New Mexico In Depth is speaking with the candidates for New Mexico governor on the issues of early childhood, child wellbeing and education in New Mexico. State Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces is one of three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. He is a lawyer and small business owner in southern New Mexico. This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
Sylvia Ulloa: What would early childhood education in New Mexico look like in a Cervantes administration?
Joe Cervantes: I recognized from my years working on the budget and with the Land Grant Permanent Fund that funds are dedicated to education, and I have supported and actually introduced legislation to use the Land Grant Permanent Funds for early childhood education, so I support that initiative. The reality is, we’d have to put in infrastructure that builds on the existing infrastructure because we’re talking about quite a bit more money.
We have proven results from things like K-3 Plus, which adds more days to the school calendar for children who are the most vulnerable in our state. We need to expand on programs that work, and then we need to get into the households of families who need state assistance in the early years of raising families.