SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One lawmaker is hoping to invest nearly $95 million into Indian Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos across the state to improve the libraries, education centers, and access to the internet. 

Representative Derrick Lente of District 65 is proposing to send nearly $95 million to Indian Nations in New Mexico. He said House Bill 86 would help improve or build new libraries, educational resource centers, and provide proper access to the internet.

“We’re going to rehabilitate a library, we’re going to build a library, we’re going to build an early childhood care facility, we’re going to bring broadband into the community so that our students will have a place to go to continue to learn,” said Lente.      

Lente said the lack of resources and internet access in these communities have been ongoing issues for years, but have been on full display during the pandemic as many children try to learn remotely. “It’s going to be a huge step in the right direction to ensure our children are not having to go and ask their parents and say can you drive me to the nearest McDonalds so we can sit in the parking lot because they have much better access to [the] internet than we ever have had or maybe will ever have,” said Lente.

Lente said if this bill is passed, it will hopefully bridge the gap between native students and other students that live in more urban settings with more resources. He said it may come at a steep price, funded through the local and federal levels. But believes it will all be worth it to ensure a brighter future for these communities. 

“Our failure in this state is expensive,” said Lente. “But in order to rehabilitate these types of programs and provide our children with equal access to education, we have to do what’s the right thing to do.”