Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! Today we celebrate the American worker. I hope you spend today reflecting on the country you power with your work. We do not say it enough, but THANK YOU for your contributions to our society in the many industries and roles you all may serve.

Survey Data

A few weeks ago I requested your response to a short survey form about issues important to you. I did this, and will continue to, as a way to demonstrate my commitment to listening to concerns, and also to assert my position on these issues. I want to bring action from District 44 and New Mexico in representing your voice and in my responsibility to serve.

Healthcare, Social Injustice, and Education

The top three issues on my reader’s minds are Healthcare, Social Injustice, and Education. As promised, I will share my position on each.

Regarding Healthcare, I believe the Affordable Care Act is a prime foundation for giving the most Americans access to affordable coverage. We can make improvements, but every American must have access to quality healthcare that does not in debt them for life, or require fundraising by the family. It saddens me that when a loved when falls ill, or receives a diagnosis, this may also trigger an extreme burden of medical costs that drown the family’s finances. In District 44, we must have access to doctor’s, emergency response, and services in our local community. Across New Mexico we must ensure our citizens in urban and rural areas have their healthcare needs met through the same resources without having to travel far distances for an appointment, or to retrieve prescriptions.

Social Injustice. After 243 years we are still working out justice for all, equal protection under law, and equal opportunity for all. This requirement and American philosophy is not just something we look to our law enforcement to uphold, but at all of our institutions and all people. When we serve in positions we must confront our unconscious biases, review our disproportionate resources to communities of color, promotions in jobs for people of color, and be agents who require changes where necessary. Right now we have seen apparent examples of how we, our American society, asserts an instantaneous guilty position on our black and brown brothers and sisters. I believe this serves true in our businesses, schools, and communities due to looking the other way, or having a simple-minded approach, instead of doing the work in policy, training, and procedures. We have a systemic issue, not just “a few bad apples”. We have an “ignore it until it goes away” issue. Bipartisan action committees must form to address history curriculum to become more transparent; address the unequal verdicts placed on black and brown men vs. white men; and most importantly, Diversity and Inclusion practices should be every business, school, and industry’s number one priority to ensure we are listening and making changes to how we promote the prosperity of all people.

Education. No one size or answer fits all schools. I have been asked how to improve education in New Mexico a number of times, and I am thankful each time to answer. Our schools are as unique as our communities are diverse. Principals, staff, parent and local community leaders must come together and form a community success plan for serving their students. I believe schools thrive when we invest in a wrap-around effort to see them succeed. In Moriarty and Rio Rancho Public Schools where I have served in leadership, this was evident to our success. Next, we must to attract over 1,000 highly qualified educators to come to New Mexico. The way in which we attract businesses to New Mexico with incentives and as a place to enjoy a great quality of life must be how we attract educators. I believe we can do this by positioning salaries and benefits better than our neighboring states. Additionally, our focus on improving early childhood education must stay stronger than ever. By having free early childhood education we can foster the social and emotional well-being and academic success for the communities we often overlook. This relieves parents of the hard choice to stay home rather than work because of the high cost of daycare services and low wages. Last, we cannot forget our middle and high school students who need quality opportunities available. Career-technical programs in all of our high schools, incentives for entering the field of education in New Mexico, and entrepreneurship programs fostered by local organizations or a small business collaborative can give tools to our teenagers to lay a foundation for a sound future and thriving economy. 

I think we all want a harmonious and prosperous New Mexico. Together, we can do it if we are willing to work, unify, and take action to create opportunity and remove barriers.
Absentee Ballots

The election is yet another week closer. This year is unique in that majority of votes will be cast early by absentee ballot.  As a matter of fact, the Sandoval County Clerk just released the following notice that Absentee Applications will be mailed to all registered voters by September 14, 2020. The last day to submit your Absentee Application will be October 20, 2020 @ 5:00 pm. Sandoval County will have Absentee Ballot drop boxes at each Early Voting & Election Day Sites. Absentee Ballots must be in the Bureau of Elections no later than November 3 @ 7:00 pm.

Be on the lookout at your mailbox to ensure your vote is cast. We cannot let up. Prioritize your voice this important election year. You can also vote early at one of the various locations starting October 6th. 

Click here for Early Voting Locations and Information:
I am pleased to share an endorsement from a close friend and former colleague, Tom Sullivan:

I have known Mr. Gary Tripp both personally and professionally for over 35 years.

As an educator and colleague, I have seen him seamlessly transition through a variety of roles and responsibilities over those years.

I watched him lead his Honors Civics students at Moriarty H.S. to multiple State championships and national recognition; and Gary followed that with years as the successful Principal at the largest HS in N.M.- Rio Rancho.

My respect for Gary grew further while he served as the Exec. Director of the NM Activities Association –often an even more challenging and diverse body than the legislature itself!

He consistently led that organization to consensus positions on such controversial issues as a schools’ classification and group competition assignment, or how to appropriately provide access of Charter students to join local District teams.

There is no lack of ego in rooms filled with school Superintendents and athletic directors, yet Gary led the organization through such minefields with grace and fairness.

While I do not currently reside in his legislative district, I can assure those who do that he would be an outstanding choice for that community if we were chosen to serve as their Representative.

Tom Sullivan
Retired Superintendent of Farmington Public Schools & NM Coalition of Superintendent’s Director