NEW MEXICO NEWS CONNECTION - A statewide news service for New Mexico
Hatch, NM - June 29, 2007 - A series of new reports out this week from New Mexico Voices for Children shines a light on the dire state of families along New Mexico's border region. The report finds thousands of families living in overwhelming poverty. Report author Lisa Adams-Shafer and State Representative Andy Nunez, (D, Hatch), say the region needs more long-term economic development and better public education.
We always hear that New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the nation, but along the state's southern border with Mexico, times are especially tough. That's according to a series of reports out this week from New Mexico Voices for Children that look at the well-being of children in the area. They find thousands of kids living at 50 percent of the federal poverty level. When asked what is needed to correct the situation, report author Lisa Adams-Shafer says Click to Hear adams-schafer062907.mp3 ("I think sustainable long-term economic development that will keep companies invested in their communities and pay decent wages for these families.") She says the new state earned income tax credit and higher minimum wage are steps in the right direction, but she'd like to see more job training, childcare assistance and stronger public schools.
State Representative Andy Nunez from Hatch says there should be more focus on education and training in that area. He says kids in the area need more and better education and training to compete Click to Hear nunez062907.mp3 ("So that more of these kids can go out and get a better job; because now with the Spaceport comin' in, we need to start training some kids for some little higher-tech jobs.") Nunez says the camp program at New Mexico State University is one example of a good training program that could be strengthened to provide more opportunities for the next generation.
See the report snapshots at http://www.nmvoices.org/kidscount.htm .