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June 2024

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Courtesy Photo Senator Luján (in the navy blue vest) meets with Mayor Ortega, Kit Carson Electric, and other community leaders to discuss critical infrastructure investments

Senator Ben Ray Luján Met with Leaders in Northern New Mexico

Senator Ben Ray Luján visited northern Taos County to meet with leaders from the Town of Taos, Taos County, and the Village of Questa to discuss federal investments in rural parts of New Mexico.
According to a release from his office, Senator Luján secured $77 million for New Mexico projects, including investments in flood and fire mitigation, health care access, small business support, workforce development, public safety, agriculture, behavioral health services, affordable housing, military installations, and acequia and water infrastructure upgrades.

The release goes on to say that Senator Luján first met with local leaders from the Town of Taos at their local wastewater treatment plant to discuss upgrades needed to accommodate the town’s population increase and additional growth. Luján toured the facility and discussed the much needed upgrades with Mayor Pascual Maestas, Town Manager Andrew Gonzales, Assistant Town Manager French Espinoza, and Public Works Director Dena Miller.

The release says that following their meeting, Senator Luján toured the Historic Taos County Courthouse to highlight the federal investment he secured to restore the courthouse to its original historical condition, dating back to 1932. In total, Luján secured $600,000 to execute this first phase of construction. When the project is complete, the building will feature an architecturally correct torreón on each side of its facade and an interior true to original plans.

According to a Facebook post on Questa Mayor John Ortega’s page, he says “We met with Senator Ben Ray Luján, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative leadership, County Commissioner Miguel Romero and Governor Romero and War Chief Bernal from Taos Pueblo, to discuss projects in which the Senator has helped with Congressionally directed spending, and also future projects. It was a great meeting and a great day. Thank you, Senator, for coming to Questa and you all for attending.”

The release recapped the meeting, noting that Senator Luján met with the Village of Questa Mayor John Ortega, Kit Carson Electric CEO Luis Reyes, and other local leaders to highlight several important projects to create new economic opportunities in Questa, including an investment of over $1.6 million for the Village of Questa convention facility. This funding will help develop a facility that can house economic development opportunities for Questa and surrounding rural communities, and host local heritage events for northern New Mexico. Luján also helped secure $500,000 for the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative to produce green hydrogen, a renewable energy resource, by repurposing the Chevron Mine facility in Questa. This project will create new jobs, attract additional investment to the community, and address energy needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Today, I had the honor of hearing directly from local leaders and seeing firsthand the upgrades needed to improve local wastewater infrastructure in rural New Mexico. Like so many small communities across the state, the Town of Taos is rapidly growing, and the federal government must be there to provide support and facilitate that growth,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I look forward to bringing their concerns back to Washington to help the

Town of Taos address their critical wastewater infrastructure needs.”
Senator Luján continued, “Ending the day, it was a privilege to meet with leaders from the Village of Questa to celebrate over $1.6 million in federal funding to build a local convention center to create a place for coming together while boosting economic development. It was also an honor to highlight an additional $500,000 investment I secured to help boost green hydrogen production in Questa, ensuring this community has more opportunities to spur the production of renewable energy.”