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Governor outlines familiar priorities

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham touted bipartisanship and vowed to pursue policy initiatives touching on health care, taxes and education in a speech Wednesday to business leaders.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who took office this year, said her first legislative session started with the passage and signing of dozens of bipartisan bills that had won broad support in previous years, only to be vetoed by her predecessor, Republican Susana Martinez.

The legislation ranged from promoting investment in a Roswell airport to diabetes prevention efforts in schools, she said.

It would have been easy to start fresh and set aside the past legislation when her administration took office Jan. 1, Lujan Grisham said. But the old bills, sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, had merit and deserved fast-track consideration, she said.

“These are good ideas that make a difference for New Mexicans,” Lujan Grisham said.

She also vowed to address a shortage of doctors in New Mexico by boosting Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers, investing in hospitals, building a surgical tower at the University of New Mexico Hospital and revising medical malpractice laws that discourage doctors from working in the state.

Lujan Grisham said she will also work with lawmakers to build on work they’ve already done – pursuing simplification of the state tax code, making more adjustments to the school system in response to a landmark court ruling, and changing state rules for probation and parole.

“We have one of the most complicated tax codes anywhere,” Lujan Grisham said, “and it doesn’t make sense.”

The new governor’s comments came in a speech to the nonpartisan Economic Forum of Albuquerque, a coalition of business and community leaders. She spoke to an audience of about 310 people at the Embassy Suites hotel.

It was her third presentation in front of business groups in Albuquerque in three days. On Monday, she addressed 450 people at a NAIOP luncheon, which represents the development and construction industries. And on Tuesday evening, she gave a half-hour speech at a reception hosted by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

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