I would like to start my endorsement by stating that I am not a member of any political party, I am not even Independent, I am no party. Second, I want to be clear that my statements in no way represent any endorsement by the School Board or Los Alamos Public Schools.
Over the last three and a half years as a School Board member I have had a considerable amount of interaction with our State Representative, Stephanie Garcia Richard. I have always found her to be very attentive and responsive to the needs of our School District. I have had many interactions with Stephanie, ranging from difficult conversations about the legal rights of registered sex offenders on campus to productive conversations to expand a School Boards ability to offer rewards when our students, staff or facilities are threatened. The one thing that I honestly appreciate with Stephanie is that she is always upfront, honest and transparent. She has not always been able to do what I have asked of her, but if she can’t, she is very clear about that. Our conversations usually take the tone of how we can work together, or what considerations need to be made in the short and long term to accomplish our goals together.
As for school budgets, the State of New Mexico told us over a month ago to brace for a minimum of 5 percent budget reduction. That would equate to over $1.3 million in cuts for Los Alamos Public Schools – and the economy of the State has declined since then. Our School District is already preparing for the bad news to come after the elections, but if someone is complaining about $400,000 as an assault on schools, I personally would be very happy if that was the only cut that we saw. The truth is the School Districts of New Mexico are going to struggle this year, regardless of who are Representatives are.
There is another very important consideration when casting our vote for State Representative. Stephanie became a nonvoting member of the Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) shortly after being elected six years ago. For the last several years she has also been a nonvoting member of the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC). These two committees are the most powerful committees that a Representative can belong to.
Rep. Garcia Richard has positioned herself to become a voting member on these important committees. These positions don’t change often, but it looks like there may be some positions opening soon and we certainly don’t want to negate six years of hard work by Stephanie to get a Los Alamos Representative onto these committees.
Let’s just make sure we put the best person possible to represent our community into the Roundhouse. That person is Stephanie Garcia Richard.