A message From Devont’e Kurt Watson:
Hello community. We are about to close this year on a positive outcome on the parameters of youth related issues across New Mexico. Today, I had a meeting with Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM) to discuss policy in relations to New Mexico’s youth. As a High school student and an advisor to Governor Martinez, our youth remains to be a primary focus on state based policy. This is why several initiatives are going to be taken place, and instituted, during the 2012 New Mexican Legislative session.
1.) Education Reform – earlier this Fall, I met with Secretary of Education Hannah Skandera. We met and presented our future New Mexican policy and reading levels in elementary schools. We also discussed School grading — such as the A-F rankings — and how this will establish a foundation of precedence towards improving failing schools. All these Ideas with Secretary Skandera were reiterated today by the governor. The Governor also included that she will be working more with the New Mexico Youth Alliance and building government sponsored — extracurricular — programs to promote education and a heather environment.
2.) Youth and Democracy – the Governor was presented with legislation proposals to lower the eligibility threshold of volunteering at voting polls to 16. According to Governor Martinez, it is crucial that youth participate in democracy; such exposure will promote our nation’s democratic and philosophical values in the “now” generation.
She was delighted to see how the New Mexico Youth Alliance has implemented legislation that established Albuquerque’s first mayoral youth council.
3.) Labor and work – the Governor was against the United States Department of Agriculture initiative to ban the youth farm working under family practice. According to Governor Martinez, this will eliminate youth productivity in rural areas; furthermore, it will diminish these skills from being taught.
In addition to a future initiative on behalf of the governor, I proposed an incentive to employ youth at age 14 — as mandate by federal law of eligibility to work — to work a payroll salary during election season. This would provide youth employment opportunity and constructive learning application.
Again, these were only some of the topics discussed during today’s meetings. In January, I will be giving the state of the state address on behalf of New Mexican youth and the current conditions that our state has such as the youth unemployment rate that contributes towards our national 9.1 unemployment rate of all demographics.