Updated: January 13, 2020 08:19 AM
Created: January 09, 2020 08:07 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Gov. Michelle Lujan is starting her second year in office.
She sat down with KOB 4’s Steve Soliz to talk about her first year on the job.
“It goes by incredibly fast,” the governor said. “I love this job and so when you love what you do, even with it’s challenging, it goes by fast, but yeah, it's been incredible but it's been a year already and I can think about is all the stuff I need to get done the next three years.”
Shortly after taking office, Gov. Lujan Grisham raised the state's film incentive cap from $50 million to $110 million.
Some state lawmakers and conservatives question how much that move really helps New Mexico – calling it a bloated government giveaway.
The governor disagrees.
“If you invest in a strategy, and you make that clear to Netflix and Universal and folks who can really make long-term commitments to the state, then you can count on building that effort in the economy, and it is something to that New Mexicans are really interested in doing,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
The governor also addressed Virgin Galactic's decision to finally move to Spaceport America.
“New Mexico, in fact, will be the first place on the planet to have a commercial space flight,” the governor said. “While there are lots of us, and notice I said us, that weren't sure if that very large capital investment was going to pay off and it is, in fact, paying off.”
The governor said is optimistic about the future of New Mexico.
“I think it's really bright. And I say that-- we've added more jobs in this first year, 20,000 jobs, than we have in the last 25 years,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We are diversifying the economy in ways that we should.”
On the topic of education, the governor has seen some turmoil in her first year.
She initially hired former teacher and researcher Karen Trujillo as secretary for New Mexico's Public Education Department. Trujillo was fired six months later. The governor said, at the time, Trujillo was not performing up to expectations.
Days later, the governor hired Dr. Ryan Stewart to replace Trujillo.
The governor also made state history in 2019, creating an Early Childhood Education and Care Department. She said the move was important.
“If we are going to get to universal early childhood education, it needs to be in one location,” the governor said. “It needs to be a focus. People need to know that a data system works, that it's meaningful, that it's manageable, that we are setting a curriculum, that we are training early childhood educators.”
In terms of crime, the governor knows there is more work to be done.
Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, hit a new record for homicides in 2019.
In addition, New Mexico has some of the highest property crime rates in the nation.
“Every one of us, every elected leader has an obligation to make this a priority and to embrace the fact that we have, none of us, done enough,” the governor said. “And so, we talked a little bit earlier about our surge. We put state police here in Albuquerque. We are willing to do that again.”
The governor said there are several things the state has not done well when it comes to crimes: she said law enforcement agencies do not share or manage data like they should, there is no behavioral health system and she cites the poor education system.
“It is an open season for inviting crime into your community and figuring out that, it's really hard to get ahead of it,” the governor said. “I want every law-enforcement entity working together—federal, state, local, everyone.”
The governor also said she wants more officers. She also wants to address gun violence.
“We need to focus on the kind of violent crime that is now surging in our communities, so we are going to ask for enhanced penalties for crimes involving a firearm,” she said. “You have to have a zero tolerance. Repeat habitual offenders must stay locked up. That's not happening, so we're going to do it all. New Mexicans should expect that they should be a priority of every single elected official. It's certainly a priority of mine.”
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