Good Afternoon All!!
Last week Tabatha and I spent a few days up at the capital representing the NM Coalition for MainStreet Communities as the President and the Vice President. This year we once again hosted a booth at the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce Legislative Reception. We were grateful to have Sandy, Treasurer, also join us for this busy evening of visiting and promoting the organization and legislative priorities. We handed out our new rack cards, stickers, candy and business cards. Although this was a very full house, much of efforts were directed to other NM communities and Chambers that had booths and NM businesses, as we did not see as many of our legislators as we had hoped. During this evening we had some great conversations that we would like to share and highlight just a few with you.
Many requests were made on how to start up a MainStreet program in a community, this was fantastic requests for us to hear as that is a clear indicator that word of how successful each of our programs are is getting around to all areas of the state. Specific community requests were shared with NMMS and requestors were given the proper direction to follow up in their time as well.
Additional requests were heard for starting up Frontier communities and programs for very rural county areas. As we know Harding county has been a great example of how successful the program can be in a very rural area of the state, we were encouraged to hear additional requests in this direction.
Unfortunately in the above cases we know NMMS cannot successfully bring on new communities with our current budget conditions. We encouraged all of those we met to reach out to their local legislators and support the budget and special appropriations requests for the NMMS program to help further and expand the program so in the future we can incorporate more communities large and small.
Additionally I would like to mention that we heard feedback on how successful our newest MainStreet community and Executive Director, Cam in Alamogordo, is doing! Hats off to you Cam for doing such a wonderful job and making a noticeable difference in your community in such a little amount of time.
Tabatha and I also spent time meeting with Juan Torres, Director of the Finance Department for EDD, and also briefly with Therese Varela, the EDD Director. As Rich has mentioned much of the focus this year for EDD is saving the JTIP and the LEDA program. Our time with Juan was very helpful for us to identify the focus of the LEDA and JTIP program, as we know both of these programs have a greater impact and success in the larger urban communities. Our hope was in our conversations, and future conversations, is that there is a clear need for these programs to have some flexibility to be more usable in our smaller and rural communities beyond the standard export and manufacturing based jobs. We believe that if these programs could incorporate a separate parameter for smaller rural community job creation and development projects, that it would not only benefit the community and the local business, but increase taxes and tourism as well as increase the demand and success of the program for the state.
Tuesday we spent the day visiting with numerous legislators at the round house and visited over 25 plus offices and had face to face conversations with nearly 15 legislators requesting their support for the NMMS program and telling them stories of successes all of our communities have had all over the state. We heard nothing but positive feedback of many of your efforts and how many of you have reached out to your local legislators! After our time at the capital we visited the NMMS office and also delivered additional rack cards and stickers for anyone who may need some if you will be visiting your legislators prior to the winter quarterly you are welcome to pick some up there.
We were also able to have time on two occasions to catch up with Allison, our lobbyist for the coalition, who also introduced us to some key legislators and caught us up on some bills to keep an eye on. Two bills in general we would like to request you familiarize yourselves with would be HB 39, Governmental Liquor License leasing for MRA and MainStreet districts in communities from 20-50K population. As well as HB 205 Vacant Rural Building act for building code variance for economic development in rural communities. Both of these bills as well as a few additional bills that we believe can impact our programs are listed on the attached tracker and provides links for you to read up on them as well. With state funds being so minimal this year it is important to look for and gain support for bills that could impact the future development of our districts as well and encourage private funded development.
Additionally we have recently worked with a few of our partners in efforts for supporting and education of the NMMS program and collaborated on the Op-Ed article for Local Economic Growth, Growing NM Economy Locally, written with Peyton Yates, Erick Aune, and myself, see attached. Tabatha and I also had a feature article in the NMMS newsletter this past month we hope all of you were able to read; Challenging Times are Good Times to Demonstrate Return on Investment. Our goal is to gain momentum and support for the NMMS program this year by reaching many of our new and current legislators with the message that, “MainStreet Makes Cents!”
Thank you all for all of your efforts, it was a pleasure talking with many of our state legislators on behalf of all of you and about your successes!! We look forward to seeing all of you at 9am on Wednesday morning, Feb 8th for the Coalition meeting. We will have a brief meeting and then provide you all rack cards, stickers and goodie bags for all of your state legislators and visit the capital together. The Coalition board will also be accepting nominations this week for any current member that would like to be in an officer role, President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. These four positions are voted on annually by the executive board and we are happy to present any names for those seeking an officer position to them prior to the meeting.
Additionally you can keep up with our legislative bill tracker on our new redesigned Coalition web page at http://www.nmmainstreetcoalition.com/.
We look forward to seeing you all in Santa Fe soon!!
Lisa Pellegrino-SpearCategories: News, Updates