build their businesses in New Mexico.
First and foremost, the role of the public education system is to prepare students to be productive citizens through academic and vocational teaching and training.
I am committed to ensuring that every child in New Mexico receives a quality public education with schools that are safe, where qualified teachers are recruited, supported and retained and parents are welcomed as an integral part of the school system.
A well-educated population is essential if New Mexico and her citizens are to compete in the world economy. A strong education is the foundation for our children to create their future and be inspired to positively contribute to our communities. It is critical for each of us to understand our role in supporting the educational development of our children.
Campaign slogans and promises such as “an education second to none” and similar words are empty. New Mexico does not need another slogan. Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and go to work and ensure every child has access to rich educational opportunities that will provide them with choice; the choice of attending college or entering the workforce.
New Mexico has 213 private schools with an enrollment of 25,298 students; we have a homeschool population estimated at about 10,000, and a charter school enrollment of 25,700 students. Parents understand that the current policies of the Public Education Department (PED) are failing our schools and their children and they are seeking alternatives to traditional public education.
We should be thankful for the outstanding array of school options providing families educational choices as well as the significant sacrifice parents make to fund private school education or home school their children. At the same time, we should be concerned about families that choose public schools. We will give them the highest educational opportunities possible for their children.
The centralized decision-making system has proven over and over incapable of responding effectively to the local needs of New Mexico communities, parents, teachers or students. Decisions must be made closer to the classrooms and communities that are directly affected by those decisions.
We have lived with the status quo; it is harmful for our state’s future and cannot be tolerated any longer. We cannot wait until tomorrow. Failure is not an option. The stakes are too high. Common sense and back-to-basics management will stabilize and bring steady improvement to our schools.
By shifting control back to our local communities and implementing common sense, time-tested processes and policies, we can create quality public schools for all students. Some policies can be implemented immediately while others will require more time and effort, but now is the time to outline a plan and get started.
Establish & Restore Trust with the Public Education Department
- The reforming of the public education system in New Mexico must be informed and led by New Mexican educators. By New Mexicans for New Mexicans.
- The state Public Education Department (PED) establishes and proactively communicates what the expectations are for our students and provides resources and support to districts and schools based on the local needs.
- State initiatives, policies and practices must reflect authentic input of the people working in the field. PED must get in front of, listen to, ask questions and incorporate feedback from those who serve our children daily.
- We will immediately suspend the current Teacher Evaluation System. We will seek input from New Mexico educators to create a system that is fair and meaningful. The revamped evaluation system should be simple and easy to understand.
- Using regional staff, possibly through the already established Regional Education Cooperatives, to provide specialized staff to support all public schools in a region. Areas of specialty available may include:
- Instructional support through modeling, coaching and mentoring for administrators and teachers;
- Operational support through budget and fiscal training; student data management
Regionally located PED staff would go to the districts instead of the districts always coming to the state.
Local Control and Leadership Development
- Decentralize operations by returning control of day to day management decisions to the local school districts and/or charter schools. From our urban and rural districts to our pueblo and border schools, each district and region is diverse and unique and should be directing how learning expectations are met.
- Training and support will be provided to support governing school boards in their role as educational leaders and drivers of reform in their regions. Our civic leaders serving on our school boards are critical to a district’s success and should know and understand basic education and management principles to successfully support and monitor the educational progress of their students.
- Fund operations equitably on a per pupil unit basis so that funding is adequate in all districts. We need to stop the practice of district superintendents jumping through hoops to get “below the line money.” The funding below the line should be available to all districts to provide resources and supports as they determine to meet the needs of their students.
- Build a pipeline to attract and retain strong administrators. Establish training and coaching to continue instructional leader development while adding a business operation component. Provide ample time for principals and superintendents to receive administrative training, support, and authentic internship opportunities prior to being assigned to a leadership position.
Let Teachers Teach
- Many of our teachers and schools are doing a superb job of providing quality learning opportunities for students. In my role as a Congressman, I have visited numerous classrooms. While many politicians tend to go for photo ops while reading to kids, I go and take questions from the students. You can learn far more by listening to their questions than by giving them pep talks or speeches. My visits have convinced me teachers can do the job.
- We need to remove barriers and let our teachers do what they are trained for and we will see immediate results. We ask our teachers to do things they are not trained for: behavior counseling, anger management, priests, pastors, policemen, etc. In doing so we take away valuable teaching time from the students who are there to learn. Basic discipline must be restored and chronically disruptive students removed and provided alternative opportunities so that a safe environment with a focus on learning is maintained.
- Deliver focused training to our new and alternatively licensed teachers so they can begin successfully teaching when they enter the classroom. Provide ongoing coaching to support them as they develop and hone their craft.
- Immediately suspend and redevelop the teacher evaluation system. We will bring teacher, parents, administrators, and other education advocates to the table to design an evaluation system that treats teachers fairly and respectfully, while creating accountability and measurable results.
- Recruit and retain qualified teaching staff. New Mexico is experiencing a teacher shortage crisis with many classrooms across the state staffed with long-term substitutes. This places an undue burden on the local teachers. We must work with our high schools and colleges to actively recruit students into the teaching profession and develop policies that encourage our current teachers to remain in the classroom.
- Give teachers voice by creating opportunities to provide genuine feedback to inform state policies and practices.
- Provide teachers with the resources and classroom supplies needed to do their job effectively and students have the materials they need for learning.
- Diversify funding sources to ensure stable funding streams to school districts and charter schools. About 35% of education funding comes from the oil and gas sector. A strong energy sector is vital for the state’s economy. However, we must diversify so our school budgets are not so dependent on one industry (oil and gas) that fluctuates beyond the control of New Mexico. Diversification must be achieved by attracting industry to our state, not just for funding schools but also to provide jobs for our educated workforce.
- Aging school facilities must be evaluated and prioritized on need. Construction should be funded on a need basis since some districts have much older buildings than others.
- Conduct independent operational audits of every department in every district to ensure state and federal dollars are directed where intended. If we are to deal with chronic shortages of funding and why teacher pay is low, we must get to the root cause of funding issues.
Apprenticeship Programs in High Schools
Not every student will attend college, nor should they. But their educational needs are just as important as the college bound student.
Our current practice of ignoring or minimally addressing the plight of those not headed to college will stop.
We will work to establish Apprenticeship Programs in every school district so that those students who do not intend to go to college will graduate with a diploma and a journeyman certificate which along with the experience gained while in the program will qualify them to get a job the day they graduate.
Giving students a purpose and a skill should be a requirement of every high school.
Choices for Parents and Students
- New Mexico should embrace all forms of education that give every family a choice in how to educate their child. Charter schools, magnet schools, e-schools and home schooling have a place in meeting the needs of some students.
- Encourage home school, private school and public school partnerships that allow students to participate in local education, sports and other extracurricular activities. Families pay taxes that support public education. All children should have access to these programs while local schools should receive the portion of funding needed to include these students.
Attack the Roots of Poverty
There’s not one of us who has not needed help coping at some time. For me it was shame of poverty and not measuring up.
We are going to help those who need it. This state will not give up on those who have stumbled.
New Mexicans are good and hardworking people. Sadly, many have given up hope of finding a job. New Mexico has some of the highest unemployment in the nation. At the same time, thousands of high paying jobs are going unfilled in the state. The job of pairing people needing jobs with the jobs available is a high priority. Thousands of New Mexico workers could have a job, supporting their families, and paying taxes to support critical services if we focus on providing the training or support they need to fill those jobs.
It is my commitment as Governor I will concentrate on providing hope to those who have lost it, courage to those who need, and training where it is required for anyone who wants to reenter the work force.
Those adults who have lost belief that they can get and hold a job will receive encouragement.
Those who are able bodied and just can’t find the courage to try to get a job will receive a helping hand to be paired with work.
Those with no skills will receive training.
New Mexico will not lose faith in any of her citizens.
We often complain that there are those who choose to not work when jobs are available. Actually, the poor are making a rational choice that gives them the most money to live on. We should adopt a sliding scale for benefits that will allow new entrants into the workforce to obtain a job without immediately losing all their benefits.
Attacking poverty starts with education.
A Brookings Institute study show that avoiding poverty can be accomplished by 3 basic steps:
- Get a high school diploma
- Wait until age 21 to get married and have children
- Get a full time job
Of those who follow these rules, only 2% end up in poverty, 75% join the middle class. These are simple rules; we are all capable of doing them.
71% of poor families with children are unmarried. Poverty rate among unmarried white families was 22%. Poverty among married black couples the same year was 7%. Poverty is more from decisions being made than the race or culture. Crime destroys communities.
Your life is in your own hands. You get to decide if you have a successful life or not. Take control. Work hard, make smart decisions and not hurting other people.
Women out of college in 147 of 150 largest cities women make 8% more than men in their peer group. That gap is growing not shrinking. 55% of people in college are women. 58% of graduate degrees are women. The reason there is a statistical difference is that there are women who take time out to have kids. Studies from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. James Chung, Reach Advisors.
Teaching those 3 basic steps to every New Mexican will be a goal which helps attack poverty at its roots. IRS studies show that poverty in the US is transitory. In this country you can make your way out of poverty with a little discipline and hard work. New Mexico will strive to help every person out of poverty.
Watching the people who are trying to escape from bad choices, from not having the tools to succeed. Watching them struggle without help is almost unbearable. They are covered up with day to day responsibilities and sometimes lose their foothold and slip all the way back to the bottom.
Replace all welfare programs with a simple supplement to wages and earned income tax credits. (tax credits to encourage hiring do not work)
Apprenticeship Programs in High Schools
Not every student will attend college, nor should they. But their educational needs are just as important as the college-bound student.
Our current practice of ignoring or minimally addressing the plight of those not headed to college will stop.
We will work to establish Apprenticeship Programs in every school district so that those students who do not intend to go to college will graduate with a diploma and a journeyman certificate which along with the experience gained while in the program will qualify them to get a job the day they graduate.
Giving students a purpose and a skill should be a requirement of every high school.
Behaviour, Mental Health, and Homelessness
Any effort to combat poverty must acknowledge the devastating effects of behavior and mental health and the long-term homelessness that affects New Mexicans. Budgets must reflect an increased commitment to addressing these difficult problems.
Unemployment benefits were meant to be short term relief for those who are laid off or face other interruptions. The program is useful but is being abused by some who want to avoid work.
The Labor Department will be provided a mobile phone APP that allows employers to identify people drawing unemployment who apply for work. The App will allow the employer to post immediately that the person is in fact looking for work. But they will also be able to post if the person refuses the job or if they take the job and do not show up. Those persons who turn down work or who do not show up for work will see reductions in their unemployment checks.
People abusing the system meant solely as a safety net will not be allowed to continue. By stopping the abuses, the program will be strengthened for those who need it.
Able bodied people without children will have a work requirement.
Adults with children who are not taking financial responsibility for their children will have a work requirement.
I believe the government has a moral responsibility to help those struggling with dependency. Virtually every job requires passing a drug screen. If a person cannot pass a drug screen to get a job, they will be encouraged to enter a treatment program to cure their drug habits to pave the way for them to lead productive lives.
Take Jobs into the Deep Pockets of Poverty
Many companies have great latitude in where to locate. Companies will be encouraged to locate in areas of poverty where the people have shown the capacity to be trained to become good employees. Taking the jobs to the poverty will help those trapped in circumstances beyond their control.
Standing Up for New Mexico’s Veterans
A warfighter leaving the armed forces requires the tools necessary to successfully integrate into the civilian world. Often times, Veterans are not fully aware of the benefits and services that the VA and the state provide.
- As Governor, I will formalize a statewide process that facilitates a transition for Veterans from military life to civilian life. I will focus on building up the number of VA accredited representatives and integrating them into local communities throughout the state. We will eradicate the bureaucracy that currently encumbers our Veterans. I will direct our VA representatives to be proactive in their outreach to Veterans, they will not simply stand by and wait for Veterans to come to them.
- My administration will fund the Veterans Education Program. This program provides guidance to public Institutions of Higher Learning in the development of Centers of Excellence for Veteran Students transitioning from the military to school, fostering academic success and credential attainment.
- After World War II, nearly half of the small businesses in America were Veteran-owned small businesses. Today, that number is less than five percent. My administration will work with the State Small Business Administration to identify and create small business opportunities for our Veterans.
Veterans in the Workforce
- Veterans come to the table with a set of job skills second to none. Not only do service members possess trade skills, but they also hold transferable skills employers desperately seek such as leadership, attention to detail, poise and discipline. To encourage Veterans to stay in our great state, we need to provide the opportunities for them to do so.
- My administration will develop a program granting reciprocity for licenses in the fields that these service members have trained.
- My administration will suspend all licensure fees for Veterans and their spouses, which are often expensive and place an undue burden on Veterans trying to enter the workforce.
- As a state, we should be cultivating our Veterans’ experience and brainpower to help grow our economy. To further ensure our Veterans start on an equal playing field, my Administration will guarantee every qualified veteran who applies for a state job gets an interview. Additionally, I would apply half of a Veterans’ years in service towards their state retirement plans, so a veteran that leaves the service after 10 years does not have to start at square one as a result of their honorable service in keeping our nation safe.
We need to be on a level playing field to attract to the state more military retirees and families. In addition to bringing their retired pay and associated benefits, they also have special skills and proven ability to create jobs by starting new businesses. New Mexico needs to join and compete with the 28 other states that exempt military retired pay from personal income tax (PIT). Absent that exemption New Mexico will continue to lose this valuable source of talent and income to include military retirees moving out of the state because of retired pay taxation.
My administration will support a 100% PIT exemption for the pay of uniformed service retirees and widowed spouses.
Post-Traumatic Stress Task Force
Combat Veterans returning from war and transitioning into the civilian sector face hurdles for which I am intimately familiar.
- Veterans throughout the state lack access to assistance for Post-Traumatic Stress. My administration will commit to serving our combat Veterans in the same way they served us.
- Provide screening and services for New Mexico National Guard when they are reintegrated into civilian life after a deployment
- Create a State network of therapists and support groups that have a special focus on PTS
- Ensure veterans who do not want to use the VA, or are too far from the VA have access to quality mental health care
- Work with our institutions of higher learning to create a PTS Center of Excellence in New Mexico
Women Veterans Task Force
My administration will lead from the front when it comes to supporting our Women Veterans. Our women Veterans face daunting challenges when they leave the military. Many are single mothers pursuing an education and trying to overcome many difficulties.
- I will bring the full resources of our state together to form a Women’s Veterans Task Force to identify ways to support our women Veterans.
- Our state will provide full tax credit and vouchers for women who are in job training or school and require childcare. No woman Veteran should have to sacrifice their professional betterment because they can’t afford safe childcare.
- For any who have experienced sexual trauma, we will make counseling and treatment available.
Homeless Veterans Task Force
My administration will make it our mission to end Veteran homelessness. Veterans make up about 10 percent of the overall homeless population in New Mexico, which puts the estimate of homeless Veterans between 750 and 1,000. Just like the military motto: “Leave No One Behind” my Administration will “Leave No Homeless Veteran Behind.”
Veterans Serving Veterans
Who knows the problems that a veteran faces better than a fellow vet? I stand steadfast in my belief that developing a program throughout the state that links Veterans together will foster better communications and relief for Veterans who are facing challenges they do not know how to overcome.
- Our Veterans Service Officers are extremely overtaxed. My administration will leverage the state-wide service organizations, such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts as force multipliers. These force multipliers can identify and “intake” Veterans from their post and community for service support.
My administration will create a statewide support program – NM Vets 4 Vets – that connects Veterans with each other to provide support for Veterans dealing with the unique challenges they face.
- Additionally, we will create a state-chartered Veteran’s County Advisory Board comprised of local veteran leaders from every county to give input and policy guidance on challenges facing Veterans.
Thanking our New Mexican Veterans
- We live in the Land of Enchantment, where individuals come from far and wide to access our beautiful state parks, hunt our lands and fish our streams. My administration will use our beautiful state and resources to our advantage by granting free fishing and hunting licenses and a guaranteed deer tag to any honorably discharged New Mexico resident veteran who served a minimum of 90 days consecutive active duty.
- In addition, Veterans and their families will have free access to state parks and camping sites.
- We will also capitalize on our growing mass transit system by granting free access for Veterans to train and bus services.
- Finally, we will waive all motor vehicle administrative fees for any honorably discharged New Mexico resident Veterans.
Assuring Public Safety
Support our Police and uniformed law enforcement
Drug Prevention and Treatment
Today, 80% of crimes leading to incarceration are related to drug or alcohol abuse. We can no longer ignore the effect this is having on our families, our communities, our children or our future.
- Separate the mentally ill from the criminal population
- Opioid Addiction
- Domestic violence
- Border Security
- Strict criminal penalties for those who profit from the sale and distribution of illegal drugs.
- Gangs and Cartels
Affordable, Accessible Healthcare
New Mexico is blessed with one of the best and healthiest places to live in the country. Our air is clean, the natural beauty of the state is unparalleled and our social diversity fills our society with a vitality that is special among all the states.
New Mexico is a healthy place to live but health care is not always accessible in some remote areas and is expensive in the urban areas. Health insurance is not always available and uninsured illness can financially devastate a family.
My pledge for the new beginning is to meet these challenges head on to improve access to health care in every corner of the state and to provide competitive markets where insurance is available and affordable.
New Mexico faces a problem with almost half of our population (905,000 people out of a population of about 2 million people) on Medicaid.
Many times, people who really need the support have trouble getting it because the system is overwhelmed. My commitment is to see that every case is reviewed for accuracy. Those who are gaming the system will be removed. Able-bodied people without children will have a work requirement. That way, the system can be focused on providing quality service for those who truly need it.
The founding fathers organized this country around the concepts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; life being the first of those.
One of the most important functions of a government is to speak for those who have no political power, who essentially have no voice, the mentally ill, the poor and others who tend to be overlooked in society. Those with the least voice are the unborn.
As governor, I will enforce the law of the land and ensure that institutions in the state are abiding by the law. I will also seek to bring the citizens of the state to the point of agreement that the unborn should be protected under the Constitution the same as all lives are protected.
In all the discussions about life, the people who are experiencing their last years should receive equal respect and protection under the law.
Encourage employers to provide health insurance by allowing a tax credit for employees who work less than 20 hours per week.
Protect Our Environment
The human is the first and most important part of the environment. We should do everything we can to make life easier for our citizens.
Each generation holds the land in trust and should use it but we must keep it clear and clean for future generations. Where possible, we should clean up messes left by previous generations.
New Mexico is a stunning, beautiful state. One of our great benefits is the vast expanse of undeveloped areas. We have much public land. That land should be accessible to all. As an avid hiker and backpacker, I value the majesty of our national forests, the solitude of our wilderness and the limitless horizon of the eastern side of the state.
We should invest in forest management to protect our forests and watersheds from the impact of extreme fire and drought. These lands are the lifeblood of our rural economy including tourism, forest products, and agriculture.
Restoring the health of our forests will allow the natural recharging of our streams and aquifers, providing much-needed water that an arid state usually captures.
New Mexico used to have more than 100 timber mills and a vibrant forest economy. We should immediately rebuild that once thriving economy, restoring our healthy forests while renewing hope in some of the most economically distressed, rural counties of our state.
An entire new industry based around bio-fuels production and bio-mass energy can be created producing alternative energy while cleaning up the overgrown forests.
In all this, we will diminish the likelihood of the massive fires that destroy our forests for generations to come.
WATER: Conserve, Protect and Develop New Sources
New Mexico needs to become a global leader in research and development around all things water. Water security, food security, health, and energy will be major issues confronting the world for the foreseeable future. New Mexico can lead the way in resource management, especially as it relates to water and energy. If we in New Mexico can solve our own water problems through technology, planning and policy initiatives, we can be a leader in the water issues for the nation.
As governor, I will establish a new approach to reclaiming and reusing water. In counties that produce oil and gas, millions of gallons of water are disposed of each day. Where practical, water should be treated and provided for use in industry and preserve our aquifers for use in towns which face dwindling water supplies.
Other states have become aggressive in trying to take water from whatever source they can find. Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada have made attempts to secure water in New Mexico and pipeline it to their cities. If we allow our water to be shipped out of state we forfeit forever our future.
New Mexico will protect its water.
Clean Up Water to Provide New Sources
In many areas of the state, we have abundant water, it is just not clean water. New Mexico should become a world leader in the cleanup and reuse of water.
Support Every Form of Energy
We have abundant energy; tremendous reserves of oil and gas, geothermal, biomass, sunlight and abundant wind energy. We enjoy more than 320 days of sunshine a year and our vast open spaces are a valuable resource to the alternative energy sector. Nuclear is the ultimate clean fuel with no emissions. New Mexico can be a national leader in every form of energy.