Several bills were passed during the 2019 legislative session that should improve family economic security. Because these bills were targeted to help families earning low and moderate incomes – and because workers of color and women are disproportionately represented in those wage groups – the bills should also improve equity by helping to ensure that we all have access to the opportunities that help us reach our potential.
“The greatest truth must be the recognition that in every child is the potential for greatness,” said Amber Wallin, deputy [director] of NM Voices for Children. “We’re all in this together.” We heartily agree: New Mexico is a great state to live in, and it can only be better with less poverty, a better-educated populace, less hunger and less crime.
On this week's edition of Eye on New Mexico, Colton Shone posed a question – do our kids count? New Mexico, once again, has been ranked 50th for child well-being. The annual Kids Count report placed New Mexico dead last in education and in "the family and community" domain. Shone interviewed James Jimenez, the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, about the rankings.
"With that potential citizenship question in there it was pretty clear that was intended to have a dampening impact on the willingness of particularly the immigrant population, but also others, to participate in the census," said Jimenez. Jimenez said New Mexico already leads the country with the highest hard-to-count populations.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is promising to end child hunger in New Mexico within a year. “Maybe that's too high of a goal, I don't care,” Lujan Grisham said at the Kids Count Conference. “New Mexico needs to institute universal food security services and programs in this state and every single philanthropic partner has to be dedicated to making sure no child in this state will ever go hungry again ..."
“We will look poverty in the face,” Lujan Grisham said in the keynote address at the annual Kids Count Conference in Albuquerque. “… It is an evil in our state, and it must be dealt a death blow.” Lujan Grisham spoke to about 500 people gathered for the conference, organized by the nonprofit New Mexico Voices for Children.
“We all saw the report last week,” Lujan Grisham said Wednesday at a conference organized by the nonprofit advocacy group New Mexico Voices for Children. She was referring to the 2019 Kids Count Data Book, an annual report by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, which assesses how kids in each state are faring on several measures, from health care to education to poverty.
Our constituents live over this plume. They deserve a specific, detailed clean-up plan with enforceable timelines instead of a 20-year science experiment.
Noting New Mexico’s Public Education Department is under a court order to make more investments in its schools, James Jimenez, executive director of the nonprofit New Mexico Voices for Children, said in an email that increasing those rates in the future is “just plain common sense” and will help the state meet the court mandates to improve public education.
“While New Mexico is used to being at the bottom of the nation in many indicators, here’s one where we’re at the top: we’ve had the most natural gas wasted from oil and gas production on federal land. The waste of gas through venting and flaring cheats New Mexico children out of millions of dollars of lost revenue."