BY REP. ROGER MONTOYA
NM House District 40
Last week we witnessed one of the worst domestic terrorist attacks as angry mobs descended upon our US Capitol Building fueled directly by President Trump. The disturbing images of men and women storming into the Speaker’s office, men holding confederate flags, beating our brave Capitol police officers which resulted in one officer’s death, and countless other inexcusable images are an affront of our democracy. All of this occurring in the shadows of a major pandemic that is raging in our communities at home and nationwide.
This dark period sobers the immense responsibility our elected officials must take to uphold our Constitution and our Republic’s democratic ideals that we swear an oath to. We didn’t see that on Wednesday. We saw elected officials encouraging these mobs and spreading dangerous mistruths about the accuracy of our elections, which included NM Republican chairman Steve Pearce, Congresswoman Herrell and Otero county commissioner Couy Griffin.
As I contemplate my oath of office as State Representative for District 40 on Jan. 19, that truth, justice and rule of law will be the foundational tenets I will uphold to rebuild our Democracy and uplift our people, especially our rural New Mexico communities which have been left behind.
All of us must meet this moment with a fierce determination to find commonality across party lines and ideologies and to inspire policies and actions to improve our great nation and the quality of life for all people.
This legislative session, I will introduce a comprehensive bi-partisan bill entitled “The Rural Opportunities Act.” This bill ensures all New Mexicans will have access to clean running water, wastewater treatment services, electricity and broadband by 2030. This act will establish a joint interim legislative committee. This act consolidates work of current and past legislators and standing and interim committees.
This joint committee is tasked to review issues affecting rural areas of the state; identify barriers to economic and educational opportunities and propose policies to reduce or eliminate those barriers; assess all potential funding sources and opportunities for investment in infrastructure, economic development, education and health care, and propose legislation to maximize public and private investments in rural communities and to foster the health and well-being of all residents of rural areas of the state.
The needs of our rural communities are vast, critical and often forgotten as urban services and funding tends to benefit urban metro centers more disproportionately. It is now our job as legislators to build thriving rural communities with access to housing security; medical/dental and behavioral health care; food security; transportation; parent supports; early childhood learning programs; fully-sourced community schools; youth mentorship and job training.
I look forward to opening a new era of leadership, responsibility, truth telling and justice as we face and solve the most pressing issues of our time.