picture of Pete

Economic Development

  • Government programs, such as Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) grants/loans to businesses with good growth prospects, can play a role in economic development. They are no substitute for the economic fundamentals of a healthy, educated workforce, rational, fair taxation, and well-planned and maintained public infrastructure. That is why I will work to improve education, health care, and infrastructure, as well as our tax system and specific economic development programs.
  • The role of Los Alamos National Laboratory in our national security is not going to disappear, so it should remain a solid economic engine for the region. But Lab budgets go up and down, sometimes severely. There is a lot of scientific and engineering talent there, and some of them do come up with creative new businesses, but they have often taken their growing companies to other locations. If we can make it possible for those entrepreneurs to grow their businesses here, our economy will be less dependent on the single budget of the national laboratory.
  • The Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and transfer of the Valles Caldera to National Park Service management, should provide a needed boost to local businesses. I will work to get the last few miles of scenic highway 126 paved from Cuba to Jemez Springs and the Valles Caldera, which will make it easier to get around our District, and help our local tourist economy.
    High-capacity community broadband throughout the District would be a good step into a 21st century economy, but the wrong way to get this is to ask for a big bond issue to pay for it, and then let a private operator make money once it's built. A better approach is what we have already started doing in Los Alamos: make sure that every time our utility department opens up a large trench for other utility work, we lay down some conduit so that we'll build up over time the network we need to offer broadband. When private industry is ready to use that conduit, we can offer to share the cost and we can share the benefits. Los Alamos County, as a partner in the REDI Net local government/tribal consortium, is also negotiating to get higher capacity data lines connected. In general, we should aim at the public contribution being "seed money" to get projects started, and avoid as much as possible long-term public subsidies, when private investment should step in.