A Big Win
New Mexico makes enormous contributions to our nation as the only state that hosts two national security laboratories. The value of the contributions that Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories make to science, national security, and our state's economy cannot be understated. The labs' achievements and success depend on building trusting relationships with the local community and companies, who in turn provide invaluable, site-tailored goods and services.
I have worked for years to help New Mexico's small businesses compete in a transparent and fair process for contracts with our national labs and military installations. Given our state's decades-long commitment to service at Sandia and Los Alamos, I think it is only right that our communities and local businesses get a fair shake when competing for contracts with our labs. That's why I was so pleased to welcome yesterday's announcementthat Sandia will prioritize buying from qualified New Mexico small businesses by giving them a 5 percent pricing preference. This a big win for small businesses in New Mexico and for our local economy.
In recent years, I've hosted events in Albuquerque and Carlsbad that brought together small business owners from around the state and top leadership from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Supply Chain Management Center, which manages the procurement process at Sandia, Los Alamos, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Additionally, Sandia and Los Alamos estimate they will need to fill over 5,000 job vacancies in the next five years. I am working to make sure our community colleges and universities strategically align with our national labs to provide New Mexicans with the education and skills needed to compete for those jobs.
Small businesses are at the heart of our state's economy and are engines of job creation. By sourcing locally, our national labs benefit from New Mexico workers' strong track record of providing quality services. Closer collaboration between our labs, universities, and private businesses will also lead to a stronger local business ecosystem that can become a national leader in emerging high-tech fields that our labs specialize in like clean energy and cybersecurity. I will continue doing everything I can to help both our national labs and local businesses thrive together.
United States Senator