New Mexico never fully recovered from the 2008 recession and was just staggering to its feet when the pandemic hit. People across our great state, particularly in the restaurant industry, where I got my first job as a waitress, were devastated. While hardworking New Mexicans, who never dreamed they would be unemployed, struggled to make ends meet, the wealthy 1% and many large corporations continued to make astronomical profits. This vast inequality of wealth is tearing our country apart and must be reversed. I have been fighting corporations on behalf of New Mexicans my entire career. And I know how to win. My years spent protecting the little guy or gal against big business and my experience building my own small business have taught me what steps are needed to begin our recovery. We are currently in a holding pattern waiting for COVID-19 reductions and vaccines, but I’m ready to put the pieces in place to launch our recovery as soon as it is safe. These include:

  • Small Business support: Capital and customers. Our small businesses thrive when they have access to both. The pandemic ravaged our local businesses. I will work to ensure our local businesses receive federal support to reopen get back to work. Currently, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 provides $325 billion for small businesses. 
    We also need:

    • 0% interest loans with three years to begin making payments​

    • Loans allowed to stretch beyond limits to just making payroll and rent, but allow business to innovate and adapt to our new economic reality

    • Technology grants assisting digital, online, delivery or data-based innovation

  • Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour for all workers, not just federal employees: President Biden’s executive order directing the Office of Personnel Management to write recommendations on how to pay more federal employees at least $15 hour is a step in the right direction, but falls short of my goal to provide all essential workers a living wage. The minimum wage must be increased to $15 per hour for all workers, not just those holding federal government jobs.

  • Capital Investment in Affordable Broadband: Want 5G broadband internet? Want our children to have internet at home so they don’t have to sit in parking lots to access online school lessons? New Mexico currently ranks 49th in the nation for broadband access. 122,000 residents in New Mexico have no access whatsoever to wired internet providers where they live. Economic recovery without high-speed internet is not possible. I will work to increase affordable broadband access to all our communities, including those drastically underserved and marginalized. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 provides a total of $7 billion to increase and expand broadband access for students, families and unemployed workers, including $300 million for rural broadband and $250 million for telehealth. I will bring back New Mexico’s fair share of this funding.

  • Paid Leave for All by expanding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): Nothing is more important to New Mexicans than our families. Yet most New Mexicans risk losing their job should they need to leave work to care for a sick loved one. Now more than ever, paid leave is critical to public health and our economic recovery. A vital federal act protecting workers and families by providing COVID-19 related leave expired on the last day of 2020. This act, called FFCRA, supports our workers and families through tax credits to businesses with fewer than 500 employees to give employees paid leave when workers fall ill or must care for their family members.  I support ensuring permanent paid leave for all working New Mexicans. Let’s care for our families and still keep our jobs.

  • Fair and direct delivery of stimulus checks for New Mexicans: New Mexicans need a $2,000 stimulus cheek immediately. And it must be delivered in a fair and direct method to have food on the table and stay warm this winter. I applaud the $166 billion set aside for a $600 stimulus check, for most Americans with an adjusted gross income lower than $75,000. But we can do better. I will push harder for our hardworking New Mexicans who want to work and can’t right now.

  • Creating Green Energy Jobs: New Mexico is perfectly positioned to be a leading clean energy manufacturer for the entire Southwest. Our solar industry has the potential to support an annual average of over 6,800 jobs through 2030. What are we waiting for? I will work to incentivize more clean energy growth. Together, let us embrace the rare trifecta of sunshine, wind and innovation potential from our national labs, universities and hardworking New Mexicans who want to protect our great state for future generations. Let’s also congratulate limiting oil and gas extraction in and around Chaco Culture National Historical Park that was passed on Dec 27, 2020.

  • Continue increased unemployment benefits until we can get back to work: We won’t ever return to “normal” after the pandemic is gone, but “normal” didn’t support many New Mexicans anyway.  Re-entering the workforce will take time and federal support. I will vote to continue and expand the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which provides $2.3 Trillion in stimulus relief. This act extends the increased federal unemployment benefits, provides stimulus checks, funds the PPP program and increases SNAP benefits by 15% and much more.

  • Support the improved PPP rules that help those who need it most: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened on Jan 15, 2021. The new rules give a head start to the banks and lending institutions who serve low-income, minority-owned and other disadvantaged businesses. Many of our local small businesses don’t have a traditional banking relationship with a lender. So now is the moment to reach out and connect our local business owners with the much-needed support available from the PPP program.​​