We’ve all seen the picturesque ads on billboards, TV, and in magazine pages. “New Mexico True” they say, with stunning sunsets and images of folks having the time of their lives at cultural events or recreating outside. But a group that works with New Mexico’s children has brought attention to the fact that New Mexico ranks 49th in the nation for child wellbeing, something hardly worth celebrating but equally “true” about the state (also, it’s something Governor Martinez has never even acknowledged).
St. Joseph’s Children, a non-profit entity based in Albuquerque and affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives, has launched an ad campaign that parodies the “New Mexico True” campaign with the tagline “New Mexico Truth.” The campaign has already created quite a stir with the ads. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported today that spokespeople from the NM Department of Tourism and from the governor’s office have condemned the ads and called them an attempt to score “cheap political points.” They’ve also, apparently, sent a “cease and desist” letter to the campaign’s organizers — a tactic the Martinez administration has attempted in the past.
FLASHBACK: You may recall when Governor Martinez tried to force local TV stations not to run an ad ProgressNow NM helped produce that was critical of her. Her pattern of trying to stifle any speech critical of her isn’t too hard to sniff out, is it? You can read about that HERE.
The statistics are quite grim when it comes to New Mexico’s children. 31% of New Mexico children live in poverty, and on average 26% of the state’s kids don’t graduate on time or at all. While it is true that the state’s tourism campaign has shown some real results in bringing in tourism dollars, little money has been freed up to help kids during Governor Martinez’s tenure in office.
The Tourism office had a budget in 2015 of $12.84 million, and utilized nearly 67% of that in advertising around the “New Mexico True” slogan.
The “New Mexico Truth” campaign has stated goals of freeing up money from the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to go toward funding for early childhood development, programs which show long term positive effects for both kids and parents, as well as having a high return on investment in terms of economic growth.
What do you think of the new ad campaign? Do you think it will be effective in persuading obstructionist legislators to finally debate whether we should tap the permanent fund to help New Mexico’s children? Let us know on our social media or in the comments.