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Editorial: Journal endorses CNM board incumbent, bond

They might not be the highest-profile items on Albuquerque’s unified ballot this fall, but area residents shouldn’t discount the importance of two questions regarding Central New Mexico Community College.

With more than 24,000 students, CNM is the state’s largest higher education institution and plays a crucial role in both developing N.M.’s workforce and providing transitional learning experiences for students bound for four-year universities. The school serves students from a wide range of ages, cultures and life experiences.

Wise leadership of, and adequate facilities at, the college are necessary now more than ever. As Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her Higher Education Department work through details for the plan to provide free tuition to qualified New Mexicans, CNM’s role will undoubtedly increase.

Governing Board Seat 6 – Virginia Lopez Trujillo

In this shifting environment, CNM’s board members are currently on a hunt for a new president, following the retirement announcement of Katharine Winograd after more than two decades leading the school.

It’s vitally important the board gets that search – and the transition to the world of free tuition – right. Those entrusted with keeping the promise of college need to be equipped to deliver more than a we’ll-get-you-in-for-a-one-semester-and-done experience.

That’s why in District 6 – the only challenged CNM board race on the ballot – voters should support incumbent candidate Virginia Lopez Trujillo.

Lopez Trujillo, who is finishing her first board term, has run high school programs, has a master’s in adult education and knows the importance of a post-secondary credential. She also understands the challenges that come with major shifts in the political landscape, thanks to decades of experience in public service. She is all-in with CNM’s mission of putting out workforce-ready graduates and has already helped the college stay nimble in response to ever-changing needs from employers, with brewing and meat curing among course additions. Training students for the retail and film workforce, as well as ensuring people are able to make a living wage, top her to-do list for a second term.

Lopez Trujillo has the incumbent’s edge of knowing what it takes to get things done. The Journal recommends voters keep her on the CNM board.

Vote ‘yes’ on the CNM bond measure

Albuquerque voters should keep CNM’s unique mission in mind and support the college’s $84 million general obligation bond measure on the ballot.

Passage of the measure will not increase the tax rate and will allow the college to invest in a number of important facilities and technologies. These include building the first phase of a film production center, creating a multi-generational learning facility in the South Valley where CNM students can bring their children to get tutoring while Mom or Dad studies or goes to class, adding overdue trades/applied technologies facilities on the main and Rio Rancho campuses, updating the student services building and build an outdoor lecture hall/amphitheater at Main Campus, funding a roads update at the Northeast Heights campus and renovating the West Side campus.

CNM leaders have done their homework to ensure bond projects are spread across the Metro area, target workforce and university needs and give taxpayers the most bang for their bucks.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.