Local 49 business manager Isaiah Zemke (right) with President Biden.
SM Local 49 (Albuquerque, NM) Chief Business Officer/Financial Secretary-Treasurer Isaiah Zemke took part in a “Communities in Action: Building a Better New Mexico” meeting at the White House on October 7, 2022. The discussion, part of Biden The administration’s “Building a Better America” series included a preview with leaders from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, followed by state-specific sessions.
“They invited leaders from every state – from unions, nonprofits, tribal governments and elected politicians – to a group briefing, followed by individual roundtables to share stories and discuss their amplification in our communities. communities and our states,” Zemke said, noting that he surveyed Local 49 members ahead of the meeting to convey members’ thoughts to the administration. “Discussed indoor air quality and how we work with school boards, the state of New Mexico and municipalities [to perform that work.]”
At the group meeting, Zemke and other attendees met with Julie Chavez Rodriguez, senior adviser to President Biden; Steve Rochetti, Legislative Coordinator; Al Zaidi, White House National Climate Advisor; Jewel Bronaugh, Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture; Susan Rice, Director of Domestic Policy; and US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. In addition to relaying members’ messages to the administration, Zemke participated in a discussion on the impact of recent legislation on working families in the region.
“It appears the plan is for all 50 states to choose leaders to participate in similar action plans,” Zemke added.
At the New Mexico roundtable, Zemke spoke about the amount of work that indoor air quality policies and legislation like CHIPS and the Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act will create for SM Local 49 members, including an Intel factory in Rio Rancho, NM He also highlighted the need for high schools to receive funding for CTE programs, ensuring that SMART and other building trades have the workforce needed to complete the infrastructure works of the future.
Ultimately, the discussion once again proved SMART’s new level of access with the current administration – and the importance of leveraging this to strengthen our union.