Some thoughts on the legislative session…

Our 54th Legislative Session ended on February 20, 2020. It was clear to me that Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham and our legislators continued to improve our educational system, make progress on infrastructure needs, manage the oversight of our budget, and protect our environment.

On the educational front, an area of special interest for me, educators are set to receive a 4% raise. Let’s look at this in more detail: As I understand, a teacher making $45,000 will receive a $1,800 increase next school year. Medical benefits are estimated to go up, so this teacher could see their benefits increase $50 to $60 a month. Bottom line, a teacher’s pay raise next year would be around $100 per month. However, if both household members are teachers, then one would receive $150.00 per month increase and the other, with benefits, would receive an increase of $100.00 per month. A raise, but met with other rising costs.

Nonetheless, we see an increase in teacher salaries under our current governor. Everyone would like to do more to honor the teaching profession, and my goal is to do just that. The work is far from done, and I plan to provide immense leadership and new ideas in this area when elected.

Two of the teachers in my life, my wife, Jeannette, and my daughter Gayle. Jeannette taught in New Mexico Public Schools for thirty years. Gayle has taught for APS and out-of-state. Both bring first-hand insight into the profession from different perspectives, and we talk often about the celebrations and challenges in the classroom. 

Other takeaways from the session:

Road improvements are also getting funded at larger amounts under our governor. This continual increase, stemming from a good economy, should cycle tax dollars into many communities around the state for infrastructure improvements. The power of recycling the tax dollars into our state will be a good thing for everyone, in every community.

Democrats really shined this past session on environmental issues. Below is a list of bills sent to the governor, detailing them out would make for a long newsletter:

SB 228 Wildlife Corridors Act

HB 546 Fluid Oil & Gas Waste Act

SB 234 Pollinator Protection License Plate

SB 489 Energy Transition Act

SB 5 Interstate Stream Commission

SB 462 Create Outdoor Recreation Division

SB 76 Prohibit Coyote killing Contests

HB 651 Water Data Act

A couple of bills going to the governor’s desk were bi-partisan, Gail Armstrong from Magdalena and Paul Brandy from Aztec led the charge on a couple of pieces of pertinent legislation. Hopefully, when I represent District 44 there will be a strong belief in protecting our environment and I will join my fellow Democrats in creating quality legislation for our future. I daydream about the amount of STEM careers we could capitalize on for Green Energy. We must capitalize on our solar energy! More to come on my ideas for collaboration among teachers, industry, and government to develop these visions.

Thank you,

Gary Tripp

I am called to serve, but I need your help. 
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