Letter to the Editor: UNM-LA Has Huge Impact on Local Education

By Pete Sheehey
Los Alamos County Councilor

UNM-LA has a huge positive impact on local education, starting with many of our high school students; our 16-year-old has been learning robotics there. Local entrepreneur William Sellers has argued that Los Alamos does not need “our own little private university.”

But let’s look in detail at what UNM-LA actually does (losalamos.unm.edu, or ourcommunityourcollege.com). It doesn’t pretend to be a self-contained university. It offers classes to: young people, to help them get their education started conveniently and at low cost; people in mid-life, who want to add skills or get help starting their own business; or people of any age who just enjoy learning. Many staff members at LANL appreciate the opportunity UNM-LA offers to share their skills with the community.

Mr. Sellers has proposed that we should convert the campus into an advanced manufacturing training facility. Such a facility would be a good way to grow a more diversified, high-tech economy. I submit that we are much more likely to get things like an advanced manufacturing training facility going here, if we build upon existing programs, such as robotics, in a healthily funded UNM-LA. I will be happy to work with UNM-LA, LANL, and entrepreneurs like Mr. Sellers to get forward-thinking projects like these going in our town.

As a County Councilor, I am working to keep county spending under control, so that the county’s portion of property taxes will not need to be increased. I ask the citizens of Los Alamos to join me in voting yes on the mill levy, so that UNM-LA will be able to keep doing all the good things it does for our community.

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