New Mexico governor promises to crack down on crime and invest in education in State of the State address
SANTA FE, New Mexico - In her State of the State address, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham promised to grow the economy, invest in the future of education and crack down on crime throughout the state.
"The sun is rising on a pivotal day," she said, adding "big and meaningful changes are possible."
She acknowledged the pandemic continues to "wreak havoc" on the lives of everyday New Mexicans, but said the state will not let Covid-19 "take away years of growth."
Gov. Lujan Grisham renewed her push for a seven percent raise for educators across the state.
"They deserve it," she said. "We can afford it."
According to a news release from last month, the pay increase would be accompanied by other increases to base educator salary levels in the state's three-tier licensure system. It would raise minimum salary levels for educators to $50,000, $60,000, and $70,000.
She promised that retention of educators would increase graduation rates and literacy levels across the state.
"At a moment in time where we have the money to do it all, let's not limit it all," she said.
The governor promised to ask lawmakers for a 19% increase in the budget for the Department of Public Safety.
She promised to create tougher penalties for "the worst of the worst" and "put a wedge in the revolving door of violent crime."
She said the state needs $100 million to hire 1,000 more officers across the state "as quickly as we can."
"I'm asking for those things because New Mexicans are asking for them," she said. "If we want to keep up our economic momentum, we've got to keep crime under the control."
Repeatedly throughout her State of the State address, the governor claimed that the state had more than enough resources to elevate the quality of life in New Mexico.
"Money doesn't belong in government accounts," Lujan Grisham said. "It belongs in the pockets of hardworking New Mexicans."
She praised her administration's increase of the minimum wage and said she now wants to cut taxes "for every single New Mexican."
When commercial sales of cannabis begin, no later than April 1st, she predicts the industry will create thousands of jobs.
"I said we were going to make this economy work for the every day New Mexican," Lujan Grisham said.
The governor also announced her intention to ask for $60 million to build a new home for veterans. The current home in Truth or Consequences was built in 1936.
She also said she wants to protect voting rights throughout the state.
"Big things are within our reach," she said. "Blue skies are ahead."