Our children are worth our investment

Dear Friend,

Research has shown that reading to children, especially when they are young, is incredibly important in helping their brains develop. I recently sat down to read a book with preschool children at Albuquerque's Los Griegos Public Library to celebrate El Día de los Niños. Reading The Three Little Javelinas brought me back to memories of reading with my two sons when they were younger. I want all of our children and their parents to have the same opportunity to grow and learn together.

When far too many of our children show up to their first day of kindergarten without the skills they need to succeed, we know we need to do better. I will never stop believing in the incredible potential of every single one of New Mexico's children. We can and we must invest more in their futures by finally expanding access to high-quality early childhood education. Every four-year-old in New Mexico should be able to receive a pre-K education, and all parents should have high-quality child care options.

We know that there are proven, forward-looking policies that would make substantial progress and improve outcomes for our children. Although I was disappointed that efforts came up short yet again in the most recent legislative session, I will continue to call on our state's leaders to provide more resources for early childhood education by using a sustainable portion of our Permanent School Fund, which is the third largest in the entire country.

PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich reads to preschoolers to celebrate El Día de los Niños at Los Griegos Public Library in Albuquerque, April 25, 2019.

At the federal level, I am working with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) to reintroduce our bipartisan Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act to dramatically improve the federal government's approach to ending multigenerational poverty. Addressing the needs of children and parents separately and without a comprehensive strategy often leaves children or parents behind and diminishes a whole family's chance of success. The Two-Generation approach gives states, local governments, and tribes more flexibility to create partnerships and support proven strategies that help children and parents reach success together.

I'm proud that portions of our legislation have already successfully passed. We have made great strides in bringing communities and service providers together to implement two-generation strategies. Communities around the country are attracting private investment to implement the two-generation approach across multiple systems. We have also called on the federal government to review the effectiveness of different poverty reduction strategies and programs that can be replicated in communities across the nation.

Helping our families climb out of poverty depends on us improving our economy and our workforce. I am focused on preparing New Mexico communities for new opportunities for job growth and creating new homegrown industries in fields like clean energy and outdoor recreation. We must also reinvest in our public schools, community colleges, and universities so that all of our students can learn the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century.

It's long past time for us to focus on pragmatic solutions to the unique challenges our children and families face. If we make the right decisions now, and invest in policies that work, we can start to put our kids on a more prosperous path.

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH

United States Senator