Economic Development Department Seeks Strategic Investments For A Sustainable And Equitable Recovery
SANTA FE, N.M. – The New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD) is requesting additional state budget support to boost strategic investments and grow its network of regional economic development representatives, a targeted initiative to expand economic opportunities in all 33 New Mexico counties.
“This administration has moved quickly to create higher-paying jobs in New Mexico and diversify the economy by investing in leading-edge and innovative industries. EDD is requesting additional resources that will help transform New Mexico with targeted initiatives to build a more equitable and resilient economy for everyone, “ EDD Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said.
Created by the Legislature in 2000, regional representatives, also known as the Community, Business & Rural Development staff (CBRD), have evolved into a high-level team of economic development professionals who provide technical assistance to the businesses and communities in their respective regions, guiding each to reach their economic development goals. They have proven to be an essential tool to deliver financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
EDD currently has representatives based across the state with each assigned multiple counties. The Southeast representative, for instance, covers eight counties: De Baca, Curry, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Chaves, Otero, Eddy, and Lea.
The budget request that will be sent to the 2022 Legislature asks to double this staff to provide better coverage in underserved communities.
“Fiscal year 2021 was one of the most difficult years most of us can remember,” Keyes said. “Still, it ended with real progress toward economic recovery and a record number of businesses assisted across all of EDD’s programs. Our team of regional representatives keep a special focus on rural New Mexico and were a big part of this success. However, we need more boots on the ground to help our businesses recover and grow, and this budget request helps us do just that.”
In April, the Economic Development Department promoted Shani Harvie as coordinator to help minority businesses in New Mexico. In the next legislative session, the EDD is asking that the JEDI Office (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) be supported with an appropriation for staffing, technical support, and grant assistance.
“This office will create the space in state government to directly address systemic inequities and barriers to entry for New Mexican entrepreneurs. It will establish a foundation for businesses to get the representation and financial assistance they need to realize increased revenues and greater economic growth for New Mexico. This greatly enhances the ability of the Economic Development Department to fulfill its mission by creating additional economic opportunities and building wealth for all,” said Harvie.
In addition, EDD is requesting additional budget support for the Outdoor Recreation Division; resources to help more New Mexico businesses sell their products and services in international markets; and funding to expand initiatives at business incubators across the state.