Over the past year and a half, New Mexicans have come together like never before. As the pandemic raged before us, we took masking, testing and vaccination seriously. In the legislature, we worked hard to pass COVID-19 relief measures that would help everyday New Mexicans, including small businesses and low-income people. I sponsored legislation that had an impact on our infrastructure, our schools and our working families. I am proud to be part of a legislative body that has fought for the needs of communities in New Mexico.
Leadership at this time is essential. While we worked at State House, leaders like Mayor Alan Webber worked in cities to protect the health and safety of their residents. Webber championed a municipal mask mandate from the start, distributed millions of dollars to those in need, and protected the homeless by creating an emergency shelter and securing the purchase of Santa Fe Suites to serve as a solution. longer term housing insecurity. For these reasons and many more, I support Mayor Alan Webber for his re-election.
It is not easy to go through a pandemic. I know it firsthand. While the pandemic has brought new challenges, it has also exacerbated existing struggles such as food insecurity, internet access and homelessness. Many have found themselves in dire financial straits. In the toughest times, people struggle to make ends meet. At state and city level, we are implementing programs such as rental assistance, eviction moratoria and hotlines for tenants. We have allocated money to food security programs.
Yet there are expenses that families face that cannot be covered by these large programs. Maybe a car breaks down and someone can’t get to work, resulting in a cascade of consequences – loss of job leads to loss of income and that same lack of transportation makes it impossible to get there. looking for a new job. Some found themselves caring for family members – sick seniors, children at home in a distant school – and unable to work as expenses increased.
In these situations, people often look to predatory lenders and payday loans for quick cash to avoid crises. And unfortunately, these loans often lead to a vicious cycle, driving a family more and more into debt, unable to escape skyrocketing interest rates as expenses continue to pile up. I have devoted untold time and effort to reforming this system, and Webber has joined in the fight.
Under Webber, the city of Santa Fe has signed up to a major program called TrueConnect, which helps people who find themselves with an unexpected expense access the money they need without the devastating consequences of predatory lenders. TrueConnect allows city employees to take out a short-term loan with much lower interest rates that they can repay through payroll deduction over the course of a year. This saves the individual money and in many cases saves his job. They can still get to work. They can still access the Internet from home when they need to work remotely. They can pay for child care so they can get to work on time. TrueConnect works for both employees and employers.
I am grateful to have been able to work with Webber and I am proud to support him for a second term. We need strong leadership during this difficult time, and Webber is the person to provide it. I hope you will join me in supporting Mayor Alan Webber for his re-election.
State Representative Susan K. Herrera serves District 41, which includes parts of Santa Fe, Taos and Rio Arriba counties.