New Mexico Rep. Jeff Steinborn
SANTA FE ― Rep. Jeff Steinborn introduced House Bill 224 Friday to expand the eligibility of volunteers wanting to participate in the New Mexico Defense Force.
The New Mexico Defense Force serves under the direction of the Department of Military Affairs and assists in civic activities and disaster preparedness and response.
The current age cutoff to serve in the force is 64 years old and Steinborn’s bill would change that to 75 years old. The Legislation was requested by the New Mexico Military Affairs Department as a way to recruit more active retirees with valuable skills in disaster and humanitarian relief to join the first responder force.
All applicants undergo a background check and are required to show medical records indicating their fitness to serve. Steinborn said the bill will enable more active retirees with practical experience to help New Mexico.
“With citizens leading productive lives well into their older years this legislation is needed to ensure we are utilizing talented capable citizens who want to serve. This will help bolster our state’s ability to effectively assist with disaster and humanitarian relief efforts.”
Brigadier General Andrew Salas, Adjutant General for the New Mexico National Guard, applauded the legislation and said it will boost the ranks of this valuable unit. “We appreciate the legislation and encourage the legislature to pass it and help us tap into our state’s vast human capital. We have exceptional citizens with and without military backgrounds who are motivated for the opportunity to serve, and this bill will allow them to do so.”
House Bill 224 is being co-sponsored by bi-partisan members of the House.