El Prospero: Growing region’s economy

Businesses play a role in a prosperous future

By:  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of a thriv­ing community. If we truly want to create and expand small businesses, we must invest in the next genera­tion of entrepreneurs and business leaders. One of the ways to do that is to keep our com­mitment to improving educational and work force training opportunities – especially in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

A college degree or certi­fication is quickly becoming the new high school diploma. Postsecondary education is now fundamental to being part of the middle class. Higher education is no longer a luxury. Instead, it is a prerequisite for economic success and a key step toward upward mobility.

Improving education in New Mexico is going to take a lot more than one bill or initiative, and it is not going to happen overnight. If we are going to improve education, create the work force of tomorrow and inspire tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, we need everyone to be participants. I encourage busi­ness leaders to join me in this effort to improve education and expand opportunities for our students – volunteer, form relationships with the school down the street or mentor students at your place of business. Not only will you be doing your part to help grow and foster a strong economy, but you will also help keep southern New Mexico a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

Between our universities, military installations and national labs, we have an incredible engine that can help sustain economic development and provide quality jobs. But we need to do a better job of tapping into these resources. The quality of science and technology in New Mexico is second to none, and I will continue to fight to keep these institutions strong and help foster new industry partnerships to spur innovation. Good things can happen when we bring the best scientists and engineers together with entrepreneurs. The government plays an impor­tant role in helping to make New Mexico a great place to do busi­ness – but businesses also have a responsibility to the people of our state. New Mexicans deserve to have fair wages, reasonable benefits and a discrimination-free workplace. The challenges ahead will not be easy, but southern New Mexico’s diverse community, including the innovators, scientists, small business owners, entrepreneurs and students give me much hope for the future, and I’m confident that together we will continue to grow New Mexico’s economy.

Lastly, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you. I recognize that listening to the needs and voices of all constituent groups is key to building a better New Mexico. I encourage you to share your comments, suggestions and questions. Please contact my Las Cruces office any time at (575) 523-6561 or visit my website www.heinrich.senate.gov if I can be of assistance to you and your family.

It is an honor and privilege to serve you in the U.S. Senate.