Alan Webber for NM Governor
Governor in NM http://www.alanfornm.com/
P.O. Box 7815
Primary Election Date: 2014-06-03 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
I’m a progressive Democrat running for Governor of New Mexico.
I grew up in a working class home in Missouri, the son of a camera salesman. I was very fortunate to be part of a loving family, with parents who sacrificed a lot so their kids could have a better life. They were strong believers that education is the pathway to a brighter future, and my father—despite working extremely long hours to provide for us—dedicated a lot of time to school, including volunteering as head of our PTA.
I graduated from Amherst College, and later received an honorary doctorate from Boston Architectural College.
Early on, I saw the powerful role that government can play in ensuring that each person has the same opportunity for a great education, a meaningful career, affordable health care and a high quality of life.
I was an administrative assistant to the Mayor of Portland, Oregon in the 1970’s, when that city created a strategy for sustainability and livability that people admire today. My work and personal lives came together when, on my first date with Frances, we went door-to-door campaigning for city-county consolidation. We’ve been married for 37 incredible years, and have two wonderful children, Adam and Amanda.
After Portland, I served as Special Assistant to the US Secretary of Transportation. Later, in Boston, I worked for Governor Michael Dukakis’ administration and became the managing editor/editorial director of the Harvard Business Review.
There, I interacted with leaders of all kinds—heads of large corporations and non-profit executives, entrepreneurs and global thought-leaders. I had long recognized the role of government in changing people’s lives; at HBR I became increasingly aware of how business influences individual lives—for better or worse.
After a 3-month fellowship in Japan, I saw how the world was changing. Global competition, digital technology, demographic changes, and generational shifts were remaking business and careers. With my friend and colleague Bill Taylor, I set out to launch a new magazine that would be the handbook of this new world of work, asking and answering: How can individuals make a difference? How can companies both do well and do good?
It was hard work, and potential investors were understandably skeptical, but we never gave up. Fast Company became the fastest growing business magazine in American history—because people across the country (and then around the world) were hungry for a publication that told them that they mattered, their work lives mattered, and that they could make a difference.
Ultimately, the investors behind Fast Company sold the magazine—enabling Frances and me to move to New Mexico to live the rest of our lives. This is our home, and we love it.
I’ve since written three books, given speeches on early childhood education and have worked with small businesses, social enterprises, and non-profits to help them grow. My commitment is to contribute to New Mexico and to leave this state in better shape, with more opportunities for more people, than when I moved here.
Why am I running?
I am running because New Mexico has incredible potential that isn’t being realized. In national rankings, we’re at the bottom of all the good lists and the top of all the bad lists. We’re lagging behind other states, where we should be leading: in jobs, education, health, social justice, sustainability, environmental quality and more.
The people of this state are hard-working and resilient. But right now, New Mexicans aren’t getting a fair shot at the opportunities being reserved for the rich and powerful. Under the administration of Republican Governor Susana Martinez, our state is for sale to the highest bidder—but even the sale price doesn’t trickle down to working families.
The whole state is suffering, but our rural communities have been the hardest-hit. Many of them are losing population, as a whole generation moves away. Instead of putting down roots, our young people are pulling up stakes, and leaving to seek opportunities in other states. When they leave, they take their futures with them. It’s heartbreaking.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. This election is a contest, not just between candidates, but also between values. It’s the politics of the past versus a vision for our future. Business-as-usual versus innovation and opportunity—especially for our children. If we want to lift New Mexico up—and lift our children up—we need new ideas and new leadership. We simply cannot keep doing what we’ve always done and expect to get different results.
The fact is New Mexico’s potential is unlimited; our future is hiding in plain sight. We have all the talent and resources right here—the diversity, the rich history and culture, the breathtaking natural beauty, the science and innovation—to build from our traditions, and transition into a dynamic future. Diversity is New Mexico’s core strength—we must embrace that strength as the pulse of our past and the path to our future.
I’m running for Governor so we can build an economy where everyone has good work—and an economy that works for everyone. I’m an entrepreneur and an innovator. I know what it takes to turn bold ideas into new realities—how to turn New Mexico’s strengths into New Mexico jobs.
I’m running for Governor because I know that education is the ladder of opportunity—that learning and earning are two sides of the same coin. I’m running so that we can end the war on teachers, and so we can fund early childhood education for every child in New Mexico—to give our children a running start to a better future.
I’m running for Governor to fight for the rights of all New Mexicans—not just the few and the rich.
I’m running for Governor so we can teach our children to reach for the stars—and not let anyone hold them back or put them down.
I’m running for Governor so New Mexico can take its rightful place at the top of all the good lists (and the bottom of all the bad ones!).
Given that New Mexico is dead last in the country in job growth, that’s my first priority.
My goal is to create 125,000 more jobs by 2020 (by comparison, New Mexico has scarcely 8,000 more jobs than 4 years ago, when Governor Martinez took office). Her approach is old-style Republican trickle-down economics: She tries to bribe big out-of-state corporations to come to New Mexico by giving away our tax dollars. It doesn’t work. Because when the handouts run out, so do the corporations—and they take the jobs with them.
Our economy won’t grow from the outside-in. The way to grow New Mexico’s economy is from the ground up—by supporting and investing in the local businesses that are the lifeblood of New Mexico’s communities. This is where my extensive experience fostering the growth of small and medium-sized businesses will be put to best use.
As we grow our economy, we must make sure that everyone reaps the benefits. There is no excuse for so many hard-working New Mexicans to be living in poverty. I will fight to increase the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour; hopefully, Congress will act soon to do the same.
A crucial part of growing a healthy economy is ensuring high-quality education for our children. Instead of investing in students, teachers, schools and higher education institutions, Martinez is obsessed with the right-wing agenda of standardized testing, grading schools, and privatizing education.
Applying a cookie-cutter approach to our students and our schools is a recipe for disaster. One size does not fit all. The first step toward improving our education system is to stop doing what doesn’t work. Immediately upon taking office, I will dramatically reduce standardized testing, and work collaboratively with teachers to determine the appropriate timing, frequency and content of tests.
But the core problem with our education system is our unwillingness to dedicate the resources necessary so our children can learn and thrive. I will pass a “1% for education” surtax on the wealthiest New Mexicans to fund the supplemental programs and support systems that we need to improve learning outcomes. In addition, I will work hard to pass a constitutional amendment to fund high-quality early childhood education. I want New Mexico to be the state in America where education actually begins before a child is born: We will support parents in recognizing that they are their child’s first teachers.
The story of New Mexico is unfulfilled potential, and nowhere is that more obvious than in renewable energy—especially solar. New Mexico has the 2nd best solar energy potential in the country, but only about 1% of our electricity is generated from our abundant sunshine. Despite our potential, we’re only 22nd in solar jobs. I will make sure that we have the policies in place—a combination of mandates and incentives—so that at least 20% of our energy comes from solar by 2025.
I have ambitious goals and bold proposals in other areas, too. You can learn more at http://www.alanfornm.com/policy/.
My DFA Values
I share DFA’s values of community, security and liberty. It is only when we are secure, truly free, and united in support of each other, that we can thrive—as individuals, as a state and as a country.
I am outraged by Governor Martinez’s vision for New Mexico, one where the rich get all the benefits, and the poor are discarded. It’s a cynical political agenda, where her friends and campaign contributors get all the favors, and other New Mexicans can’t even access basic services. It’s a politics-as-usual agenda, where political ambition trumps the public interest.
My core values center around social and economic justice. I want to build a New Mexico where everyone has equal opportunity for a good job and a great education. Where all New Mexicans have the safety and comfort of a home, food security, and access to affordable, high-quality health care. Where diversity is celebrated, and the rights of everyone are respected—including the right to marry the partner of their choice. Where women are safe, secure and free to choose. Where the political system is fundamentally democratic, and everyone has a vote and a voice. Where everyone has clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and where our natural resources are protected for our children and grandchildren.
I want to build a New Mexico where money doesn’t buy you greater rights or access to any of the things we all need for a good life and a bright future.
I believe that government has a positive role to play in people’s lives, and I want to lead a state government that does exactly that.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I’m definitely a different kind of candidate. I’ve never run for office before, and I’ll never run for another office again. I’ve been a successful entrepreneur, author and journalist. I’ve worked in government—from the local to the federal level, and I know what government can achieve for the people it serves.
My skills are in innovation, and in finding and nurturing talent: the committed individuals who will develop the solutions we need to the challenges we face. I believe that if you bring together the right people, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. This applies as much to campaigns as it does to governing.
Because I’m not a conventional candidate, I’m building my campaign from the grassroots up. Despite being a political outsider, I earned the 2nd highest number of votes at the statewide Democratic pre-primary nominating convention—running against four long-time party insiders. I did it by engaging people in the Democratic party process who had never been involved before—young people, cultural entrepreneurs, public employees, academics, and progressive policy advocates who don’t identify with the party process—the kind of people we need to fuel a campaign that can defeat a powerful Republican incumbent in November. Three people gave nominating speeches for me: a Hispanic community organizer who works for PICO; the co-founder of leadership programs for Native American youth, and an educator who works with expectant mothers and young women with pre-school age children.
It’s those kinds of people—excited and passionate about a political campaign for the first time in their lives—who invigorate and inspire me. These are the people who are driving my campaign, and because of them, I can succeed.
My campaign tag line is “Add Your Voice.” Because I believe in governing by the people, but I also believe in campaigning by the people. My mantra in business was: “the best idea wins.” And that’s how our campaign functions: our volunteers are an integral part of our campaign team. They don’t just make phone calls, they generate ideas, cultivate excitement and motivate others.
If we’re going to win in November, we have to build a movement—give people a reason to come out and vote, to knock doors, to make phone calls, to contribute what they can. We’re doing that, and it’s the reason our campaign is gaining momentum and changing the conversation. People need to be excited—not about policies, but about potential, and our ability to work together so New Mexico can fulfill ours, and finally climb our way to the top of all the good lists.