Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Delivering a budget for NM’s communities

Melanie Stansbury

In June of last year, just as I was stepping into our office to take my oath as representative of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, I received an urgent notice that we had just hours left to apply for critical funding for community projects for our district. We immediately rolled up our sleeves and jumped into action, submitting projects to address public safety, support economic development and the well-being of our communities, and invest in our young people. We secured more than $10 million for seven community projects in the budget – literally on Day One in office.

Last month, we finally passed this budget in Congress and we are now working to make sure these dollars get to where they are needed most: investing in New Mexico’s families and communities. Taken as a whole, this budget invests in our rural communities, small businesses and local economic development, provides substantial increases to address food and housing insecurity, 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 roads, broadband and vital water infrastructure across the state.

This budget is delivering for New Mexico and marks the first time in over a decade that our communities have had a direct seat at the table in requesting funds for local projects. Of the more than $10 million we secured, our focus was on ensuring we could deliver for our communities’ needs.

• Rural New Mexico is often left out of the conversation 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 Moriarty’s nearly 60-year-old fire station, which serves the entire region.

• Addressing public safety and crime is front-and-center across our communities, which is why I am proud we secured over $1 million to help establish Albuquerque’s first Trauma Recovery Center, address the root causes of crime, and support recovery and violence prevention.

• 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 forefront of health innovation and invest in our public health infrastructure.

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

• YDI Inc. will increase family wraparound services to support young people and their families with culturally appropriate programs thanks to $850,000 in additional funding.

• I am also deeply proud to have secured $750,000 to upgrade the Officer Daniel Webster Park by building accessible play equipment for our kids living with disabilities. These projects will make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of kids living in our communities.

Now that we have secured these projects, my office is digging back 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 delivers for all New Mexicans, we have sought submissions from across our district and will be working closely to support our tribes, towns, rural communities and local organizations in securing funding and grants for projects – because that is how we create a budget that delivers for New Mexico.

If your organization is interested in obtaining federal grant funding, please reach out to my office at (505) 346-6781.

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