Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy

President Barack Obama is seen on a monitor as he delivers remarks during a conservation conference at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

There is no doubt that our nation’s public lands – national parks, refuges, waterways and open spaces – are economic engines that produce and support jobs here in New Mexico and across the country.

On Tuesday, a report issued by the National Park Service showed that visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.

These are incredible numbers – and just a slice of the pie when it comes to the economic contributions of our public lands.  For example, recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands led to nearly $55 billion and 440,000 jobs in 2009.

That’s part of the reason that President Obama called on his administration to take actions to promote travel and tourism in the United States.  Investing in our parks and public lands and promoting them to visitors, especially internationally, is one way we can make the United States – with all its natural, historic and cultural assets – the top tourist destination in the world.  International travel to the U.S. already supports 1.2 million jobs alone, so our efforts will help bolster job creation.

This is one of the topics we’re discussing today at the White House Conference on Conservation where President Obama and senior members of his Cabinet are meeting with conservation leaders from across the country to strengthen partnerships and identify next steps in advancing community-driven conservation, preservation and outdoor recreation initiatives that are building strong local economies and healthy lands, waters and wildlife.

The White House conference – Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy – is bringing together hundreds of boaters, hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, land conservationists, historic preservationists, outdoor recreationists, small business owners, local governments, tribal leaders and other key stakeholders from around the nation.

The Obama administration has already made great strides on conservation. And, together with our local communities across the country, we can continue the march of progress in implementing President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to create a conservation and outdoor recreation agenda for the 21st century.

Andrew Moralez to run for State Representative

Andrew Moralez officially announced his candidacy for State Representative, District 52, currently held by Representative Joseph Cervantes. Cervantes, last week announced he would seek the state senate seat held by Senator Cynthia Nava.

Moralez said, “Joseph has done a good job representing the district and I look forward to the challenge. This is not a decision I take lightly, although I have wanted to hold elective office for 20 years it was never the right time. I knew I had to earn the experience and prove to myself that I have what it takes to advocate for communities sometimes forgotten by Santa Fe. I have done both and earned a reputation for “getting things done.”

Moralez stated he would work on several issues including job creation, election reform, creating open government and supporting education legislation that is in the best interest of the students. He said he will provide more information as the campaign progresses.

“I will be meeting with voters over the next several months and if elected I will continue to be accessible. This election is about the people the way all elections should be,” Moralez said.

Moralez lives in Anthony and has been actively involved with the Democratic Party for 13 years and is the former Director of Constituent Services for Governor Bill Richardson. He was also Executive Director of the New Mexico Border Authority before becoming the City Manager for Sunland Park. Currently he has co-founded a strategic consulting company.

Obama for America Opens Las Cruces Campaign Office

A large crowd of over two hundred came out to the opening of the Obama for America – Las Cruces campaign office on Sunday afternoon. Democratic National Committee Woman Mary Gail Gwaltney cuts the ribbon (above). She is joined by Doña Ana County Democratic Chair Christy French and Democratic Party of New Mexico State Chair Javier Gonzales. The office is located at 151 S. Solano Ave. in Las Cruces.