In a recent letter 17 of New Mexico’s 109 mayors supported all of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s actions in fighting COVID-19. They declared their commitment to “stay the course until this deadly disease is fully defeated.”
We appreciate those mayors and the concerns they have for their communities. We also share the desire to protect the lives of those in our cities and throughout our great state. It is wrong, however, to assert that by advocating for a responsible reopening of our economies that we do not care about the health and safety of our constituents.
First and foremost, we want all New Mexicans to be healthy and safe. That’s our top priority; however, due to the governor’s lack of strategy, New Mexico is suffering. For more than a month now every New Mexican and business owner has agreed to the shared sacrifice ordered by the governor. We have all acknowledged that by working together we can minimize and hopefully defeat COVID-19. Yet, it seems like local businesses are the ones doing most of the “shared sacrifice.”
We have watched while customers flock into the big-box stores – out-of-state, giant corporations – while locally owned small businesses fold and the unemployment rate skyrockets.
These 17 mayors say “nothing has changed” since social distancing began. Wrong. Every day shoppers crowd into the big-box stores. By the end of that business day, the money they spent in those stores leaves the state forever. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been deposited into out-of-state bank accounts for these major corporations, never to return to New Mexico. Ever.
Meantime, our local businesses are collapsing, closing and local economies may never recover. We can responsibly have social distancing at all businesses. The rules need to be fair. The 17 mayors stress to keep the governor’s course, that a change would “be as if a boxer dropped his fists and raised his chin in the middle of a round.” Let’s clarify: New Mexico is about to be TKO’d.
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