Observations for New Mexicans as we transition to the next administration.
If you have been reading my column you know I am more focused on science and technology. Most of the people I spend my days with are involved in federally funded programs that require some degree of technical, scientific and administrative know how. Yet, I believe most of us do similar jobs. I recon if you have set up your computer to replace your tv, you qualify as someone with practical technical knowhow. If you have a smart phone and have been able to track baseball statistics for the World Series on your phone, you qualify. If you read this article online and click on the link below, you too qualify as a person who has sufficient technical skill to understand a plan for public consumption. While I work in technical fields I still think most of us can read a plan and go a couple of levels deep to gain understanding. See if you can give President elect the benefit of the doubt.
I read Donald Trump’s plan called the Contract with the American Voter. It is his action plan to Make America Great Again. Here is the link.
The plan contains five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law. Number three action is to remove all federal funding sent to sanctuary cities. We have three sanctuary cities in New Mexico, including Las Cruces. A sanctuary city is a city in the United States or Canada that adopts local policies designed to not prosecute people solely for being an undocumented individual in the country in which they are currently living. I’d like more input on this from our local attorneys to see how our local law enforcement and federal immigration control and enforcement colleagues work together on our sanctuary program.
Whether we know it or not, our system of government relies on the collaboration among governments at the city, county, state and federal level. When the government shutdown occurred for thirteen days in October, 2014 my conference was in progress. Our colleagues at NASA White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range, the people who protect our nation and national assets like the International Space Station were furloughed but eventually paid for those days. Only essential personnel were allowed on the sites. It cost the American tax payers $13 billion. The federal government had to rely on city and county resources to assure all necessary functions, including police and infrastructure maintenance were still being provided to those sites. We are all reliant on each other.
Just one threat like removing federal funds from a city the size of Las Cruces, with all of the federal employees we have here would be targeting the very people Mr. Trump wants to help. Middle class workers. So, I decided not to take the plan personally and read it again, not as a Las Cruces but as an American. This time try to find something I agreed with. I do like the idea of looking at the restrictions on lobbying. Yet, this is also targeting a lot of middle class workers too. Successful lobbyists on Capitol Hill are often former members of the general staff of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Folks who work at the Assistant Secretary level in the Pentagon, or in any of the Independent Federal Agencies.
Not exactly middle class, but they would likely fall into Mr. Trump’s definition of middle class. When you go to work for the government, you are not usually earning a competitive salary. After leaving the government, some very talented people go into the private sector and grow our economy. They advise our large corporations, they help Congressional staffers understand the importance of all of the capabilities of our military for example. Or, they help staffers understand the importance of the safety regulations for airlines and the necessity of better air traffic control systems to enable the safety of the flying public. I have met with the Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill for the last 25 years. These are people just maybe inching their way into the middle class. They are learning how our government can serve Americans. I really admire these people. Who do they rely on for information? The people here in our community who work for our Congressional delegation who know how the federal government’s funds are helping the community. Darn, it looks like I am not sure about this part of the plan either.
Ok, last look, what can I find that I like? Here’s one: create a task force on violent crime and increase funding for programs to train and assist local police. Increase resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars. Ok this is good as long as our federal prosecutors are still at work, and the U.S District Court is still open in Las Cruces. Remember the recommendation federal funds be cancelled because we are a sanctuary city. Darn. Ok, I have decided this is more of a draft of a contract that still needs lots of work and discussion with the people Mr. Trump wants to help.
What do you think?