When I was sworn in in January, I was struck by the absence of friends and families who, but for the pandemic, would have stood by every senator. The emptiness of the Senate Chamber highlighted the challenges of the year ahead. Although I was left on my own as I took the oath, I am still by New Mexico’s side and proud of what we have accomplished during this difficult year.
To deal with the effects of the pandemic on our lives, my colleagues and I have passed landmark legislation that addresses New Mexico’s specific needs and combats the consequences of COVID, both economically and in terms of public health.
In March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, which puts money in their pockets, kids go back to school, and parents go back to work. Building on my work in the House, this law provided over $ 360 billion in emergency funding to state, local and tribal governments to keep frontline workers at work.
One of my first accomplishments in the Senate was to authorize $ 17 billion in the United States Innovation and Competition Act for our national laboratories. These investments will allow our laboratories in Sandia and Los Alamos to continue their research and develop critical projects such as semiconductors, carbon capture technologies and quantum computing. Once adopted and enacted, this funding will allow New Mexico to continue its innovative leadership.
To further strengthen New Mexico’s economy, my colleagues and I helped send the infrastructure investment and jobs law to President Biden’s office. This bipartisan legislation included my REGROW Act, which employs skilled energy workers to clean up tens of thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells across the country, creating around 13,500 well-paying jobs.
This law contains my RIDE Act, which will make our roads safer by helping to end drunk and impaired driving. In addition, I fought to provide billions for the Indian Health Service (IHS) water and wastewater infrastructure, a long overdue investment. As chair of the Communications, Media and Broadband Subcommittee, I have also advocated for expanded broadband access, especially in rural communities, by making internet access more accessible. affordable for nearly 800,000 New Mexicans, with about $ 750 million earmarked for our state to support broadband development.
Throughout the year, I have used my positions on the committee to advocate for the welfare of all New Mexicans. I introduced the bipartisan Native American Voting Rights Act to protect the sacred right to vote of tribal nations and voters living on tribal lands. In various committee hearings, I have challenged the power of Big Tech by toasting CEOs with harmful algorithms that prioritize profit margins at the expense of our health and democracy. My Committee assignments allow me to serve the hardworking families of New Mexico.
While I enjoy making policy in Washington, connecting with my constituents remains the culmination of my work. While COVID has made it difficult for voters to visit in person, traveling to 28 counties over the past year and hearing the needs of families firsthand makes it all the more rewarding to share the results of this Democratic Congress. From meeting with local officials in southern New Mexico to constructive dialogues with tribal and pueblo leaders to the opening of a new Voter Services office in Las Vegas, I cherish the opportunities to hear from you. and highlight how I work in Washington to uplift the communities of our state. . As this year draws to a close and the pandemic rages on, I remain committed to bringing New Mexico values to the policies we make, to championing our state’s priorities, and to securing economic opportunity for you and your family.