Garcia Richard pushes for education reform
New Mexico Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard is an educator, mother and champion of education.
Her work as a House representative for district 43 has been focused on improving educational standards in New Mexico, which she says is the top priority in her campaign for re-election Nov. 4.
Garcia Richard won her house seat in 2012, upsetting the incumbent Jim Hall, a Republican. In that election, she also ran on the promise of improving the New Mexico education system.
A mother of two, Garcia Richard said she founded her platform and set her goals for her daughters.
“Last night, as I was writing this, I thought to myself that I can make a difference for my daughters. That I can give them a better education,” she said in a statement following her election in 2012.
Advocating for jobs
Garcia Richard has been an educator for most of her professional life. Her experience spans from teaching English in Korea in 2000 to elementary education today, at Pablo Roybal Elementary School in Pojoaque.
She serves on the House education and the appropriations committees in the state Legislature.
Garcia Richard did not return multiple phone calls or emails asking for comment. According to her website, she has “fought for and won education funding to reduce class sizes” while serving on the appropriations committee.
That funding is expected to help reduce class sizes from 30 students in a high school classroom to 25, according to a report from the state Legislature.
Garcia Richard also co-sponsored House Bill 254, which was a resolution to keep the state’s Lottery scholarship solvent. While this act passed the House, it failed to become law and died before passing through the Senate. It is expected to be on the legislative agenda again in 2015.
Helping students and the labs
She also sponsored House Bill 562, which established the Technology Research Collaborative. This bill, signed into law in 2013, establishes cooperatives between Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Labs and various universities throughout the state.
According to the text of the bill, the cooperative aims to create work force opportunities for students, improve the economy and aggregate funding for universities and labs alike.
Mike Nord, who supports the bill “100 percent, and then some,” teaches math and robotics at the Career Enrichment Center in Albuquerque. According to him, it’s becoming “increasingly difficult” to place students in programs that offer real opportunities.
“All of my students want to be engineers. They want to research. They love science and, until now, had nowhere to go,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many have quit because they had their degree and were working in dead end jobs.”
“This is an amazing opportunity for my students,” Nord said. “I hope this works. It’d be great to keep students in New Mexico.”
Garcia Richard, whose district includes LANL, earlier this year went to Washington to help procure “stable funding” for LANL.
She met with members of the New Mexico Congressional delegation in hopes of changing the ways that finding funding, managing revenue and streamlining government spending can be improved.
Education and funding are key issues for Garcia Richard’s opponent as well. Geoff Rodgers, the Republican challenger for the House seat, said that “New Mexico is on the wrong end of almost every list that matters.”
According to his campaign statement, he believes that New Mexico “needs leaders who believe in solving problems and have a track record of doing so.”
In an interview with Generation Justice, a student-based online news site, Jan. 26, 2014, Garcia Richard stated, ”because I’m a school teacher, educational reform is very important to me.”
Her re-election campaign focuses on this educational reform, primarily on continuing to provide resources for teachers.
“This is important. If you have smaller student to teacher ratios, the teacher has that many more resources to spend on an individual child,” she said. “Each child needs their own particular educational plan.”[/text_output][share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2966″][text_output]
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State representative at a glance
Job: Represent constituents of House District 43 during the legislative session and at interim committee meetings
Incumbent: Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard
Pay: $159 per diem on work days
Term: two years[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]