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You are here: Opinions Letters to the Editor Letter to the Editor: Failed representation with opportunity lost in the U.S. Space Command for New Mexico

Letter to the Editor: Failed representation with opportunity lost in the U.S. Space Command for New Mexico

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N.M. Tech alumna, B. S. Engineering, Former candidate for U. S.

Congress District 3

The news of New Mexico losing the race to land U.S. Space Command, Jan. 13th, 2020, was disheartening to read as someone who comes from the engineering field.  It brought flashbacks of me graduating from New Mexico Tech with an engineering degree and no job to be had in New Mexico.  Here in New Mexico, we were one of six finalists for the U.S. Space Command which would have overseen military space operations.  Recently, the U.S Air Force selected Birmingham, Ala. as the location for the Space Command.

Alabama will be in for job opportunities our leaders in New Mexico squelched.  From Mayor Keller to Sen. Heinrich, now is a time, more than ever, to work for New Mexicans instead of playing the blame game as we are tired of polarized party politics.  The average New Mexican is looking for a better New Mexico: jobs, an education for their children, and a safe environment to grow and live.

We are primed for opportunity and job growth and our governmental leaders should have represented Albuquerque & New Mexico in the best possible way.  What the current administration has failed to do is to listen to the voice of the New Mexican, i.e., trying to garner outside companies and outside employees to come to New Mexico. They need to empower New Mexico’s greatest resource, the people. Instead, they pushed taxpayer incentives for these businesses.

Why do our government leaders have to keep subsidizing all companies to come to New Mexico on our backs with nothing to show in return? Maybe the U.S. Air Force looked at our leaders handling of the Spaceport America, near Truth or Consequences, or maybe they saw Raytheon’s exit (as reported in Abq. Journal, May 19, 2020, Raytheon to close ABQ site).  When we do not get the contract, Sen. Heinrich talks about the Space Command going to Alabama due to political leanings. The fact of the matter is the Air Force was looking for a workforce to be able to do specialized labor, have great schools, supporting infrastructure, and low cost.

Low cost is not the only factor or else we would see T or C thriving and a robust Raytheon in Albuquerque. They may also have been looking for a state that works together regarding business, energy, and the environment. The environment is paramount in New Mexico, but so is making a living, and if we cannot work for the mutual benefit of the environment and business, then why would business come here?

Sen. Heinrich’s answer: the process was rushed right before a new administration took office.  It’s time to stop making excuses for not delivering for New Mexicans and continuing to play the blame game is not going to do anything for New Mexico’s future. Saying you can only accomplish goals when you have your party in office sounds like party politics cannot be separated from doing what is best for New Mexicans. Mayor Keller and Sen. Heinrich should call Raytheon and troubleshoot what can we do better, perhaps, invite your colleagues from all parties to put all hands on deck for a better New Mexico.

We need to start from the ground up and that means not relying on the government for the daily direction on how and what you will do. It is time to reaffirm, “Si, se puede.” It is time for the government to listen to the New Mexicans and say, “Juntos.”

By Alexis Martinez Johnson