SANTA FE, N.M. — For nearly two decades, I was a District Judge in the First Judicial District, which includes my home town, Santa Fe. For much of that time, I was the Children’s Court Judge. Every day, I asked myself what the potential was for a child who had gotten into trouble. Could a counseling program help? How could the child learn job skills? Was the child too far gone to be a successful community member?
Fortunately, I grew up in difficult circumstances. I say “fortunately” because it made it easier for me to see the humanity in these children, all of us being from the same background. Every day, I am grateful for the love and strength of my mother in helping me believe in myself. Too many of the kids I knew were smart, but were never helped to believe in themselves.
That is why I am so excited about Pre-K for Santa Fe. It would mean a dramatic expansion of pre-K if it is approved by the voters on May 2. I am grateful that it is aimed at the children I knew who were never prepared for school. Before I was a judge, I was a School Board member, so I know how crucial pre-K is for the success of disadvantaged children.
Big Soda is funding a local group that opposes a sugary beverage tax to pay for pre-K. They say it is an unstable revenue source because sugary beverage consumption might go down. They say there is a “better way.” But when you look at what they propose, the “better way” means “no way.” The only concrete proposal they make is that we use this year’s projected city surplus, which would be the first surplus in years.
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