NM Speaker testifies on early childcare before a joint congressional committee

The Speaker of the State House of Representatives testified to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee in Washington D.C., on Wednesday about early childhood education in New Mexico. Speaker Javier Martinez, of Albuquerque, spoke to the committee, which is chaired by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, also a Democrat, about the efforts in New Mexico on […]

NM Speaker testifies on early childcare before a joint congressional committee

The Speaker of the State House of Representatives testified to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee in Washington D.C., on Wednesday about early childhood education in New Mexico.

Speaker Javier Martinez, of Albuquerque, spoke to the committee, which is chaired by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, also a Democrat, about the efforts in New Mexico on the topic. The committee heard expert testimony about the importance of early childhood education. 

Martinez spoke about the state’s leadership in early childhood education due to the investments the state has made. In 2019, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham created the Early Childhood Education and Care Department to oversee early childhood and pre-K education. 

Martinez was involved in the 10-year push to pass the legislation in 2022 that allowed for a constitutional amendment to go to the voters to increase the distribution from the Permanent Land Grant fund to increase funding to the ECECD for early childhood education. Voters overwhelmingly passed the initiative.

Related: Land Grant Permanent Fund constitutional amendment is years in the making

The state has also increased early childhood education assistance so that most middle-income families can receive free early childcare. The state has also reduced the gross receipts taxes for early childcare providers and provided other incentives to encourage quality care and improved wages for early childcare educators.

“For over a decade, a diverse coalition of community champions patiently and persistently built political will to do something big, bold, and significant on early childhood education in New Mexico,” Martinez said through a news release. “Now, we are steadily rebuilding the village it takes to raise a child, so we can give all our kids the fair shot they deserve in life.”

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