Provide budget for NM communities

Melanie Stansbury

In June of last year, as I walked into our office to be sworn in as a representative for New Mexico’s 1st congressional district, I received an urgent notice that we only had a few hours left. to request critical funding for community projects for our district. We immediately rolled up our sleeves and took action by submitting projects to ensure public safety, support the economic development and well-being of our communities and invest in our young people. We got over $10 million for seven community projects in the budget – literally on day one of our tenure.

Last month, we finally passed that budget in Congress, and we’re now working to make sure those dollars go where they’re needed most: investing in New Mexico families and communities. Overall, this budget invests in our rural communities, small businesses and local economic development, provides substantial increases to address food insecurity and housing, and protects our lands and waters. Coupled with the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill we passed in November, these vital federal funds will also invest in our vital road, broadband and water infrastructure across the state.

This budget is good for New Mexico and marks the first time in more than a decade that our communities have had a direct seat at the table requesting funds for local projects. Of the more than $10 million we secured, our goal was to make sure we could meet the needs of our communities.

• Rural New Mexico is often overlooked when it comes to funding and infrastructure. That’s why we knew it was vital to fund an urgent request for $5.5 million to upgrade and repair the nearly 60-year-old Moriarty Fire Station, which serves the entire region.

• Public safety and crime are at the heart of our communities, which is why I’m proud that we’ve been awarded over $1 million to help establish Albuquerque’s first trauma recovery center, tackle to the root causes of crime and support the recovery and prevention of violence.

• To help foster economic development, we invested over $1 million to support the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s Opportunity Center to support Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic growth.

• We also invested $1.5 million in UNM’s health research facilities to advance work at the cutting edge of health innovation and invest in our public health infrastructure.

• Finally, we have prioritized investments in our young people because our young people are our future. The New Mexico Black Leadership Council will use $125,000 in funding to take its youth development programs to the next level.

• YDI Inc. will increase family support services to support youth and their families with culturally appropriate programs with additional funding of $850,000.

• I am also very proud to have obtained $750,000 to modernize Officer Daniel Webster Park by building accessible play equipment for our children with disabilities. These projects will have a significant and lasting impact on the lives of children living in our communities.

Now that we have secured these projects, my office is looking into the budget process for the next fiscal year, alongside other funding bills, to ensure our communities are front and center. To fight for a budget that benefits all New Mexicans, we have solicited submissions from across our district and will work closely to support our tribes, cities, rural communities and local organizations in securing funding and grants for projects – because that’s how we create a budget that delivers for New Mexico.

If your organization is interested in applying for a federal grant, please contact my office at (505) 346-6781.

James C. Tibbs