On Nov. 3, the voters of Rio Rancho and throughout New Mexico delivered a clear message: We want forward-thinking solutions to our challenges and our legislature cannot go back to “business as usual” in January.
The voters in Rio Rancho participated in this call for change with the elections of new state Sen.-Elect Democrat Katy Duhigg (serving west Albuquerque, plus parts of Rio Rancho) and Sen.-Elect Democrat Brenda McKenna (Corrales and parts of Rio Rancho and Bernalillo). Duhigg replaces Republican Sen. Candace Gould, and the progressive McKenna replaces conservative Democrat Sen. John Sapien.
Will the New Mexico Senate itself reflect the will of the voters by choosing new leadership to better represent the voters?
I believe the next leaders in the New Mexico State Senate should embody now and have consistently demonstrated with their actions — beyond rhetoric only — the following traits:
• Prioritize equity for all New Mexicans, regardless of race, class, gender or gender identity.
• Promote a transparent legislative process, and especially a transparent budget process.
• Be accessible to all New Mexicans.
• Represent all New Mexicans, not just those with money and power.
• Act with courage. This means showing a willingness to take on and move bold policies.
I am fortunate to work with a number of individuals and organizations who believe the New Mexico State Senate leadership should center all policy proposals around working families. This means the following:
• Develop and promote a new, bold economic model for New Mexico, reducing our reliance on the declining oil and gas industry.
• Fully fund early childhood education, and equitably and sufficiently fund K-12 schools, enabling the state to finally comply with the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit.
• Support workers’ rights, including domestic and immigrant workers.
• Support comprehensive health-care access for all.
• Respect our pregnancy decisions.
• Protect our climate, air, land and water.
• Ensure that the democratic process, and elections in particular, are open and accessible.
The new senate leadership must embody these values, and focus on these policy priorities. I call on senators to act with courage and honor the will of the people by voting for leadership that shares the above values and moves bold policy forward.