News Column

Lujan Urges Use of Lab Experts to Boost N.M. Economy

May 3, 2013

New Mexico can better utilize expertise from the state's national laboratories and expand manufacturing capacity to help boost its economy, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan told the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

"New Mexico's economy, we know the dire situation that we're in," said Lujan, a Democrat representing 3rd Congressional District.

"... I think we really need to evaluate what is happening in New Mexico and what is not happening in New Mexico that we saw those governors (in neighboring states) implement in their respective states."

New Mexico's economic development efforts should be rooted in technology transfer ventures along with manufacturing companies capable of fabricating those tech products here in New Mexico.

That effort could include a push to develop land south of Kirtland Air Force Base into a manufacturing "mega-complex" that might work in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Lujan said.

"Something I learned and that I appreciate about the expertise that we have in New Mexico is we're good at this, we're good at inventing and coming up with," Lujan said, citing projects at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.

"If we can show an emphasis in this area ... therein lies an opportunity for us to turn things up and turn things around," Lujan said.

The third-term congressman said federal research and development spending and technology transfer efforts should be spared from federal budget sequester cuts to ensure the technology innovations have a chance to make it to the market and bolster the economy.

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(c)2013 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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Source: Copyright Albuquerque Journal (NM) 2013


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