Think New Mexico at 505 Don Gaspar Ave. in Santa Fe is a results-oriented think tank whose mission is to improve the lives of all New Mexicans, especially those who lack a strong voice in the political process. Courtesy/Think New Mexico
By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
Think New Mexico is a results-oriented think tank, which strives to improve the lives of all New Mexicans, especially those who lack a strong voice in the political process.
Think New Mexico Founder and Executive Director Fred Nathan explained that the non-profit organization fulfills its mission by educating the public, the media, and policymakers about some of the most serious challenges facing New Mexico and by developing and advocating for enduring, effective, evidence-based solutions.
Think New Mexico’s approach is to perform and publish sound, nonpartisan, independent research, he said. Unlike many think tanks, Think New Mexico does not subscribe to any particular ideology. Instead, because New Mexico is at or near the bottom of so many national rankings, its focus is on promoting workable solutions that will lift all New Mexicans up.
Consistent with its nonpartisan approach, Think New Mexico’s board is composed of Democrats, Independents and Republicans. They are statesmen and stateswomen, Nathan said, who have no agenda other than to see New Mexico succeed. They are also the brain trust of this think tank.
Nathan spoke about the important support received from Enterprise Bank & Trust in Los Alamos.
“Enterprise Bank & Trust (and its predecessor LANB) has been Think New Mexico’s banker for more than two decades,” Nathan said. “We have always appreciated their personalized service as well as their generosity in supporting Think New Mexico along with many other nonprofits in the community. We are especially grateful that their Los Alamos market president, Liddie Martinez, serves on our board. Liddie lends her wisdom and good judgment to shaping both our policy agenda and our financial management.”
Martinez has served on the Think New Mexico Board for at least a decade and spoke about her experience with the organization.
“It is an honor to serve on the Think New Mexico Board and work with some of the most celebrated and respected leaders in our state,” Martinez said. “Together we have advocated for policy change that incorporates national best practices and positively impacts the lives of New Mexicans.”
Think New Mexico began its operations Jan. 1, 1999. It is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In order to maintain its independence, Think New Mexico does not accept state government funding. However, contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations are welcomed, encouraged and tax-deductible.
Nathan said that as an independent, statewide, results-oriented think tank, Think New Mexico measures its success based on changes in law or policy it has helped to achieve.
- making full-day kindergarten accessible to every child in New Mexico
- repealing the state’s regressive tax on food and successfully defeating efforts to reimpose it
- creating a Strategic Water Reserve to protect and restore New Mexico’s rivers
- establishing New Mexico’s first state-supported Individual Development Accounts to alleviate the state’s persistent poverty
- redirecting millions of dollars a year out of the state lottery’s excessive operating costs and into college scholarships
- reforming title insurance to lower closing costs for homebuyers and homeowners who refinance their mortgages
- winning passage of three constitutional amendments to professionalize and streamline New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission, one of which received more votes in favor than any constitutional amendment has ever received in the history of the state
- modernizing the state’s regulation of taxis, limos, shuttles, and moving companies
- creating a one-stop online portal to facilitate business fees and filings
- establishing a user-friendly health care transparency website where New Mexicans will be able to find the cost and quality of common medical procedures at any of the state’s hospitals
- enacting the New Mexico Work and Save Act to make voluntary state-sponsored Individual Retirement Accounts accessible to New Mexicans who lack access to retirement savings through their jobs
- Making the state’s infrastructure spending transparent by revealing the legislative sponsors of every capital project
- Ending predatory lending by reducing the maximum annual interest rate on small loans from 175% to 36%
- Repealing the tax on Social Security for middle and lower income New Mexicans with incomes under $100,000 as individuals or $150,000 as married couples
In 2022, Think New Mexico released a new policy report laying out a sweeping ten point plan with 30 separate legislative recommendations to improve the performance of New Mexico’s public schools. Think New Mexico’s education policy work is led by its Education Reform Director, Mandi Torrez, the 2020 New Mexico Teacher of the Year. Torrez focuses full-time on developing and advocating for data-driven state and local education policies that are in the best interests of New Mexico’s public school students. She also works to ensure that the voices of New Mexico students and their families are heard in the policymaking process.
- End Predatory Lending
- Repeal tax on Social Security
- Work & Save Act
- Health Care Transparency
- Food Tax Repeal
- Lottery Reform
- Full-Day Kindergarten
- Strategic Water Reserve
- Rethink the PRC
- Title Insurance Reform
- Individual Development Accounts
- Address the Jobs Crisis
- End Pay to Play Corruption
Think New Mexico is more than just a think tank, it also is a leadership development organization that works to train students in how to develop and enact sound public policy. Its goal is to retain a new generation of potential leaders in New Mexico by showing them how they can make a difference here in their home state.
To that end, Think New Mexico offers four paid Leadership Internship positions each summer to college or graduate students. Interns have the opportunity to meet with Think New Mexico board members and leaders in state government, as well as to assist Think New Mexico’s staff in researching and developing policy proposals. In order to ensure that the internship is accessible to students regardless of their financial situation, interns receive the City of Santa Fe’s Living Wage, currently $14.03 per hour.