The Southwest is the fastest growing region in the United States. Even prior to the pandemic … our land of ever-increasing economic opportunity was attracting the attention of a broader audience. Today, high-skilled workers are flocking here, including those who left, creating “brain gain.” Nationally, business leaders are re-thinking conventional wisdom, fleeing the coasts, and more often than not, choosing to become our neighbors. Additionally, large-scale capital will begin to flow from President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, looking for a home. All this sets the stage for historic opportunity in New Mexico, a moment we must not only meet but exceed and grab prosperity together.
The possibilities that excite business and investors is no surprise to New Mexicans. Collectively, we share a pride in our state’s culture, diversity and sense of strong community. That translates into business opportunities local leaders have long been pushing and are now paying dividends.
You can feel the momentum. We hear a constant drumbeat about large-scale companies moving to New Mexico, thanks to the work of private and public-sector leaders working together. Since 2019, there have been 30 commercial projects totaling nearly $2.2 billion across industry – from film and aerospace to clean energy and medicine. This includes global entertainment powerhouse Netflix hosting its largest North American production facilities in Albuquerque.
To sustain this growth we need a blueprint that shows New Mexico can be a leader in the rise of Southwestern economic prosperity. That requires we lean into what makes us great by bringing business and government together, moving in one direction, building an economy that offers prosperity for all.
New Mexico is not only on the rise here at home, but on the national stage as well. Deb Haaland, who broke barriers as one of the first two native American women to serve in Congress, recently was confirmed to President Biden’s Cabinet as the secretary of the Interior. Former congressman and now Sen. Ben Ray Luján was the highest-ranking Hispanic in the 116th Congress.
That prominent representation will soon translate to real economic benefits for our state. The administration recently unveiled its infrastructure plan highlighting significant opportunities for New Mexico to receive federal funding, including $115 billion for roads and bridges, $85 billion for public transit, $42 billion for ports and airports and $111 billion for water infrastructure, a lifeline to our state.
Recently, Luján emphasized how the president’s proposal – The Americans Job Plan – will provide much-needed support and investments to our state beyond traditional infrastructure. In New Mexico, that means education, technology and science – bastions of modern innovation. The plan includes $18 billion to modernize Veteran Affairs hospitals, $48 billion for workforce development, $100 billion to upgrade K-12 public schools, and $40 billion to upgrade research infrastructure in laboratories.
As America turns the corner on the most challenging economic time in the last century, New Mexico is uniquely positioned to accelerate its economic recovery by embracing new investment and strategically leveraging the private sector with upcoming federal opportunities. Already New Mexicans are building back better. Let’s show our state, and the nation, we mean business.
Raul Alvillar is a native New Mexican and served as the Biden/Harris Presidential Campaign State Director of New Mexico. He has held numerous positions in the Obama White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.