The New Mexico legislature is meeting in a special virtual session Tuesday to plan a path toward economic recovery for the state. Second Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County Kat Sánchez says it showcases the dedication of state elected officials to step up in the absence of a federal stimulus package.
“They are looking at trying to secure an economy for New Mexico and trying to make sure that everybody has food on their table and is able to pay their rent or their mortgage,” Sánchez said. “Days before we get together around a table for Thanksgiving, our legislators are working hard to make sure that we can continue to feed, clothe and shelter our families. And I think that speaks volumes that we can come together, put things aside, and just make sure that we're doing right by our communities.”
Sánchez suggested one pathway to greater economic prosperity is for the state to consider legalizing marijuana. She says it’s a way for the state to stay competitive in the agriculture industry, especially with neighboring states like Arizona and Colorado, who have already legalized marijuana.
“I think it has no choice but to pass,” Sánchez said. “Not only is it an economic boost for our state, but let's face it, as much as we rely on oil that is a finite amount in our state. We can't rely on that for our future generations, for our kids, so we do have to diversify. So that's the first aspect, but now we are bordered by two states, Arizona and Colorado who have legalized, and that means that we have to, as an agricultural state, be ready to compete with these other states who are going to move in on that. And if agriculture is such a big part of our state, we have to stay competitive, period.”
Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales also says that legalization would greatly benefit the state.
“I think there's some benefits that even go beyond the revenue that they'll bring in. But I do think that there's other benefits that can go in place, and I think that New Mexico is at the point where we're going to make this a reality and I look forward to seeing that,” Morales said.
Chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County Mona Trempe says other top priorities of the New Mexico legislature need to include getting the virus under control and helping to provide tools to get education back on track.
“We can’t risk losing a generation of kids with interrupted education. There were enough challenges, you know, before the pandemic, so I think we all have to work very, very hard,” Trempe said.
Sánchez is hopeful the new presidential administration will help to foster greater economic recovery and unification but says unification must also come from inside the state.
“I think the best way to unite a country isn't just one answer, isn't just one way. I think that one facet of moving forward would have to be the example that a new administration would set,” Sánchez said. “But this is also something that we can't just lay at the feet of a new administration…we can't just wait for another administration to do this for us. This is work that we all have to do in our houses, among our family circle, as a community.”