The person: Carmichael Dominguez is halfway through his second term as a District 3 city councilor. A lifetime Santa Fe resident, Dominguez was educated at Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe Community College and the University of New Mexico. His extensive community-service credentials include membership on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education, the city Planning Commission, the Public Utilities Committee, the Tierra Contenta Corp. Board of Directors and more. He is the current chairman of the city’s Public Works/CIP & Land Use Commission, and a member of the Finance Committee, the Ethics and Rules Committee, the Extraterritorial Committee and the Regional Juvenile Justice Board. He is also the City Council liaison to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board. He works at the New Mexico Department of Transportation. When asked about the local economy, he acknowledges that some areas, such as the service industry, have struggled in the recession. Even so, “I think Santa Fe’s economy is better than other cities across the nation and even in the state of New Mexico,” he says. “I think we’ve sustained the lowest or one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state…” which is important, he explains, because it factors in Santa Fe’s living wage.
The plan: Dominguez’ plan for boosting the economy is based on diversification, promoting and encouraging other enterprises that generate gross receipts taxes from sources that don’t depend on tourism.
How it works:
• Change educational priorities: “I recognize, as a former school board member, that you have teachers and parents and schools across our district that are working very hard, but we don’t seem to be focusing on the right things.” Before the economy took a hit, Dominguez explains, he was advocating for the plan to create Santa Fe’s Regional Career and Technical Center. Dominguez says the first step is to improve the relationship between the City Council and the Board of Education.
• Adopt a new idea of vocational education: “Before, vocational-technical education meant you had classes like welding and auto-mechanics, and a lot of those things are very important, but we’re talking about new technologies.” He points to environmentally sustainable technologies as an area from which he thinks Santa Fe could benefit.
• Make sure smaller businesses have access to what money is available. Provide revenue bonds.
• Educate people about the opportunities the city has available to them.
Bottom line: Dominguez’ intent is to make sure Santa Fe’s workforce is educated in the industries that businesses want. His hope, he explains, is that, by having a skilled body of workers, companies will find Santa Fe more desirable, and those companies, in turn, will encourage skilled workers to stay in Santa Fe and spend their money here.