Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Senator looks back on a year in the service of NM. back

When I took my oath of office in January, I noticed the absence of friends and family who would have stood by any senator without the pandemic. The emptiness in the Senate Chamber brought focus to the year of challenges that lay ahead. Although I stood alone when I took my oath, I always stand by New Mexico and am proud of what we have accomplished in this difficult year.

To address the impact of the pandemic on our lives, my colleagues and I have passed landmark laws that address the unique needs of New Mexico and address the consequences of COVID both economically and publicly.

In March, Congress passed the US rescue plan that put money in their pockets, got kids back in schools and parents back to work. Following the work I did around the house, this bill provided more than $ 360 billion in emergency aid to state, local, and tribal governments to keep the frontline workers on the job.

One of my first achievements in the Senate was getting US $ 17 billion in innovation and competition law approved for our national laboratories. These investments will enable our laboratories in Sandia and Los Alamos to advance the research and development of critical projects such as semiconductors, carbon capture technologies and quantum computing. When the law is passed and signed, this funding will enable New Mexico to continue its innovation leadership.

To further boost New Mexico’s economy, my colleagues and I helped send the Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act to President Biden’s desk. That bipartisan legislation included my REGROW Act, which employs skilled energy workers to clean up tens of thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells across the country and create an estimated 13,500 high-paying jobs.

This law includes my RIDE law which makes our roads safer by helping to end drunk and impaired driving. I also fought to allocate billions to the Indian Health Service (IHS) water and wastewater infrastructure, an investment long overdue. As chair of the Communications, Media, and Broadband Subcommittee, I also campaigned for expanded access to broadband, especially in rural communities, to make internet access more affordable for nearly 800,000 New Mexicans, with an estimated $ 750 million going to our state to support broadband expansion.

Throughout the year, I have used my committee positions to advocate the welfare of all New Mexicans. I introduced the bipartisan Native American Voting Rights Act to protect sacred suffrage for tribal nations and voters who live on tribal land. In various committee hearings, I’ve challenged the power of big tech by grilling CEOs over malicious algorithms that prioritize profit margins at the expense of our health and democracy. My duties on the committee enable me to serve the working families of New Mexico.

Although I enjoy doing politics in Washington, maintaining contact with my voters remains the highlight of my work. While COVID made it difficult to visit voters in person, it is all the more gratifying to travel through 28 counties over the past year and learn firsthand the needs of families as this Democratic Congress has produced. From meeting local officials in southern New Mexico to meaningful dialogues with tribal and pueblo leaders to opening a new office of constituent ministry in Las Vegas, I love the opportunity to hear from you and emphasize how I am in Washington work to strengthen the communities of our state. Even as this year comes to an end and the pandemic rages on, I remain determined to bring New Mexican values ​​to our policies, defend our state’s priorities, and ensure economic opportunities for you and your family.

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