SANTA FE—A bipartisan group of mayors from across the state on Thursday began meeting with officials from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration to offer their advice on plans to reopen New Mexico’s economy in the wake of the unprecedented public health emergency caused by COVID-19.
Gov. Lujan Grisham invited 16 mayors to participate in the group. It is being chaired by Mayors Greg Hull of Rio Rancho and Peter Nieto of Mountainair.
Chief of Staff John Bingaman and Human Services Department Secretary David Scrase presented a preliminary plan to reopen the state’s economy to the group. Many of the mayors noted how deeply the pandemic had affected their economies and the overall well-being of their communities, and they offered a variety of perspectives on how fast the state should move to reopen.
Council members said they already were working with business owners to ensure they adopt COVID-safe practices to minimize the potential for renewed outbreaks of the disease. But they also asked for the state’s help in educating the public.
“The overwhelming majority of small business owners will embrace COVID-safe practices because they know what is at stake. And we, as mayors, are ready to help educate our communities and enforce standards when needed,” said Mayor Hull.
“I cannot express enough that we need to follow the guidelines. If we do not, it means the different phases may be prolonged,” Mayor Nieto said. “Let’s work together to follow the guidelines and keep our communities safe.”
Chief of Staff Bingaman agreed to present the mayors’ concerns and suggestions to the governor.
Serving on the council are:
- Rio Rancho Mayor Greg Hull, co-chair
- Mountainair Mayor Peter Nieto, co-chair
- Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller
- Clovis Mayor Mike Morris
- Espanola Mayor Javier Sanchez
- Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett
- Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb
- Los Alamos County Council Chair Sara Scott
- Raton Mayor James Segotta
- Ruidoso Mayor Lynn Crawford
- Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun
- Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber
- Santa Rosa Mayor Nelson Kotiar
- Silver City Mayor Ken Ladner
- Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea
- Taos Mayor Daniel Barrone