U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will host community roundtable discussions in Grant County on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, focused on making the economic recovery work for all New Mexicans, including helping small businesses prosper, supporting job seekers, and making college more affordable. Senator Heinrich will also speak at the Continental Divide Trial Gateway Community Designation in Silver City on Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday morning, Senator Heinrich will meet with members of the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce in Silver City to discuss the chamber's latest projects and programs -- including its Local Investment Opportunity Network, which connects prospective business owners and nonprofits to resources that help them become sustainable in today's challenging economy.
Later in the morning, the senator will meet with members from the Volunteer Center in Silver City. The organization, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, provides educational programs and nutritious food for children and seniors in need. This January, the center's food pantry experienced a 150 percent increase in need for emergency food assistance. Earlier this month, Senator Heinrich voted to restore emergency unemployment benefits for thousands of New Mexico job seekers.
On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Heinrich will host a roundtable discussion with students at Western New Mexico University to address student loan debt and other barriers that exist for students and families. Senator Heinrich has consistently fought to keep higher education within reach for all New Mexicans. He voted to pass the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, a bill that lowers and caps interest rates on federal student loans, and protects borrowers from dramatic increases in the future. He's also called on federal officials to investigate allegations that so-called "debt relief" companies have been using deceptive practices to profit from students seeking assistance in repaying their college loans.
Later in the afternoon, Senator Heinrich will lead a discussion with members from The Wellness Coalition, a non-profit coalition dedicated to improving the quality of life of the people of southwest New Mexico. The coalition serves Grant, Luna, Hidalgo, and Catron Counties where they assess youth needs and identify service gaps in the community. The organization also connects youth to New Mexico's AmeriCorps Program and helps run the Youth Conservation Corps for three counties. As a member of the National Service Congressional Caucus and the only sitting senator to have served in AmeriCorps, Senator Heinrich is a staunch supporter of the coalition's Youth Corps program. He is also an original cosponsor of the Public Lands Service Corps Act, a proposal to expand job training and educational opportunities for youth, while helping repair and restore the country's public lands.
Senator Heinrich will end the day at the Silver City Tourism & Visitor Information Center where he will deliver remarks at the Silver City Gateway Community Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Designation. The region will be the first community gateway designated for the entire 3,100-mile long trail. The senator will be joined by local elected leaders including Silver City Mayor Mike Morones and State Senator Howie Morales. The senator will also celebrate this occasion with veterans participating in the Warrior Hike.