Farming and ranching are integral aspects of New Mexico's economy, history and culture. Although agriculture represents one of our state's largest industries, farmers and ranchers face serious challenges, such as drought, wildfires and lack of services for rural communities. I'm proud to be the first New Mexican member of Congress to serve on the House Agriculture Committee. This role allows me the opportunity to ensure New Mexico's farmers and ranchers have the tools to provide American consumers with a safe and affordable food supply, to represent consumers on food safety and nutrition issues, to advocate for small businesses and affordable housing, and to pursue investments in rural economic development and renewable energy.
The current campaign finance system in this country is broken and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has harmed the integrity of our democracy. More and more money is secret and subject to abuse by organizations, donors and the government itself. As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I’m working to overturn the Citizens United decision, help eliminate “dark money” in politics and increase transparency by ensuring that the public is aware of the source of campaign spending.
As a mother of two and a proud graduate of the University of New Mexico, I understand the vital role education plays in creating a strong economy and preparing our children to compete in a competitive global market. It is so important that we make investments in our education system—especially early childhood education, support and retain effective teachers, and give parents a greater role in their children’s education. Our state’s national laboratories and premier institutions of higher learning create many opportunities, but we need the right federal policies and investments to ensure that our schools, teachers, and children have the best opportunity to succeed.
New Mexico prides itself on its pristine land, natural beauty and world-class energy resources. As a twelfth generation New Mexican, my deep-rooted values in our state have taught me to appreciate our natural resources and protect our air, water, land, and wildlife.
As a caregiver for my mother, I know that improving long-term care is not only a health issue. It's an economic issue, it's a jobs issue, it's a dignity and quality of life issue. Solving the looming long-term care crisis is also a way to protect and strengthen the economic security of women and minorities, who often end up becoming caregivers for their families. Roughly 70 percent of Americans turning age 65 will require long term supports and services at some point in their life, and very few Americans have the financial means to cover costs associated with that care. Our country has a moral and fiscal obligation to address the challenges we face in financing care for our aging and disabled population.
Our current immigration system is broken, and we have the opportunity to implement reforms that would grow our economy and reduce our debt. Passing comprehensive immigration reform would create almost 2,000 jobs in New Mexico this year and would reduce the federal debt by nearly $850 billion over the next 20 years.
Native American culture and traditions have deep roots in New Mexico where we are fortunate to be home to 23 federally recognized tribes including 19 Pueblos, three Apache tribes, and the Navajo Nation, which have all profoundly influenced and contributed to our state’s culture, traditions, and economy. The federal government has an obligation to develop strong government-to-government relationships, uphold tribal sovereignty, and assist tribes struggling with poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and substance abuse. I am a member of the House Native American Caucus and am proud to have had the opportunity to work on many tribal issues throughout my career.
My top priority is getting our economy moving and putting New Mexicans back to work. I support small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises which are key components in our economy’s recovery. To that end, I am advocating for a viable economy with corporate citizens that provide good paying jobs and set the path for a prosperous economic future. I am also working to protect Sandia National Labs and Kirtland Air Force Base from misguided budget cuts that harm their critical missions and the local jobs they support.
As a member of the House Equality Caucus, I strongly supported the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which once and for all legalized same-sex marriage and held that the right to marry is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This was a historic moment in our nation's continued fight for equality and for the millions of Americans who have been denied the ability to recognize their love through marriage for too long. Unfortunately, we still have much more work to do. LGBT Americans continue to face discrimination in their communities and workplaces and Congress must strengthen protections for LGBT Americans.
I've spent my entire career fighting for New Mexico's seniors. As the Director of the New Mexico State Agency on Aging and then as Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Aging and Long-Term Services, I worked to protect seniors from scam artists, helped seniors remain in their homes, and addressed poor quality care in nursing homes, even going undercover to investigate reports of patient abuse and neglect. I also expanded critical services for seniors and fought for new programs to address end-of-life care issues and provide legal services to seniors throughout New Mexico. As a member of Congress, I’ve worked to preserve and strengthen federal programs that support seniors’ health and financial well-being and to provide additional support for seniors who need long-term supports and services and their caregivers.
When our nation’s service members take the oath to protect and defend the United States, they were not the only ones making a promise. We as Americans also take an oath to ensure that when they return home we provide them the support and resources they and their families need. New Mexico is home to a large number of veterans, and we have a solemn responsibility make sure that we're standing up for those who took a stand for us. As a nation, we should have the highest standards for the care and assistance of veterans and their families whether it is through medical care, housing, employment and education assistance, or disability compensation.
As a mother of two women and the grandmother of a little girl, I recognize the importance of girl’s and women’s safety, health, and economic security in creating strong, vibrant communities. I am a proud member of the bipartisan Women’s Caucus, where I work with other members of the House to improve the lives of women and families.