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Officials celebrate funding for broadband and rural development infrastructure

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development Xochitl Torrez Small (left) and Representative Melanie Stasbury (right) listen to local leaders talk

Federal, state, local and tribal leaders gathered in the village of Los Ranchos Wednesday evening to celebrate the $57 million in funding for broadband investments in the state through the ReConnect program and $34 million in grant funding from the USDA Rural Development.

Representative Melanie Stansbury was present at this event and said the funding secured for broadband internet access will help transform the state.

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Gino Gutierrez
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KSFR News
Representative Melanie Stanbury speaks about the importance of broadband infrastructure

“New Mexico has historically been underinvested in broadband and we’re so excited to celebrate the huge amount of money coming into New Mexico for broadband.”

In addition to the funding already mentioned, Stansbury said they expect another $150 million dollars to flow into the state for broadband infrastructure that will specifically target tribal communities.

Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development Xochitl Torrez Small returned to New Mexico to attend this press conference and said it is important for the people of New Mexico to take advantage of this opportunity to reshape the state through these federal funds.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development Xochitl Torrez Small discusses the future of New Mexico with these investments

“This is setting the stage for this unprecedented opportunity that we have when it comes to investments.”

New Mexico State Infrastructure Advisor Martin Chávez said the influx of money can make a significant difference for future generations to come.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
New Mexico State Infrastructure Advisor Martin Chávez said the future generations will be shaped by these funds

“That’s the reward this generation is going to have, when future generations say, ‘you changed our lives.”

There were many tribal representatives on hand at this event, including Pueblo of Santa Ana Governor Joseph Sanchez, who spoke about the impact of water and broadband infrastructure on the pueblo.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Pueblo of Santa Ana Governor Joseph Sanchez said the broadband investment will help connect the pueblo with the world

“Thank you for including Indian Country in these key pieces of legislation. Sometimes we’re left out of a lot of legislation. I’m glad that we were included in a lot more as we move forward.”

Members of the public were able to engage with these public leaders after the speaking portion had concluded, to share their communities’ needs.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.