Critical Issues

Education, public infrastructure, health care, and job development are core responsibilities of State Government. After years of neglect, each of these areas requires fresh thinking. New initiatives must respect New Mexico values, while responding to national trends and the broad range of conditions across our state.

With a strong Democratic Governor and support from the Legislature, we will turn our state around. Beginning in January 2019, New Mexicans can expect an across-the-board push to transform job opportunities and education, health care, and public infrastructure.

Why the Lt. Governor Makes a Difference - SPANISH

Billy’s Positions

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New Mexicans deserve a great public education system that supports early childhood education, strong K-12 programs, vocational training, and academic excellence at the college and post-graduate levels. All children deserve a quality education regardless of where they live.

Funding levels must be increased—in part by increasing the annual drawdown on the permanent fund. Rebuilding our public education program will depend on spending these public resources on public programs. Specific areas where additional funding is needed include: increases to the salaries of all educational professionals, improving school facilities, and addressing the standard for culturally appropriate educational opportunities.

Other changes that will strengthen our public education system include increased reliance on local school boards, involving unions as partners in school reform, and revision of testing practices—in terms of purpose, subject matter, and frequency.

View My Plan for Improved Education

The places where we live, work, and spend our free time all depend on a number of systems to ensure public health, safety, and wellbeing. Roads, water supply, and sewer treatment are good examples. Some of these systems are owned and operated by public entities (county and municipal governments), some by quasi-governmental entities (mutual domestic water authorities), and some by private entities (natural gas and electrical supply companies).

Many of our public infrastructure systems are inadequate or are in poor condition.

Chief among the systems needing a significant infusion of funding are flood protection, utilities such as sewer and water supply, roads, and streets. Statewide access to broadband is a critical requirement for business development, telemedicine, and on-line education. New or upgraded facilities are needed in many small communities and rural areas to support public safety (police and fire services), community services, and recreation. And finally, tens of thousands of affordable housing units are needed by families throughout the state.

Every New Mexico resident deserves full access to affordable health care. It is time for a universal coverage under a single payer system such as would be provided under the New Mexico Health Security Act. The plan must address the full range of services New Mexicans deserve including dental, hearing, vision, and mental health. The program must not limit health care choices for women.

Special attention will be needed to address the shortage of doctors and other medical professionals throughout the state. A second initiative must rebuild and expand mental health services—including early screening and intervention, jail diversion, and crisis intervention. And finally, our obligations for veterans’ health services must be honored in a way that works for veterans.

The business development model currently in use by state government relies heavily on business incentives and deregulation. One assumption seems to be that giving away money to businesses will help them overlook a host of shortcomings in the state and its residents. Another assumption is that only private sector jobs are worth pursuing.

I favor an approach to economic development that capitalizes on the intrinsic qualities of New Mexico, invests first in people, and limits incentives to very targeted opportunities where returns clearly outweigh public investment.

Businesses prosper in an environment where the workforce is well educated, healthy, adequately paid, and generally satisfied. No one should work 40 hours a week for less than a living wage ($15/hr.). Strengthening this foundation should be our first priority in terms of economic development.

Adequate infrastructure is also essential for business initiation, growth, and relocation. The concern here is not limited to whether a system exists but its capacity. For example, roads in some areas must be able to handle overweight loads, electrical must be consistently transmitted, and inter-net access must meet certain standards for speed and volume.

The final point is that business development requires capital. Potential sources include: increased federal spending in New Mexico, strategic drawdown of the State’s $23B in reserves, low interest loans to public entities based on investment of state reserves in local (NM) financial institutions, direct appropriations of the State’s annual revenue, and revisions to the New Mexico tax code. Taken as a whole, these sources will address basic public service requirements while underpinning long-term sustainable job growth and business activity.

From the Gila Wilderness to the Organ Mountains to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico is a place of great natural beauty. For generations, people have come here to celebrate and care for the environment. As Lieutenant Governor, I will honor our state’s legacy of conservation by working with the Governor, Legislature, and public to protect our air, land, water, and wildlife. Together, we will lay a foundation for a healthy and prosperous future for all New Mexicans.

View My Environmental Priorities

New Mexicans know that the status quo is not working.  Over 20% of our residents live in poverty.  Ten percent of New Mexicans lack access to health care.  Our teachers are underpaid and many schools are in disrepair.  And our unemployment is one of the highest in the nation.

The current situation is unacceptable.  New Mexicans deserve better in terms of their immediate circumstances and future possibilities. Delivering fundamental systemic change requires that we rethink the way government is funded.  Action is needed now to reform our tax system and put the state’s permanent funds to more beneficial use.

View My Fiscal Priorities

“We must confront the institutional bias in this state against women and the poor, native people and people of color, rural residents and the LGBTQ community.”