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Ex-governor weighs in: NM can set itself up for some more ‘good news’

I have mentioned many times everything worth saying has been written in country and western music. As New Mexico, our country and the world faces the coronavirus pandemic, I am reminded of Ann Murray and her song, “I sure could use a little good news today.”

Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers

Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers

We struggle every day, with hours and hours of media coverage, to find a kernel of “good news.” It is a little good news that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her administration have taken early, decisive, data-driven measures to see New Mexico through this most dangerous health threat. In my view, she has shown appropriate concern for all citizens, our institutions, economy and system of governance. I recognize these measures do not always suit our fierce New Mexico independence to go where we want to go, do what we want to do, and to do business as usual.

By the way, it is not exactly the most onerous thing we will do to ask everyone to wear a mask when in public!

I have admired the work of Dr. David Scrase of the governor’s administration, a fellow I worked with years ago, who brings his immense intelligence, analytic skills and medical background to bear just at the right time. His presentations are detailed, not presented as alarming, but as an accurate depiction of the reality of the pandemic in New Mexico. There is a little good news: Our New Mexico leadership team is “on it!”

Someday, the coronavirus pandemic will be tamed, thanks to the skills and dedication of scientists, medical personnel, caregivers, first responders and the public and/or private research firms that will develop a vaccine for this virus. However, it is imperative that our current and next generation of leaders address some long-standing systemic social and economic issues that have exacerbated our current situation and will delay recovery.

For starters, they need to advance programs for:

• Eliminating health care and health disparities in our state.

• Achieving an 85% high school graduation rate and increased participation in higher education through lifetime learning to develop an internationally competitive workforce.

• Rationalizing our public finance programs to focus on the systemic problems instead of trying to do a little something for everyone.

If this were to occur, the good news would be New Mexico will be positioned to take on the next big challenge, whatever it might be.

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