Cabinet Secretary addresses local officials, business leaders


DEMING – The Deming Luna County Economic Development presented its annual and quarterly reports on Tuesday night, announced a school initiative, and hosted a talk by New Mexico Secretary for Economic Development Matt Geisel, all over dinner and drinks at the St. Clair Winery, 1325 De Baca Rd SE. The food was catered by Adobe Deli.

The evening was billed as an annual meeting although the organization’s board did not conduct any official business. In attendance were city and county officers, business leaders including Mimbres Memorial Hospital CEO Kelly Duke, and the mayors of Deming and Columbus, among others.

DLCED President Bruce Ashburn, Community Manager at PNM, opened the evening by asking, “If I say ‘economic development’ to you, what does that mean?” Members of the assembly called out suggestions: “growth,” “jobs,” “community,” “stability,” “tax base,” and “prosperity.”

“Those are all important things that our organization has taken to heart,” said Ashburn. With that, he introduced a report on DLCED’s efforts to develop the local workforce via educational programs, efforts to nurture and expand business in the community, outreach to the schools and realtors for community development, and events such as the Salsa Festival, which will take place for a second year on July 29 and 30.

Deming Public Schools Superintendent Arsenio Romero announced the launch of “See The Change,” a computer-based physics curriculum for students in grade 6-8, available for purchase from the non-profit organization See The Change USA. The software and teaching materials cost $50,000, which was raised by community members. Realtor Micki Shillito was presented with a certificate celebrating her efforts to raise money for the program.

Secretary Geisel then gave a half-hour address he described as an economic “state of the state” presentation. Noting that he was not “Secretary of Oil Prices,” he emphasized at the beginning that despite widespread pessimism about New Mexico’s economic health, and macro-economic trends beyond local control, “We’ve…