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Serving New Mexicans

Dear Friend,

As we reach the end of a very busy and hard year, I want to pause and take stock of all we have accomplished for New Mexico and our country. While we still have plenty of work to do, I’m confident that the historic, new investments we’ve made and the transformative policies we’re advancing will help us meet the moment and find real solutions to the challenges we face.

All the potential we could ever ask for resides in the people of our great state. I am more committed than ever to creating a brighter economic future for all of our communities.

Recovering and Rebuilding

As we mourn the loss of over 800,000 Americans, including more than 5,000 New Mexicans, to COVID-19, I am thinking of all the New Mexicans we’ve lost. In the next year, I hope we can come together, listen to the science, and keep more families in our state from experiencing this tragedy. I will continue to stand up for our heroic health care workers and deliver the resources and support New Mexico needs to continue our successful vaccine campaign to keep people safe and finally return to something much more normal.

If you haven’t done so already, please get vaccinated or schedule your booster shot.


PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich meets with and thanks members of the New Mexico National Guard administering COVID-19 vaccines, April 6, 2021.

Throughout the pandemic, I have done everything in my power to steer resources and funding to our state so we can rebuild our economy and come back stronger than ever before. The American Rescue Plan that we passed in March delivered over $1 billion to help New Mexico’s schools reopen for in-person instruction. It included $1,400 in direct payments to eligible New Mexicans, millions of dollars in critical economic relief for local restaurant and small business owners all across our state, and a historic working class tax cut. An estimated 95% of children in New Mexico have benefitted from the expanded Child Tax Credit and its new monthly payments that are helping families cover the costs of raising children.

I have long said that the key to making New Mexico the best place to raise a family, to start or expand a business, to find a good-paying job, and to hire the best and brightest employees, is to invest more in our children’s education. That’s why I am so proud that the New Mexico Legislature passed a historic resolution in March to tap into our state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education and our K-12 public schools. I just introduced the New Mexico Education Enhancement Act to provide the required congressional authorization for this game changing investment in our kids.

As we move into 2022, we must chart a path in the Senate to lower costs on health care, housing, child care, and prescription drugs. President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda will cut taxes for working families, create good-paying climate careers, and make the wealthy and corporations finally pay their fair share. I am also fighting to pass my legislation to establish a College Completion Fund to make sure our colleges are helping students overcome obstacles and complete their education. In the face of Washington gridlock and intense pressure from special interests, I remain committed to finding a way to pass these critical investments through the Senate.

Serving New Mexicans

Through my new role this year as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds military construction and the VA, I am securing major investments to ensure that service members based in New Mexico and around the globe are equipped with the state-of-the-art technology, facilities, and resources they need to complete their missions.


PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich visits with staff at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque to discuss the needs of New Mexico’s military veterans and their families, February 18, 2021.

I am also committed to ensuring that all of our veterans and their families, who have sacrificed so much, receive the full education, housing, and health care benefits that they have earned through their service. I have been laser focused on delivering investments to improve assistance to veterans experiencing homelessness, to support a robust COVID-19 vaccination campaign for the whole VA system, and to ensure that all of New Mexico’s veterans – especially in rural and hard to reach communities – have access to the benefits and care that they deserve.

This year also saw the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and security forces to the Taliban. Our presence in Afghanistan represented the longest war in American history. While I welcomed the announcement of our withdrawal earlier this year, I remain deeply grateful for the contributions of all who served in Afghanistan over these past two decades. In the face of a desperate situation on the ground in Afghanistan, I worked to support the evacuation effort of American diplomats, aid workers, New Mexicans, and Afghan allies who risked their lives to support the United States.

My office also continues to help constituents on a one-on-one basis when they are having trouble with federal agencies, including keeping our promise to our veterans and service members so they can access their VA benefits, helping small business owners navigate economic relief programs, and assisting seniors with their Social Security benefits. This year, my staff processed over 3,000 individual cases that resulted in over $870,000 recovered for New Mexicans. If you or your family needs help, I encourage you to contact my office nearest to you.

Confronting the Climate Crisis

The scale of climate change can be debilitating at times. When I see cottonwoods dying from heat stress along the Rio Grande or acequias running dry, it can be overwhelming. But with President Biden in the White House and the energy from young people around the globe we have a real opportunity before us to create new jobs, grow our economy, and save the future for our children.


VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joins conservation leaders at a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol to call for the passage of the climate investments in the Build Back Better Act, September 13, 2021.

This year, I was proud to lead the effort to deliver major climate victories in Congress. That includes successfully reinstating strong national rules to curb methane pollution in the oil and gas industry. I helped to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will make substantial investments in our clean drinking water infrastructure, connect more New Mexicans to high-speed internet, help us prepare for more extreme weather events and wildfires, and build new electric vehicle charging stations.

In August, I invited U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to join me for a two-day visit to New Mexico. She saw firsthand all of the innovative work New Mexicans are doing to build a clean energy future and create new jobs. We toured the facilities of homegrown New Mexico companies, sat down with community leaders who are at forefront of planning for economic diversification, and visited the Four Corners region so she could hear more about how San Juan Basin communities will be impacted by the global energy transition.

PHOTO: From Left: U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich discuss the energy transition with New Mexico community leaders in Albuquerque, August 18, 2021.

Our state is uniquely poised to benefit from advances in technologies like clean hydrogen, the construction of new transmission and clean energy projects, and widespread electrification of our homes and businesses. We also need to be honest about the challenges this transition poses—particularly for New Mexicans who have powered this great nation for the last half century by producing fossil fuels. That's why I introduced the Schools and State Budgets Certainty Act to provide a predictable glide path for state, county, and Tribal governments to move away from their current dependence on federal fossil fuel revenues and allow a managed transition to more reliable sources of funding.

I also founded the Electrification Caucus in Congress and introduced the Electrifying America’s Future Resolution and the Zero-Emission Homes Act to lay out a clear policy roadmap for widespread electrification of the machines and appliances in our homes, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to invest in recovering wildlife and plant species to healthy levels, and the Agriculture Resilience Act to empower farmers to play a large role in the fight against climate change through regenerative agriculture and soil management.

Although we are now at an impasse in the Senate on the President’s Build Back Better bill that would be the single greatest climate investment in history, I am still determined to establish a new Civilian Climate Corps, create rebates to help families purchase and install clean and electric appliances in their homes, and pass game changing investments in clean energy and climate action. No one will stop me from taking meaningful action on the climate crisis. I am more motivated than ever to keep fighting for our children and all future generations.

Protecting New Mexico’s Land and Water

Before the onset of the pandemic, outdoor recreation activities—from hunting and fishing to wildlife photography and bird watching—were fueling some of New Mexico’s fastest economic growth. I am focused on advancing key protections, opening up more public access, and steering new investments to our public lands so we can build our outdoor recreation industry back better than ever before.

This year, I welcomed a new expanded hiking access route into Achenbach Canyon in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which was made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and a new acquisition by the U.S. Forest Service that will open up much greater public access to the Santa Fe National Forest from the Village of Jemez Springs. I also helped secure a new land donation that will unlock greater public access and nearly double the size of the Sabinoso Wilderness Area in northeastern New Mexico.


PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich tours the expanded access hiking route into Achenbach Canyon in Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, April 7, 2021.

I introduced the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to provide southwestern New Mexico’s greater Gila River watershed with our nation’s highest form of protection and stewardship. And I worked with local community leaders to introduce the Buffalo Tract Protection Act, the Pecos Watershed Protection Act, and legislation to establish Cerro de la Olla Wilderness within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico. I’m also proud that the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act, legislation that I introduced to improve the permitting process for outfitters, educational organizations, and community groups to access public lands, has built strong bipartisan momentum in the Senate.

Since I’ve been in Congress, I’ve worked with Tribal leaders and New Mexicans to secure a series of actions that have prevented new oil and gas leasing in the vicinity of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Last month, I welcomed the Biden administration’s announcement that it will begin the process to withdraw federal minerals within the Chaco Culture Heritage Withdrawal Area from new oil and gas leasing. I was the first member of the New Mexico congressional delegation to request this administrative withdrawal, and I will keep doing all I can to permanently protect the important cultural and religious sites and the sacred landscape of the greater Chaco region.

Defending Our Democracy

As this year got underway, I was right there when an angry mob of domestic terrorists assaulted and overwhelmed Capitol Police officers and stormed the U.S. Capitol. We should all be clear that this shameful moment in our history happened because our former president willfully incited the mob to riot and for weeks repeated the lies and conspiracy theories that animated their violence. President Trump's attack on our democracy and his attempt to overturn the results of our democratic election did not succeed. But our right to vote and elect our leaders remains under threat.


VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich speaks on the Senate Floor in advance of the vote on the For The People Act, June 22, 2021.

We should all be proud that New Mexico is setting a national example for what it looks like to enhance rather than attack participation in our democracy. In recent years, state and local elections officials in New Mexico have stepped up to make voting safer, more secure, and at the same time much more accessible for every New Mexican. We are seeing the polar opposite of this approach in the new voter suppression and election subversion laws signed into law in recent months in states like Georgia and Texas that are right out of the pre-Voting Rights Act playbook of the Jim Crow South.

We cannot give up on passing voting rights and election reform legislation in this congress—and we should never allow the Senate filibuster rules to stand in the way of protecting our most fundamental American right. I will keep doing everything I can to find a way forward in the Senate for legislation that makes sure that every single lawful American can access the ballot.

I’m so proud of all that we have accomplished together to steer New Mexico and America in a stronger direction. After all that we have overcome and with all the opportunities ahead of us, I could not be more excited for what the future holds. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office if we can be of any assistance to you and your family. I hope you and your loved ones are able to enjoy a peaceful and restful holiday season.

Stay healthy and be well.


United States Senator