New Mexico will have an Early Childhood Education and Care Department! On Thursday, March 14, 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 22 into law. This powerful moment was shared by legislators, key staff, and many supporters of the bill from across the state.
The diverse coalition that came together to push for this game-changing bill included the business community, childcare providers, educators, social workers, and more. It was emotional and fun, and bill sponsors Senator Michael Padilla and Representative Linda Trujillo each shared inspiring words about how this will strengthen the foundation for transformative change in New Mexico. Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, who first carried a similar bill in 2015, talked about the possible efficiencies under the new Department, and the ‘moonshot’ for education that can begin in early childhood.
Governor Lujan Grisham took a moment to recognize the many years of work of former Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish who championed children for eight years in office—and she has not stopped working since. Senator Padilla also thanked the team of the New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership for their hard work to get the bill passed.
In 2018, the New Mexico Early Childhood Funders’ Group commissioned ‘A Business Plan for Early Childhood.’ The Business Plan provides a vision for expanding early childhood and a systems-based approach to achieving it. In other words, this is a framework for efficient and effective ways to reach more children with early childhood programs, maximize the impact of any investment, and ultimately, transform New Mexico from the foundation up.
The New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership then began a community and stakeholder engagement process with the goal of gathering authentic community input and information with an emphasis on tribal communities. After five months, and hearing from more than 300 people, 160 organizations, in 39 communities across New Mexico, the Community Outreach Report was compiled in partnership with the Native American Budget and Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico.
During the 2019 legislative session, NMECDP supported this bill by testifying in front of various Legislative Committees, using the findings and recommendations of the Community Report and Business Plan. This ensured NMECDP centered the voices of professionals and families who can best explain the needs and best practices for Early Childhood providers and the communities they serve. Creating this Department is a game-changer for New Mexico’s youngest kids and is the result of many years of effort by an incredibly diverse group of supporters. Thank you to all the champions of children who helped to get this done!
NMECDP recognizes the tremendous work undertaken by our legislators to pass SB 22, creating the Early Childhood Education and Care Department. The bill made it through three Senate committees and passed the Senate Floor 39-2. The bill went before one House committee before hitting the House floor, where it passed 47-8. Wide support for Early Childhood initiatives across the state translated to wide support across party lines for the bill. Thank you to all the public officials who helped to get this done! In particular, NMECDP would like to recognize the efforts of Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Senator John Sapien, and the bill sponsors, Senator Michael Padilla and Representative Linda Trujillo.
NMECDP is grateful to have worked alongside other organizations whose mission is also to advance Early Childhood initiatives in New Mexico.
- New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children (NMAEYC) -- Baji Rankin and Gabrielle Wheeler
- New Mexico Childcare Association -- Angela Garcia and others
- Early Learning Advisory Council -- Chair Barbara Luna Tedrow, Vice-Chair Ray Jaramillo
- Silver City Community Partnership for Children -- Terry Anderson
- State workers -- Marianna Padilla, Alejandra Rebolledo de Gomm, Andrew Gomm, Katrina Montano-White, Gwen Warniment, Tim Hans and others
- Governor's Cabinet secretaries - Lynn Trujillo of Indian Affairs, Karen Trujillo of The Public Education Department, Kate O’Neill of Higher Education, Kathy Kunkel of the Department of Health
- The inimitable Regis Pecos
- The business community including Terri Cole of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Commerce and Industry, Simon Brackley of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce
- The Thornburg Foundation
And many, many more throughout the state!
Special appreciation to the entire NMECDP Team: Diane Denish, Katherine Freeman, Kate Noble, Marisol Baird, Kat Courtney, and Maia Cortissoz!
It was a wonderful time to celebrate this milestone, and there is much work ahead as programs transition into the Department and the leadership and priorities take shape.
NMECDP will continue to work to understand the needs in early childhood throughout the state, the issues facing providers, and to support establishing the Early Childhood Education and Care Department.
We look forward to supporting Governor Lujan Grisham, her cabinet Secretaries, and affiliated agencies, as the hard work of rolling out the Early Childhood Education and Care Department gets underway. We are especially excited to continue working with communities across New Mexico and ensuring that their voices are heard during this process. We want to hear from you as we move forward, so please reach out with your thoughts!
Together, New Mexico will make a difference in the lives of our youngest residents! Thank you again to to all our supporters for all you do for New Mexico’s youngest children!