Working families have a voice in the Roundhouse - Albuquerque Journal

Working families have a voice in the Roundhouse

Javier Martinez

On Tuesday, lawmakers, state officials and other dignitaries from across the state will descend upon our Roundhouse for the official opening day of our 56th legislative session. And, while the formality and ceremony of our Legislature can feel intimidating, as the Democratic nominee for your next Speaker of the House, I want to remind you that our Roundhouse belongs to you.

When I first entered the Roundhouse over a decade ago as a community organizer and advocate, I saw firsthand how the well-connected walked into offices with ease, while advocates such as myself waited for the opportunity to speak to legislators. I know that some of the best solutions to our biggest problems come from the communities who live those challenges, but struggle to be heard.

Since then, I have proudly witnessed our Legislature make tremendous strides in becoming more open, more transparent and more welcoming to all New Mexicans. I am incredibly grateful to my constituents and my colleagues for trusting me with the opportunity to continue that progress from the Speaker’s chair. My door will always remain open to anyone who wants to make New Mexico a better place to live, no matter their walk of life or side of the aisle.

A key dynamic to the change we have seen in our Roundhouse is having representation that reflects the diversity of our state and our values. A majority of the representatives in our statehouse are now women and people of color. Diverse representation results in innovative and effective policy.

In recent sessions, we have made incredible progress, working together to pass some of the most transformative legislation in state history — delivering real results for New Mexicans today, while planting seeds for generational change. We delivered historic investments in education, from pre-K to higher ed, more equitable tax policies, such as the state Child Tax Credit, important measures to protect and expand access to health care, and major improvements in our infrastructure and access to broadband throughout the state.

Still, we know that, across our state, too many hardworking New Mexicans are still struggling. So, we will keep diversifying our economy, creating well-paid jobs and moving toward a clean energy future. We will continue fighting for safer communities, stronger schools, healthier families and more opportunities for all New Mexicans.

State lawmakers are now on the front lines of the battles to protect reproductive health care, marriage equality, voting rights and our children’s freedom to learn. Your House of Representatives stands ready to protect your fundamental rights in this session and beyond.

My parents came to this country with a firm belief in the power of the American Dream. Through their hard work, they were able to get ahead and create a brighter future for their children. When granted the honor of serving as your Speaker, I committed to fighting to ensure that every hardworking family in our state can also build a successful life right here in our Land of Enchantment.

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