On November 8, 2018, the Sandoval County Commission passed Resolution No. 11-08-18 and its associated bylaws establishing the Sandoval County Free-Roaming
Horse Advisory Council to more effectively address the management of roaming horses in the Placitas area. The council will be comprised of community
members and government officials. The council will follow the Open Meetings Act and serve as the oversight body for long-term plans for the horses. ..
Multiple legislative efforts to establish an ethics commission in New Mexico have been attempted in recent years. Until this year, these efforts have failed.
This week, an overwhelming majority of New Mexican voters (75%) decided to amend the constitution to create a state ethics commission. The commission
will have the jurisdiction to investigate, adjudicate and issue advisory opinions concerning civil violations of laws governing ethics and standards
of conduct. ..
KOB-TV and New Mexico First convened a series of nonpartisan citizen forums in Española, Roswell and Albuquerque to produce questions for the gubernatorial
debate on October 16. The candidates came together for a televised debate to answer those questions on various topics important to New Mexicans.
Candidates addressed questions about education, water, crime, behavioral health, immigration, infrastructure safety, marijuana legalization and economic
development. Click here to view all the questions developed at the town halls.
In 2014, Sandoval County commissioned a task force administered by New Mexico First to gather solutions for the humane treatment of free-roaming
horses in Placitas. The effort included sustainability of the environment as well as potential actions for residents, neighborhoods, and government
Important announcement: the draft 2018 State Water Plan has been released by the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) and the Office of the State Engineer
(OSE) for public comment. Although New Mexico First is not the author of this document, we highly encourage people who care about New Mexico’s water
future to review the plan and submit comments. The draft plan has three parts – a policy section, a technical report and a legal landmarks summary. The comment period is open until August 10. Both the
DRAFT State Water Plan
and Comment Form are available online.
In the 2014 New Mexico First Town Hall on water, participants advocated to strengthen
and continue the state water planning process. Accordingly, New Mexico First has supported these latest water planning efforts by organizing
a State Water Planning Town Hall in December 2017. This town hall provided the ISC with public input before the draft plan was developed. Given
the importance of this work to our state, we sincerely hope you will your offer comments on this new plan.
New Mexicans need accurate sources of information they can rely on to make decisions for their families and businesses, engage in work to improve their
communities, and take part in the democratic process. Read the final outcomes report to learn about the concrete ways we can advance journalism throughout the state from today’s journalists and the next generation of reporters. ..
Nearly 200 citizens from all state regions say reforms urgently needed to stem ‘brain drain,’ lift families out of poverty and improve healthcare outcome!
Albuquerque, N.M. – New Mexicans attending a statewide town hall on higher education this week delivered a dozen reform proposals for a system they
said is not adequately preparing students for careers in the state.
Public policy organization New Mexico First convened its regular town hall, the organization’s 42nd, which invites residents from all over
the state to converge on a chosen topic, discuss solutions and agree by consensus on a slate of reforms that New Mexico First then implements through
legislation and other means. Some past town halls have discussed healthcare, economic vitality and water.
This week’s town hall, entitled “Strengthening Higher Education and Tomorrow’s Workforce,” hosted nearly 200 New Mexicans on Tuesday and Wednesday
in Albuquerque to discuss the state’s higher education and workforce development systems.
“Education changes lives, it changes families and it changes our future,” Heather Balas, president and executive director of New Mexico First, said.
“New Mexicans know the impact of education and the urgency with which we need to make reforms, as evidenced by the hundreds of citizens in attendance
who came from two-thirds of the state’s counties and representing rural, tribal and urban areas.”
Balas said higher education and workforce development are “inextricably connected” to the state’s high rate of poverty, years-long high unemployment
rate and the outmigration of working-age adults, especially graduates of New Mexico colleges and universities.
“More can be done to align degrees and certificates with the abundance of job vacancies in the state,” Balas said. “A critical sector with an ongoing
shortage of workers is healthcare, which limits residents’ access to health services. We had a group of participants focus specifically on how
to fill the healthcare workforce pipeline with qualified workers.”
Bringing down barriers was a common theme that emerged from the half-dozen discussion groups, with each group focusing on a different topic. Collectively,
groups said the state’s higher education system will benefit from greater collaboration between community colleges and universities, and making
post-high school education more accessible will improve completion and career outcomes.
“Many of the state’s higher education institutions are written into our constitution, so they cannot be eliminated, and it was recently concluded by
a task force that doing so would not help much,” Del Archuleta, one of two co-chairs heading up efforts to implement the town hall’s recommendations.
“With only so much money to be shared by our universities and colleges, what we can do is find ways for them to collaborate so that New Mexico
has a more cohesive educational system.”
Each of the six discussion groups was tasked with crafting a vision statement at the beginning of the town hall. For example, the discussion group
whose topic was titled “Student Success: High school preparedness and community college” envision that “[b]y 2028 New Mexico will lead the nation
in high school and post-secondary enrollment and graduation rates. K-12 and post-secondary improvements, incorporating experiential and relevant
learning has resulted in an increase in college and career readiness and living wages.”
Groups were then directed to propose two goals, each with three to five strategies on how to attain the goal. Goals and accompanying strategies had
to receive a vote by the full town hall of 85 percent to move forward as a consensus-based recommendation.
Randy Grissom, a former Santa Fe Community College president and Archuleta’s implementation co-chair, said that detailed action plans of the recommendations
will be determined in the coming months as the implementation committee and sub-committees convene.
“Our job, after the town hall, is to work with the committee to winnow down that list to a small set for which we can advocate to the Legislature,”
Grissom said. “Implementing the full body of work created by the town hall will require even more New Mexicans’ rallying for these changes, and
we will work with community leaders, educators, the media and others to get it accomplished. New Mexico’s future depends on it.”
The complete report on the town hall will be released later this month on the nonprofit’s website, nmfirst.org. Goals outlined by the town hall fall
into three categories: student success in high school preparation, community colleges and universities; higher education institution governance
and funding; and workforce alignment and integration, particularly in the energy and healthcare industries. Specific examples are:
Don’t miss the opening segment of New Mexico First’s town hall on higher education and tomorrow’s workforce. Thanks to a partnership with KNME, New Mexico
First will live-stream the program through Tuesday morning, beginning at 9 a.m. Visit https://www.facebook.com/nmfirst.
While you’re on our Facebook page, enhance your experience by adjusting the Facebook page settings under Follow/Following to "See First" and "All On"
for notifications. Tuesday morning’s program includes the following. ..