For as many years as anyone can remember, legislators come to the session promising to do something dynamic enough to make Mississippi jealous.
That’s because each year, reports say that our children are last in child wellbeing, poverty or some combination of both.
This year, New Mexico’s Senators are weighing in, urging their legislators back home to stop talking and start doing to fix the problem.
In a letter released just minutes before the governor’s State of the State address, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich published a letter to legislative leaders outlining their efforts on the federal level to help our children and asking state legislators to send a Constitutional Amendment to voters to open just 1% of the state’s $17 billion ($17,000,000,000) Land Grant Permanent Fund to provide early childhood education programs to every child, statewide.
“New Mexico is at a critical juncture,” the Udall/Heinrich letter begins. “The economy is stalled, families are struggling and more needs to be done to ensure that our children are in the best possible position to succeed later in life.”
They also outline their successes at the federal level to “maximize federal resources coming into New Mexico for quality health care and education in order to help struggling families break free from multigenerational poverty.”
Among the programs they cite:
- The Affordable Care Act
- Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization
- passage of the Every Student Success Act (ending No Child Left Behind)
- enhanced federal tax credits, and
- protecting NM from cuts to SNAP (food stamp) programs in the Farm Bill
This is not the first time Udall and Heinrich have called for legislators to move past their gridlock and pass this legislation.
In his address to the legislature last year (read more here), Sen. Udall called for legislators to send the amendment to voters.
Senator Heinrich echoed that call in his own address. The Land Grant Permanent Fund is often referred to as a “rainy day fund” for the state. Senator Heinrich proclaimed to the session last year, “It’s raining.”
Read the full letter here: Childhood Wellbeing letter to NM Legislators