“Moving forward, we think New Mexico needs to continue investing in the programs that create opportunities for our families,” she said, adding that meeting basic needs such as food assistance, health care, child care and housing will be crucial.
“The skeptics and the challengers are loud. But we have the facts and the families on our side,” Lujan Grisham said, calling for a renewed commitment to investing in “a system that continues its focus on children and families” during the 2021 legislative session.
"That investment is the only way to begin to equalize-- making sure that every child, in every family, in every place in the state of New Mexico has an equal opportunity to succeed, and the truth is we should not stop fighting," the governor said.
"Being currently the lowest response state and a state with large numbers of undercounted population - including children, children of color, tribal communities - it's really imperative that we get that accurate count," he said. "We have enough time to do that."
“It’s a reflection of the fact that despite what people say, that kids are our most precious asset, it’s not true in the way we invest our money in state and local government,” Jimenez said.
The good news is New Mexico is starting to see improvements in a number of areas as well as “big investments in programs that matter most to kids,” such as in education, early childhood education and child care programs, said Amber Wallin, deputy director of New Mexico Voices for Children.
James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, said the last-place ranking is disappointing, but the overall improvement in 10 of the 16 indicators is encouraging. "So that's a positive thing - not as much as we'd like, and maybe some other states are improving more than we are, but at the same time, at least 10 of those indicators moved in the right direction," Jimenez said.
“There is a real inconsistency in promoting the (Council on Racial Justice) on the one hand and trying to have the lawsuit dismissed on the other,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “The lawsuit is about racial equity.”
Each year in New Mexico, oil and gas companies waste hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas through venting, flaring and leaks, all of which worsens air pollution and costs the state more than $43 million in royalty and tax revenue. That is enough revenue to increase pre-K enrollment by 80% and offer more than 7,000 additional New Mexico kids access to quality early childhood education.
Some of the money that supports New Mexico’s education system comes from royalties and rental payments paid by the oil and natural gas industries. Because we understand how fortunate we are to have those natural resources, we tend to forget our responsibility to be the very best stewards of them that we can be.