Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico State Rep. Andrea Romero will speak to Highlands University social work students and the public in Santa Fe March 22 at 9 a.m.
Romero’s free talk will be in the Higher Education Center atrium at 1950 Siringo Road in Santa Fe, which houses the Highlands Santa Fe Center and other colleges.
The idea to invite Romero to talk came from Joe Wegner, a senior in the Highlands Facundo Valdez School of Social Work.
“I’m taking a class from Highlands social work professor Beth Massaro that focuses upon developing and using social action and political theory,” Wegner said. “I immediately thought of my new House District 46 state representative, Andrea Romero, of Santa Fe. I think it’s going to be fascinating to hear from a brand-new legislator about her journey from the business world to politics.”
Wegner said Massaro’s class places emphasis on local Hispanic and Native American communities.
“Rep. Romero is a 17th generation New Mexican who went from Santa Fe High School to Stanford. I thought it was interesting to have such an accomplished local entrepreneur who started a successful sustainable ranching business in New Mexico wanting to enter public service,” Wegner said.
Wegner said Romero inspires him with her desire to help her home state and make a difference.
“She strikes me as a leader who is getting into public service to make meaningful changes that affect people’s lives,” Wegner said.
Wegner said he expects Romero to speak of several of the many house bills she has proposed for this legislative session.
“For instance, she introduced House Bill 278 that declares an emergency and creates a task force to outline preventative measures and document missing and murdered indigenous women in New Mexico. Her bill just passed the house on March 8,” Wegner said.
Wegner said Romero is an exciting young voice in New Mexico politics.
“A number of her bills positively affect children in New Mexico, such as one tracking children between school and New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, House Bill 447, which passed the house on Feb. 20,” Wegner said.
Wegner said he thinks all the students in the Highlands social work program got into the profession because each one has their own issues they are passionate about, from criminal justice reform to improving children’s services.
“I’m hoping Rep. Romero will motivate us to raise our voices for positive social change,” Wegner said.
Wegner said he thinks the first step in bridging the gap in a highly polarized political environment is to have the kinds of conversations that Romero will facilitate.
“In social work we focus on what we call the micro and macro levels, with micro being the individual contact with clients and macro looking at the bigger picture impact that we can have on systems like legislative laws, policies and community development,” Massaro said.
Massaro said it is exciting to see Highlands social work students embracing macro-level social work.
“Joe’s coordination of Rep. Romero’s talk is an outstanding example of the work our students are doing at the legislative level,” Massaro said.