In order for a people to thrive, it must have the 12 commonwealth assets. These are qualities of a community that allow it to grow, develop, and flourish over time. Taos has several of the commonwealth assets, but many of them have room for improvement– in order for our community and its members to truly prosper.
In my opinion, the strongest assets our community has are the Arts and Culture and the History. The artist community in Taos is strong and there are many opportunities for local artists to succeed. Taos attracts artists with it’s “Art Colony” that was founded here due to the rich Pueblo culture and the beautiful landscapes. Taos also has an abundant, diverse history and many ways to learn about it. There are a variety of museums that contain information and artifacts pertaining to Taos and Taos Pueblo history– including weapons, household items, and native art. There are also events where historians and storytellers (such as Larry Torres and Taos Pueblo Elders) gather to share stories and information about the past of our town.
I think the commonwealth assets that need the most improvement in Taos are the opportunity to receive high quality education and healthcare as well as the availability of renewable energy. New Mexico is rated #49 in education and #34 in healthcare. I was happy to find out that New Mexico did pass a “clean energy” bill that will transition the state to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2045. New Mexico’s poor education system is something that needs to be given some attention. There are a few good schools in Taos (primarily the charter schools) but the opportunity for receiving a good education is lacking. The majority of the public schools here are graded between C’s and F’s, while the charter schools are A’s and B’s. This means that only youth that win the lottery and are admitted into charter schools are receiving the level of education that I believe all of our children deserve.
It is also difficult to get good healthcare here, including primary healthcare, but especially specialist healthcare. If you are in need of some kind of specialist you will need to travel either out of state or to Albuquerque or Santa Fe. This combined with poor health insurance leads to many residents neglecting their health. The same goes for dental care.
While Taos has an incredible and beautiful community, there is room for improvement in many of its commonwealth assets.