Commentary: “Bipartisanship isn’t an option anymore; it’s a requirement,” said former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle, who will be a keynote speaker alongside U.S. Senator Trent Lott at a New Mexico First event next month. Each day we read and hear that our country is deeply divided by economics, race, gender and politics. We are told that the chasm of partisanship has never been so wide. Many people have politics fatigue and retreat to their corners where discourse seems safe.
However, here in New Mexico, retreat is not an option. Our problems are too complex – and our needs too great – to solve without everyone at the table. Perhaps we have forgotten what bipartisanship looks like or worry that it implies turning our back on own team. That is not what effective collaboration means.
Through New Mexico First’s over 30 years of deliberations, we have seen effective bipartisanship. It is in the faces of ranchers and environmentalists grappling over water rights and reaching agreement, nonprofit and business leaders coming together to call for both statewide tax reform and resolving gaps in social services, and in the faces and teachers, parents and administrators together to advance the best ways to ensure student success.
Bipartisanship is a common-sense approach. Bringing all views into consideration offers so much more than binary in-fighting. We get more ideas and more solutions when we work together.
New Mexico First is a nonpartisan organization that engages people in policy and enables action. It conducts independent research and deliberations on education, healthcare, the economy, natural resources and good government. The upcoming First Forum, titled Crisis Point: Advancing Healthy Politics in New Mexico, is set for June 7. In addition to keynoters Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, the award ceremony will honor state leaders who work across party lines. More information at www.nmfirst.org.