Senator Udall Introduces Legislation to Help New Mexico Small Businesses Create Jobs

U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) today introduced a bill that would help create new jobs by expanding federal contracting opportunities for small businesses trying to recover from the recent recession. Companion legislation is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL).

The Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act would raise the value of federal contracts that are set aside for small businesses to $500,000 and would increase the government-wide small business contracting goal.  The bill would also make the process more transparent by requiring that federal entities explain in writing why a small business was not awarded a contract.

In New Mexico, small businesses would benefit through additional opportunities for contracts with federal entities like Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in Carlsbad and numerous military bases across the state.

“Small businesses owners in New Mexico are often frustrated with the federal contracting process. They tell me it’s too complex, too difficult to navigate and places them at a disadvantage against larger firms,” Udall said. “This bill will help New Mexico small businesses create jobs while benefiting from federal entities in our own backyard.”

“With respect to the economy, when middle-class workers catch a cold, youth, ethnic minorities and others who struggle on the economic margins of our economy get pneumonia.  With the introduction of these two important pieces of legislation, I am signaling to my House colleagues, the Obama Administration and, indeed, to the nation that our young people and America’s innovative, small business leaders must be a top priority in all of our job creation efforts.  Their interests simply cannot wait.  The legislation I’ve introduced today, in partnership with my friend Tom Udall, in the Senate, represents a strong, comprehensive step forward at a time when our nation needs it most,” Rush said.

The legislation also provides needed assistance to minority-owned businesses, which employ nearly 5 million people and could employ even more with the proper resources by establishing a database of minority owned firms which federal contractors may use when looking at subcontractors.

The bill is supported by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Our entrepreneurs still struggle to obtain federal contracts and thus we believe that legislation such as the Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act is a critical step for addressing this challenge,” Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said in a letter supporting the legislation.

State Redistricting Committee to Meet in Las Cruces

The New Mexico State Legislature’s Redistricting Committee will conduct public hearings in Clovis, Roswell and Las Cruces on July 18, 19 and 20, respectively. The committee is charged with recommending new political districts for congressional, legislative and Public Regulation Commission districts.

The Redistricting Committee is traveling throughout the state in July and August to take testimony from interested residents and groups on issues surrounding redistricting. The committee is scheduled to meet:

  • July 18 at 10 a.m. at the Civic Center in Clovis
  • July 19 at 9 a.m. at the Daniels Leadership Center, New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell
  • July 20 at 9 a.m. in the West Ballroom at the Corbett Center at New Mexico State University

Representative Mary Helen Garcia, (D-Doña Ana County), and Senator Linda M. Lopez, (D-Bernalillo County), co-chairs of the committee, urged members of the public to attend the committee meetings and offer their opinions on redistricting possibilities for each area of the state.

“Redrawing congressional, legislative and other political districts after each census is important to ensure that every person is equally represented in Santa Fe and Washington, D.C. The public’s involvement in this process is invaluable to the committee and the legislature,” Lopez and Garcia said in a joint statement.

The committee is also scheduled to meet:

  • Aug. 3 Pueblo of Acoma
  • Aug. 4 Gallup
  • Aug. 5 Farmington
  • Aug. 15 Albuquerque
  • Aug. 16 Rio Rancho
  • Aug. 30 Las Vegas
  • Aug. 31 Santa Fe

As the committee travels, its technical consultants, Brian Sanderoff and Michael Sharp, president and vice president, respectively, of Research & Polling, Inc., will provide an overview of the redistricting process and discuss possibilities for the various districts. The public is invited to comment on all redistricting plans or other redistricting issues.

The task of redistricting is performed every 10 years following the census. It is necessary to ensure that the population of the various political districts in the state are nearly equal. The legislature is expected to meet in September in a special session to consider and approve state redistricting plans. The legislature’s redistricting web site (http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/redcensus/) contains more information on state redistricting as well as information on speaking at the meetings.

Anyone wishing to speak at any of the meetings may contact Leslie Porter at leslie.porter@nmlegis.gov or at (505) 986-4600.