Apodaca: Candidate for Governor

By: Bill Whaley
4 February, 2018

(Taos United presents a forum for Town of Taos Municipal candidates on February 6, 2018  Tuesday from 6:00-8:30. Doors open at 5:30 at Bataan Hall  Civic Center Plaza. The event is free and promises to be “free-wheeling” as audience members will be encouraged to engage with candidates, contrary to the previous “schoolmarm” event.)

Last night (Sat. Feb. 3) New Mexico candidate for governor, Jeff Apodaca met with about twenty interested citizens at the El Monte Sagrado boardroom in a whistle stop non-stop tour of the state to “Turn New Mexico Around: a Plan to Create New Jobs & Grow New Mexico’s Economy”

Not only does Apodaca know the state intimately, he’s passionately interested in changing the culture and turning the New Mexico around, based on internal investment. His presentation involved an impressive and detailed analysis of the entire state and potential opportunities due to re-investing 5% of the state’s 23 Billion dollar investment fund. He brings nationwide experience back to his home state.

The campaign and the potential for realizing Apodaca’s goals directly considers  the facts and resources. During the Q and A he demonstrated by specific examples the grounds for his assertions. The high points listed below, roughly divided into “investment,”  “wages” and “education,” involve all sectors in the state: Tourism, Tech, Ag, Film, and Medical.

Rarely does one encounter a politician with a grasp of the whole: a vision, the means of implementation, and political experience. While the status quo supports the past or traditional pols like Michelle Lujan Grisham, Apodaca represents a breath of fresh air, reminiscent of “Lonesome Dave” Cargo who upset the establishment with a grass roots campaign back in the sixties.

One can only imagine how Apodaca, a democrat, could work with a democratic legislature to fulfill the pent-up energy blocked by obstructionism from the fourth floor in the Roundhouse, where Gov. Martinez has walked in circles for 8 years.  Unlike Bill Richardson, who saw New Mexico as a stepping stone to national office, Apodaca presents himself as an agent of change, who sees the state’s people and resources as not only an an end in itself but also as a means to a better quality of life for all New Mexicans.

(The following information comes from Apodaca’s web site and press, which is remarkable for its broad view and in-depth detail. In person he walks the talk and succinctly answers questions.) 

Background

Jeff grew up in Santa Fe and Las Cruces and is the son of former New Mexico Governor Jerry Apodaca and former First Lady Clara Apodaca. A cancer survivor, Jeff founded the Jeff Apodaca Celebration of Life Fund, benefiting cancer survivors and opening the Jeff Apodaca Multi-Media Center at UNM Children’s Hospital to ensure that child patients have access to important technology for learning and entertainment while receiving treatment.

A former media executive and current entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience innovating, expanding, and creating businesses, Jeff began his career in Albuquerque at KOB-TV. Jeff has held senior positions at Univision Corp, Tribune Broadcasting, AOL and the CBS Television Network in New York and Los Angeles before returning to New Mexico with his family to run Univision stations and digital property in the mountain states.

An active member of our community, Apodaca sits on the board of Innovate ABQ, Albuquerque Economic Forum, and formerly served on the Albuquerque Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society & United Way Projects.

Jeff married the love of his life, Jackie Moss Apodaca, in 2002. A native New Mexican from Albuquerque, Jackie earned her MBA from New Mexico State University and worked for the Learning Company and Disney Corporation before returning to New Mexico as a community leader and full time mother.

Today, Apodaca makes his home in Albuquerque with his wife Jackie Moss Apodaca and their twin boys Asher & Gage.

Mismanagement

After years of mismanagement, Apodaca says that our state has been driven to the highest unemployment in the country. We have been driven to 50th in the nation for both job creation and education. 25% of New Mexicans live below the poverty line, and we continue to cut job and educational programs while sitting on $23 billion dollars of investment funds, the third largest in the nation. Together, we can create 225,000 new jobs for New Mexico and New Mexico’s families.

Investment

It is time we invest 5% of our $23 billion dollars back into our state by creating opportunities and raising wages for all New Mexicans. Our administration will create new jobs by helping small businesses, fix our schools, invest in our infrastructure, expand worker training, create educational programs, and keep businesses here by offering investment.

Plan to Create New Jobs & Grow New Mexico’s Economy: launch a $1.2 billion dollar investment plan which will create jobs and help grow small businesses, which is 95% of New Mexico’s economy.

· Provide low debt, low interest loans for local small businesses.

· Revamp and update the state’s aging tax system.

· Create small business loans specifically for military veterans.

· Honor and expand the law that requires the state of New Mexico to award government contracts to veterans which could create $16 million dollars of growth to our economy.

· Offer a robust local preference program for New Mexico small businesses with state procurement purchasing.

· Incorporate the Small Business Administration’s Veteran Owned Small Business Program, which guarantees up to 90% of loans.

Invest $400 million dollars of our money and $1 billion in federal grants to repair our failing infrastructure.

· Put New Mexicans to work repairing our crumbling roads, bridges, acequias, and arroyos.

· Invest in broadband across the state, specifically in rural areas, to make New Mexicans competitive for the telecommuting jobs of today. We need 100% broadband coverage and higher speeds.

· Expand and invest in healthcare and hospital facilities in rural communities.

· Expand private equity investment firms to direct investment funds through venture capital, mezzanine debt, and growth equity firms throughout New Mexico.

· Create vertical investment funds for New Mexico’s full spectrum of strengths within thefollowing: agriculture, biotechnology, biopharma, nanotechnology, cyber security, artificial intelligence, aerospace, nuclear, renewable energies, 3D imaging, and medical tourism.

· Allow first, second, and third stage funding for New Mexico innovation startups.

Improve our rural economy and help farming and ranching families by tapping into New Mexico’s natural agricultural assets.

· Create low debt finance programs to expand farming capabilities and water conservation opportunities.

· Support and enhance current agricultural production and jobs for rural families to include:

– Pecan production
– Alfalfa production
– Chile production

· Expand New Mexico State University’s agriculture research programs to enhance agricultural production.

· Invest in veteran agricultural and farming programs such as the Desert Forge Foundation and Not Forgotten Outreach.

Create high-tech jobs by investing in New Mexico based technologies,
startups and small technology expansions.

· New Mexico has become the nation’s greatest incubator of technology but, many of those businesses then leave our great state. We need to do better. We will invest in and alongside emerging technologies, and we will provide the infrastructure needed to keep those technologies in New Mexico.

· Invest up to 9% of our Severance Fund totaling $420 million dollars.

· Create joint public and private investment funds to provide capital for technologies created and developed in New Mexico through vertical investment funds totaling $840 million dollars.

· Invest into New Mexico’s strengths: biotechnology, biopharma, nanotechnology, cyber security, artificial intelligence, aerospace, nuclear, renewable energies, 3D imaging, and medical tourism.

– Apple production
– Cannabis and hemp production
– Hops production

· We are ranked 2nd in the country for renewable energy capabilities, yet nationally we are 48th in production. We can create jobs and grow our economy by investing in the clean energy economy.

· Invest at least $1 billion dollars of private and public funds into solar and wind cluster fields to power not only New Mexico but to generate revenue by powering other surrounding states.

· Help our oil and gas industry be cleaner and stronger by investing with oil and gas companies to capture methane leaks and monitor the wells so that New Mexico can benefit from the sale of the captured methane, while working to make the acquisition have less of a negative environmental impact.

· Develop and expand electric car infrastructure throughout the state.

· Establish and put programs back into the classroom that help train New Mexicans for green and clean energy jobs as well as offer the programs to those who have graduated high school but need a new skill set. We need to capitalize on this growing sector with a skilled clean energy workforce.

Help New Mexican workers receive training in trade skills and telecommuting jobs within high schools and community colleges in New Mexico.

· Partner trade union apprentice programs with our education systems to create better pathways for high schools students in the trade skills.

· Build telecommuting job skills into the public education system and expand infrastructure to ensure New Mexicans can fill those jobs.

Expand New Mexico’s partnership with the film industry. Work to expand opportunities so that New Mexicans are qualified for and employed at every level in film, television, and digital media pipeline.

· Eliminate the state television and film cap allowing film production to grow to 3x the current volume.

· Create state low debt finance loan programs allowing financing to expand studio and sound stage production.

· Develop post and ancillary production in New Mexico to capitalize on the demand in the U.S.

· Create an International Film School to target diverse students and talent from around the state and the world.

· Provide the film industry with a trained and qualified, below the line, workforce from New Mexico and diverse cultures around the world.

· Provide financing programs for New Mexico film and TV productions and create robust digital media and video game development programs.

Create economic growth and improve patient safety by investing in healthcare.
·
Utilize private and public partnerships to expand hospitals and urgent care needs around New Mexico.

· Expand the size of the University of New Mexico Medical School’s nursing and physician assistant programs.

· Foster $600 million dollars of economic growth by generating the presence of 300 more doctors, 3,200 more nurse and 1,600 more physicians assistants in the state of NM.

Beyond the economic benefits, more nurses and PA’s means better patient safety and higher quality services training.

· Enact a 7 year pay-back-school loan program for doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and teachers. Student loan pay back program for students committed to staying in New Mexico to train to become health care professionals in fields that are critically needed across the state.

· Invest with private capital and public partnerships to expand Veterans Administration

Hospital healthcare and behavioral health programs with full services available to all veterans.

· Attract medical tourism partnership alliances.
· Expand New Mexico’s medical cannabis program.
· Fully fund the deployment of Telehealth in New Mexico to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and provide better patient experiences.

Generate revenue for rural families and small businesses by highlighting New Mexico’s Tourism commodities.

· Encourage New Mexican families to vacation in New Mexico.
· Expand tourism opportunities for outdoor activities.
· Target and market historical monuments and landmarks for archaeological tourism.

· Highlight and expand local New Mexico artists around the state.

· Move tourist marketing and production dollars back into the state.

Lift wages for all New Mexican workers.

· Create a living wage of $15 an hour phased in over the next 5 years.

· Invest in technical and career training available for high school students and advanced training to those who have graduated high school.

· Ensure 100% pay equity for women. Women must earn the same wages for the same work as men.

· Support labor rights and strengthen our workers’ rights to collectively bargain. Pathways to well-paying jobs.

Education

Implement educational paths for New Mexicans from 0-20 years of age to provide more access to higher-wage jobs for workers and foster a better trained workforce to attract and keep businesses in New Mexico.
·
Invest in qualitative education programs.

· Reallocate 8% of PED and State administration funding back into the classroom from the community up, not from the top down.

· Invest additional funding from the State Permanent Land Grant fund into early childhood programs from 0-4 years of age through CYFD and PED collaboration.

· Provide early family intervention through community programs to support and empower our young families to provide them with the tools for early child development.

· Provide families a hand up with in-home educational reading and math programs for 0-4 years of age with existing models that have proven outcomes.

· Make year-round preschool the standard expectation for all NM kids from 3-4 years of age.

· Fully fund K-3 plus programs as well as dual language programs across New Mexico.

Compensate educators for professional training, customized qualitative classroom development, community schooling implementation and additional educator provided services that benefit New Mexico students through an increase starting pay scales to $43,000, $47,000, and $55,000 a year. Implement an annual 3% cost of living pay increase for educators and all education support staff.

· Create pathways from our schools to profession pipeline.

· Equip educators with ongoing professional development training on the challenges of teaching students from impoverished communities and the cycle of poverty.

· Fund after school programs and job training opportunities for all New Mexico middle and high school students to engage our youth in their future opportunities.

· Preserve and expand the lottery scholarship to serve the diverse pathways of New Mexico students to include trade schools.

· Implement apprentice pathway programs within high schools and community colleges for trade skills, telecommuting, internships, online learning job opportunities, and other growing industries so that our students can compete in a global economy.

· Implement creativity and entrepreneurship mentoring programs to allowing high school, community college and university students the skills and competencies to be the next generation of innovators.

· $1.8 billion in new tax revenue annually

· Equal pay for women

· Reinstate the Commission on the Status of Women

· Higher wages for all New Mexicans

· 3% annual raise for state employees

· Medicare for All New Mexicans

· Pay increase for teachers and education support staff

· 41,000 new trade skill jobs

· Year-round preschool

· Early family intervention

· Job training for telecommuting jobs

· 300 new doctors

· 3,200 new nurses

· 1,600 new physician’s assistants

· Earned family and medical leave

· Grown and expand our middle-class

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