US Medal of Freedom winner, community activist Dolores Huerta to speak

June 30, 2014

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505 

ALBUQUERQUE—Dr. Art Rolnick, formerly of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will give the keynote address at the 2014 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Conference, which begins at 8:00am today. More than 300 attendees have registered for the event. Dr. Rolnick, who is Co-Director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the University of Minnesota, will make the economic development case for greater public investment in early childhood care and learning services.

“We simply can’t stress this enough: high-quality early childhood care and learning services—if they were made universally available—would significantly improve our children’s outcomes and the vitality of our state’s economy.,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of NM Voices for Children. “With New Mexico ranked 50th in the nation in child well-being, it’s past time to make large scale significant investments in our greatest natural resource—our kids. Our elected officials have been making the right investments, but they must take bolder action; the studies show these programs work. Every year that passes with children not receiving services are missed opportunities that can’t be undone. Our kids can’t wait,” she added.

Other speakers include Dennis Campa, Associate Director for Policy Reform and Advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Dolores Huerta, noted human rights leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez. She will address the winners of the 20th Annual Amy Biehl Youth Spirit Awards, who will be honored during the conference.

The conference will also feature a candidate forum. All candidates for the offices of governor, attorney general, treasurer, and auditor have been invited to answer a short series of questions. Dr. García will present an updated NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us policy agenda, which includes any actions taken on its recommendations during the 2014 legislative session. The policy agenda is available online at:

This is the second annual NM KIDS COUNT Conference. Last year’s conference was scheduled to coincide with the release of the Casey Foundation’s 2013 national KIDS COUNT Data Book, which looks at 16 indicators of child well-being and ranks the 50 states. That report had New Mexico ranked 50th in the nation in child well-being. The 2014 national KIDS COUNT Data Book is slated for release on July 22.

Thanks to our presenting sponsor CHI St. Joseph’s Children.