VISION: Pride in New Mexico
- I envision us having pride in New Mexico for being a leader of states and not just a follower. We have the talent, experience and resources, when working together, to make New Mexico a leader. Working together will benefit all New Mexicans including those of us in District 20.
- Continuing to allow politics as usual and special interest groups to direct our future is not in the best interest of our district and New Mexico.
- Based upon my past experience and background, I am honored to work with District 20 and New Mexico in moving us forward. It is not an easy task, but I spent my career handling tough issues by using:
- Common sense
- Plain speaking
- Hard work
- Compassion; and
- Ethical Standards.
I was honored this year to receive the “Spirit of Bi-Partisanship Award” from NM First for working across the aisle with members of both parties.
Here are some of the key issues facing New Mexico. Click on each to learn more about my ideas to address them.
- I am continuing my campaign policy of not accepting any lobbyist or political action committee (PAC) money, and as a legislator I do not accept any gifts or free meals. This is a bold position, and I firmly believe in these principles.
- I have gone door-to-door with our District 20 residents and my position has been well received because folks are concerned with how elections are unduly influenced by these monies.
- I successfully fought for over 20 years to keep our state, county, and city government meetings and public records open to the public. I was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from New Mexico Foundation for Open Government
- Government doors must be kept open so that we are able to deter potential corruption. Policy changes and financial decisions made behind closed doors lead to distrust and adversely affect all of us. The public must not be left in the dark.
- The legislature this year passed the joint resolution I sponsored to establish an Ethics Commission. There was strong support from a bi-partisan coalition of co-sponsoring legislators. The joint resolution will be on the General Election ballot next year, 2018, for voter approval. With voter approval the Ethics Commission will be in our state constitution so the commission cannot be dissolved by simple legislative action. The legislature had been talking about establishing an Ethics Commission for over 20 years.
During my 24 years as a small business owner we created jobs, provided high school students with employment, met monthly payroll, and paid taxes. I will use that background and experience when addressing the tough economic issues facing us.
- Party politics as usual and special interest groups should not be dictating our economic future.
- To grow our economy and create jobs in New Mexico we need a more business-friendly approach. In the areas of business competitiveness and economy, New Mexico is last in a seven state region. We must create a more business-friendly approach while reasonably balancing the needs of employers and employees. Simply raising taxes is not the solution to grow the economy or create jobs.
- When addressing issues, we need to use an approach that does not cause more businesses to close or drive away potential new businesses. We continue to lose jobs and remain at the bottom of job growth. We did not get here in just the last few years.
- Job training and vocational education are important to grow our skilled work force.
- Government does not create jobs; but, it can create unnecessary regulations, unreasonable taxes and red tape that cost us jobs.
- Over 50% of new businesses do not survive after 4 years. We need to support and grow the New Mexico programs that mentor, train and educate our new business owners. When successfully completing these programs the number of new businesses that survive and grow increases substantially.
- Continued support and enforcement of the New Mexico Fair Pay for Women Act.
- Economic growth is important to our District 20. In order to stimulate economic growth, it is vital that we continue the development of the East Central corridor. In particular, we need to find pathways for new businesses to succeed while replacing the ones that have failed.
- Our K – 12 education system must be improved so that we retain our work force and attract new businesses.
While walking our neighborhoods and hearing from residents it is clear that we share the same desire: a quality education, of which we can be proud, for our children. Education is about students and must not be about politics as usual and special interest groups. Blaming each other will not improve the situation. We must work together to make the system better. The motto “Together We Can,” from Manzano Mesa Elementary School in our District 20, summarizes my position.
New Mexico’s current state of affairs is:
- Three out of ten high school students do not graduate.
- High school dropouts earn roughly $10,000 less per year than their peers who earned a diploma.
- Even with a budget of $2.72 billion, representing 44% of our state’s $6.2 billion budget, we remain near the bottom in rankings among states, from 44th to 50th in several categories.
We did not get here overnight, but the time to come together is now. The efficiency, effectiveness and direction of how our education dollars are being spent must be reassessed without being tied to a model which has proven to be ineffective for many years. New Mexicans and our children deserve a better return on our huge investment. Areas needing our action are:
- Ensuring that students read at grade level. If 3rd graders cannot read at 3rd grade level they are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.
- Improving and supporting early childhood development.
- Recognizing effective teachers/administrators while paving the way for others to be effective.
- Treating teachers/administrators as professionals and recognizing that all professionals are evaluated. Work out the flaws in the current evaluation process and move forward.
- Partnering with parents to emphasize with their children the value of education. Parents are our first teachers and role models.
- Enforcing class size requirements so teachers can teach and students can learn.
- Joining businesses and schools in our district and New Mexico to provide mentoring and support for successful programs like Junior Achievement.
- Searching out models that work to keep older students in school and successful; then replicating those models in our system.
My two sons, Jay and Lucas, went through Albuquerque’s public school system from start to finish. My wife, Nancy, is a former Albuquerque Public School’s Spanish/English teacher and administrator at Rio Grande, Sandia and West Mesa High Schools. Our family values public education. I know from raising two sons and coaching youth sports that children get a unique look in their eyes when they learn something new. We are obligated to provide an educational system that inspires our children to learn.
During the 2017 legislative session I voted for bills to assist veterans and their families.
House Military and Veterans’ Affairs Interim Committee
I am honored to serve on the House Military and Veterans’ Affairs Interim Committee which addresses issues involving our military bases and veterans. The Committee meets around the state on almost a monthly basis between legislative sessions. I put on the November 2015 Agenda a presentation by Jim Quick, Colonel, United States Air Force, Retired. The presentation discussed the success in New Mexico and nationally of the Folds of Honor program. The program provides scholarships for spouses and children of those killed or disabled in service to America.
Military and Veterans Day at the Legislature
It was so wonderful to see so many participants and friends during the February 23, 2017 Military and Veterans Day at the Legislature. This is a special day to honor our active duty service members and veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for our country.
Veterans Integration Center’s 10th Anniversary
I attended the celebration of the Center’s 10th Anniversary at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial. Congratulations to the staff for doing a great job of assisting our male and female veterans. The Center is located in the area of our District 20 at 13032 Central Ave. SE. Stop by and say hi to the staff.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park
Numerous legislators and I allocated some of our capital outlay dollars for much-needed capital improvements at the park. My allocation was $10,000.
The Park, located near Angel Fire, is a historical site in New Mexico which keeps alive the memory of our Vietnam veterans. If you get the chance when in the area, please visit the park.
District 20 Veterans Endorse Jim
For a list of District 20 veterans who have endorsed me see News/Endorsements—District 20 Veterans Endorse Jim. Contact me if you would like your name to be added to the list.
If you have a question about veterans’ issues, call me. During my first two terms in the legislature I voted for legislation helping veterans and assisted others.