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2014 State of the City Address

View the transcript of Mayor Richard J. Berry's 2014 State of the City Address.

Delivered Nov. 14, 2014.

Challenges, Collaborations & Transformation

Thank you all for joining me today at our newly renovated Convention Center for the 2014 Albuquerque State of the City address.

Welcome also to all those who are watching via webcast.

A special thanks to Alex Romero and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce for hosting today's event.

The Hispano Chamber has been a great partner in the City of Albuquerque and to me as your Mayor, and they just won the National Hispano Chamber of the Year award!

Congratulations, and thanks for your leadership and partnership in our community.

And thanks to everybody who has joined us today.

You all do so much for Albuquerque.

I'm proud and honored to work with you as you move our city forward.

A special welcome to City Council President Ken Sanchez, and to our City Councilors who have joined us today.

The great work that is happening in Albuquerque is a testament to our ability to work together for the common good.

I've enjoyed a strong partnership with the City Council during my tenure as mayor, working together on bipartisan initiatives from budgeting 2016 and the Paseo & I-25 reconstruction project, to initiatives such as our women's pay equity efforts, Running Start for Careers, and Albuquerque Heading Home.

Councilors, thank you for being here today, and thank you for your strong and consistent support of the great work being done in our city.

Would our Councilors please stand and be recognized.

Thanks also to the State Legislators who are here with us today.

We look forward to working with you this upcoming session.

Welcome also to members of my Youth Advisory Council who are here today live-tweeting the speech.

Feel free to join in on the conversation using the hashtag #stateofabq14.

And to my family who is here with us today, Ed and Carlotta Medina, Willis and Karen Berry, and my wonderful wife Maria (and son Jacob) - thank you for your love and your support.

This is been a transformative year for our city.

It has also been a year of strengthened partnerships, new collaborations, and exciting opportunities.

The changes that have occurred this year in our city speak well for today, and for generations to come.

From historic reforms in how we police our city, to an influx of investment and resources from the philanthropic sector, we are cultivating a shift in philosophy and creating a new trajectory for our economy.

Today, I will highlight a number of challenges, reforms, success stories, and next steps as we continue to build a world-class city.

The state of our city is strong.

We are resilient, we are disciplined, we are working together and we are forging ahead to make our city even stronger.

This is been an historic year for our Police Department and for policing in the city of Albuquerque.

With the negotiation of our Settlement Agreement with the Department of Justice last month, I believe we are setting a new national standard for policing and police reforms.

More importantly, I believe our team from the city has worked in earnest with the DOJ to craft a reform package that will enhance the safety of both our community and our officers, promote constitutional and effective policing in our city, and deliver high-level, high-quality police services by augmenting the already great work being done by our police department.

This agreement reflects valuable input from numerous stakeholder groups, including families affected by officer-involved shootings, police officers and their loved ones, community and neighborhood leaders, advocacy groups and citizens.

As the Mayor of our City, I have been adamant from day one that this agreement needed to be crafted in a way that makes it achievable for APD and the community, trainable by APD and measurable by the soon to be selected monitor, the Department, and the public.

That doesn't mean it is going to be easy, or inexpensive, or without a hitch.

But I believe that the reforms can be implemented successfully, in conjunction with reforms we put in place during my first term.

It is clear that we all share a mutual interest in public safety, reform, accountability, transparency, public trust and collaboration.

But we must not lose sight of the fact that our police officers have a difficult and dangerous job, and we need to lift up our officers and their families in our thoughts and prayers as they work to protect our city and our loved ones.

And we would be mistaken to see this settlement agreement as the "finish line".

In many ways it is a new beginning, a major milestone in a long process of reform and trust-building between a Department of dedicated professionals and those they care for and serve.

To succeed we must build a robust, ongoing dialogue and relationship between our citizens and our Police Department.

Not just for today, or tomorrow or this year or the next - but a generational dialogue and collaboration that starts now and continues into the future.

Please join us in our efforts. I know our city and I know this Department, and I know that we have the ability to do this the right way.

I want to thank Chief Gorden Eden, Deputy Chief Huntsman, Rob Perry, and David Tourek and our entire team of professionals who worked closely with the Department of Justice to craft this agreement.

The good news is, we have made a lot of progress already.

A number of the reforms detailed in the agreement were actually underway prior to the signing of the agreement, and are close to full implementation even as we speak.

For example, we will be the first Police Department in the United States to have 100 percent of our officers crisis intervention trained in the coming months.

We are also well on our way to strengthening our internal accountability systems and our professional development tools that all of our officers need in modern-day policing.

And our Department is doing a great job keeping our community safe.

Albuquerque is the 32nd largest city in the country, but when you look at the list of cities in regard to violent crime rates, Albuquerque is number 619 on the list.

We are on track in 2014 to see the lowest number of homicides since 2001.

And just in the past week or so, we have seen APD's crisis negotiators peacefully resolve two high-profile incidents that could have easily escalated.

We will continue to be innovative and improve the way that we deliver public safety services to the citizens of Albuquerque.

In addition to keeping our community safe, my administration is continuing our work to bring fiscal responsibility to City Hall.

Moody's has just upgraded our city outlook, which means that we are in a position to save taxpayers money on our municipal bond rates.

All three rating agencies recently stated that the City of Albuquerque has implemented strong financial management policies and shows strong budgetary performance.

We have also been able to save taxpayers more than $22 million as a result of our efficiency, stewardship and accountability program that we started in my first term.

Through continued fiscal responsibility, this year we have bolstered our general fund reserves by $800,000, marking the fourth consecutive year of growing these reserves.

Our seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Albuquerque is lower than last year.

And the total value of all construction permits in September was approximately $42 million, which is 12 percent higher than last September.

That means more folks are earning a good paycheck and supporting their families in the construction industry which was particularly hard-hit by the recession.

That's good news.

In Albuquerque we take pride in our history, in our families, and in our community.

We draw strength from our diversity and our unity, and that sets us apart from any other city in the nation.

We have many community-driven initiatives that have achieved high levels of success and national recognition that I want to share with you today.

Albuquerque Heading Home, our homelessness initiative that houses the chronically homeless and medically vulnerable, just recently housed our 400th individual.

And we know through our UNM study that we also save taxpayers significant resources by doing the right thing.

And this year, with the help of several private individuals we expanded Heading Home to include our veterans who sometimes return home to difficult circumstances.

We call this edition Vets Heading Home.

Let me tell you about a veteran whose name is Chuck.

Chuck and his family lived on the streets of Albuquerque for over three years, until Vets Heading Home collaborated with the VA to transition Chuck and his family into permanent housing.

Today, Chuck works full-time and lives in his own home with his family.

It's stories like this that make us remember that those housed to this program are not just numbers - these are people, sometimes with families but always with hopes, and dreams.

And thanks to Heading Home and your support, their futures are much brighter.

But we haven't stopped there in support of our returning heroes, our veterans.

Last year we implemented free ABQ Ride services to veterans who are part of the VA healthcare system.

To date, veterans have boarded our buses more than 180,000 times to get to the medical care they need and deserve.

Through our veterans hiring initiative at the City, we have already hired 184 veterans.

As we know, homelessness occurs when an individual is unable to find housing after 30 days on the street.

Today, through Albuquerque Heading Home and Vet's Heading Home - we are pledging to end veterans homelessness in Albuquerque by the end of 2015!

But we need your support, and we need your buy-in as a community to make this happen.

Alone we cannot do this, but together we can!

Last year I spoke about investing in our people and investing in our place.

Let me update you on a few success stories in this regard.

Talent ABQ, a first of its kind initiative that is garnering national attention for its forward thinking approach to helping our community through 35 local skill-up centers has now assessed over 12,000 Albuquerque citizens and has helped 700 people successfully find jobs as a result.

Even the Vice President tweeted about this program!

A big thanks to the 400 employers who have committed to skills-based hiring.

But we need more businesses to get involved, so please go to TalentABQ.org and find out more about this great program and how you can use it to help your company's growth while making better hiring decisions and helping talented people get connected with jobs.

Our Running Start for Careers program, which brings industry-taught curriculum into high schools around the city, now has 468 students participating in one of 8 areas of study.

The majority of participating students live in poverty, a cohort that traditionally has a low high school graduation rate.

But through participation in the Running Start program, the students have achieved a 99 percent on-time graduation rate.

That's truly remarkable, and a testament to innovative thinking as we augment the educational experience in Albuquerque.

The financial services component of Running Start is being implemented by Terry Laudick and the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union.

This September, Terry and his team, including Shauna Runck and Michelle Dearholt were recognized with a White House Champions of Change award.

Folks, that's a big deal.

We are being recognized nationally for innovation in education because we have leaders like Terry, Shauna, and Michelle who are taking their expertise and resources from the private sector and providing students with opportunities and a bright future.

Would Terry, Shauna, and Michelle stand up so we can give you a round of applause!

Let me show you a brief video on Running Start for Careers, to give you a better idea of opportunities for you all as business leaders, students and educators.

I want to encourage all of you today to get involved with Running Start for Careers.

We are looking for new opportunities to connect students with industry taught courses, internships and jobs after graduation.

If you represent an industry that can help build these bridges, we need your help. Please call  768-3000 to find out more about this wonderful opportunity.

And through the hard work of Robin Brulé, who is on loan to my office from Terry Laudick and the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, we have been able to create even more opportunities for youth in our community.

We were just granted over $2 million in funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service to launch Career Corps - a program that will leverage more than 50 full and part-time community volunteers to help get our high school students ready for college and careers.

With these resources we will be able to expand Running Start for Careers throughout the APS school district, especially in Title I low-income schools that represent some of the most disadvantaged members of our community.

Career Corps will assist students through tutoring, connection to services, and by creating career and shadowing opportunities.

Next year we will be working with the Corporation for National and Community Service to craft a program that will ensure graduating seniors the opportunity to choose one of five career or educational paths.

We want to encourage our students to get across the finish line and graduate and we want to create better opportunities for them when they do.

We hope to have more details on this program next spring.

Another outstanding local program that helps the youth of Albuquerque is Homework Diner, a program designed to address two critical needs in our educational system: food insecurity and parental involvement.

The program brings families and students together for an evening meal at the school, while providing tutors to help with homework.

As simple as that sounds the results are amazing.

  • 100 percent of participating students reported an increase in homework completed
  • 95 percent reported an increase in academic performance in the classroom
  • 90 percent reported an increase in academic performance in testing and parental involvement
  • 90 percent reported a decrease in absences and in tardiness

And in just the first year, at the first school, 17 parents received tutoring that allowed them to get their GED.

In this year's budget we added funds to expand Homework Diner to six more schools within our school district, and my goal is to continue expanding this opportunity for students and parents throughout the city.

Homework Diner has gained national attention, in the summer Chelsea Clinton came to Albuquerque to feature the program on NBC Nightly News.

Take a look at his video.

Please help me to recognize the architects of this great program - Peggy Candelaria, Principal at Manzano Mesa Elementary, and Deanna Creighton-Cook.

Ladies would you please stand and be recognized!

Next summer I'm hoping to work with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in an effort to reinvent summer opportunities for students in Albuquerque.

In the summer of 2015, we will launch a comprehensive summer learning initiative that will help students and families in the City of Albuquerque to be better prepared when they return to school in the fall.

We have identified 13 community partners who have agreed to bring their existing services to the table in an effort to better coordinate learning opportunities for children.

My vision is to develop a network of existing integrated services that are accessible through one easy portal.

I want parents to know that we will work with them to ensure their children will be healthy and ready to lead and learn when they return to school in the fall, rather than suffering the summer slide where students lose a significant amount of knowledge gained in the previous school year.

We can reinvent what a productive and healthy summer looks like, particularly for low income students in Albuquerque.

This program will combine fun, nutrition and learning all at the same time. If you would like to help with this initiative, please call Frank Mirabal at my office at 768-3000.

I would also like to acknowledge Ed Rivera and Dr. Angelo Gonzales from the United Way of Central New Mexico and your board for your leadership through Mission Graduate, the local initiative with an ambitious goal of adding 60,000 new graduates with degrees or certificates to central New Mexico by the year 2020.

The city is proud to be one of your many partners in this important endeavor.

As your Mayor, I don't run the school system- but I am invested in augmenting the student experience with an eye on helping them succeed, both in school and in life.

Thanks to Interim Superintendent Brad Winter and everyone at APS for allowing my administration to work with you to build a brighter future for our next generation of leaders.

And thanks again to our City Councilors who have approved the funding for these programs in our city budget. We couldn't do it without you.

This past year has also been a banner year for infrastructure projects in our community.

Our records show that this year alone has seen an investment of $137 million in our city - a number that exceeds any year in recent history.

This is a testament to our fiscal responsibility, by shifting your tax dollars from simply growing government to building a world-class city.

In one month, the Paseo del Norte- I 25 interchange will be completed.

Working with our State Legislators, Gov. Martinez, federal partners, and the County, we were able to fund this critical infrastructure project.

Thanks to the voters of Albuquerque for understanding the necessity of this project, and overwhelmingly supporting the appropriation of $50 million in local funding.

This is a testament to the fact that alone we can achieve little, but together we can achieve great things.

Thanks to NMDOT and their contractor Kiewit of New Mexico for doing an outstanding job constructing this project on time and on budget.

Thanks also to Mike Riordan, my new COO, and his city team at our Department of Municipal Development for their efforts to make this project happen.

As I mentioned in my opening remarks - we are gathered in Albuquerque's newly renovated Convention Center.

We have just re-created what was described as a brutalistic architectural style, and converted it into a contemporary territory design that both looks and feels like Albuquerque, New Mexico.

And we did it without a tax increase by taking existing high interest rate debt and converting it to lower interest rates on behalf of the taxpayers.

And there is already evidence that these renovations are paying off.

According to ACVB we have already seen an increase of 65 percent to our convention center business.

That equates to a value of $83.6 million into our local economy - just in fiscal year 2014!

This project was designed and built locally.

Thanks to Dekker/Parich/Sabatini & Bill Sabatini for your visionary design and to local construction companies Gerald Martin and Bradbury Stamm for your craftsmanship.

Another significant project for our community is the new library being built at Central and Unser on Albuquerque's growing Westside.

This is our first new library in 15 years, and when completed in the Spring of 2015 will provide an important anchor for the Southwest Mesa.

This will be our largest library, and will be the template upon which we build new spaces for our libraries in the future.

Once completed, I envision expanding the resources available at the library to include connections to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the programs we are putting together in our city to help people become more economically mobile.

Next year will also see the beginning of construction on the 50 mile activity loop.

This project will encompass the entire Albuquerque region and will connect many of our cultural, historical, entertainment, and economic amenities into one-trail system that can be used by hikers, runners and cyclists.

The first connector segment will be built between Nob Hill and Uptown.

I am excited about seeing this project come to life, both as a great local amenity and as a magnet for health-conscious tourism in our city.

It will only further our national reputation as a great city for biking - as we were most recently named among Bicycling Magazine's top biking cities in the nation.

We also need to take care of our great existing assets, including the Albuquerque BioPark - one of the most highly visited venues in our state.

This year, we completed a new master plan for the BioPark, including the zoo that has not had a formal master plan since the 1970s.

This is a long-term roadmap to ensure that the BioPark continues to be a wonderful place for our citizens and visitors.

Next year will also see the beginnings of a new effort to protect our beautiful Bosque while making it more accessible and sustainable in the future.

A report was just released by a nationally-recognized environmental consultant who concluded that the proposed improvements will improve the environmental conditions of the Bosque.

The proposed investments will also be in alignment with the recommendations of several key existing natural resource management plans, such as the existing Bosque Action Plan.

And while I'm on the topic of protecting and enhancing our environmental treasures, I want to thank the citizens of Albuquerque for helping us take our recycling efforts to the next level.

In just the last year, we have taken the percentage of our solid waste stream that is recycled from 5 percent to over 20 percent through our innovative public-private partnership and new recycling facility.

But we can do even better.

If we as a community were able to recycle an additional 2 pounds per household per week next year, the impact would lead to an additional $350,000 in profit-sharing with our public sector partners while extending the life of our landfill.

That's a goal we can all meet - so let's all start using those blue bins.

A strong, reliable, multimodal public transportation system is a key element to any thriving city, and next year will be an important year for the future of transportation and economic development in Albuquerque.

We are currently in the planning stages for a new Bus Rapid Transit line on Central Avenue that will eventually reach all the way from Tramway to 98th St. on the Westside.

Last year, we broke all previous records with more than 13 million transit rides, and it's time for our city to take the next logical steps in enhancing our transportation system, just like we have by building Paseo & I-25.

We are calling this new Bus Rapid Transit line ART - for Albuquerque Rapid Transit, while sticking with the theme associated with our billion-dollar arts and cultural economy.

There are many local meetings ongoing in regard to ART and we invite you to participate. We want your feedback.

If we can put together $30 million in local, state, MRCOG and other funding sources we could possibly leverage that into a $50 - $70 million dollar federal match, creating up to $100 million in local transportation investments.

I have personally met with federal officials at FTA to advocate for Albuquerque receiving these funds, and will continue to do so as we move along in the process.

All of these projects are examples of leveraging smart public sector investments into robust private sector investments.

And many of these investments are starting to happen in the core of our city, our downtown.

As with all great cities, we must have a strong downtown - and our concentrated efforts to revitalize our urban core are gaining a lot of momentum.

In just the last year, UNM has purchased the old First Baptist Church site for their Innovate ABQ project. The 7 acre site sits right in the heart of our new Innovation District – called INNOVATION CENTRAL.

CNM has also come downtown in a big way, with their new STEMulus center, that includes their coding academy, PNM pop-up pavilion, and 3-D printing lab.

With our new agreement with our master developer, and with the conversion of the old blacksmith shop to one of the most interesting public spaces in the city, the Railyards is also a key component of INNOVATION CENTRAL.

Coupled with these public-sector investments, we will soon see a new grocery store downtown as well.

This will be a key component to making Albuquerque's downtown great place to live, work, and play.

This budding transformation of downtown is part of a larger vision to create Innovation Central.

Innovation Central is an approximate 1-mile radius surrounding the First Baptist site.

The district will create a beehive of activity, connecting leading-edge research institutions like UNM and CNM with entrepreneurs, artists and other integral players for a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The goal is to bring together those who research and invent with those who can bring the idea to market.

This can only be achieved if we successfully create the collisions that only happened by proximity.

When smart and talented people get together, good things happen.

Take a look at this short video that explains the vision of the district.

Like our city - the future of Downtown Albuquerque is bright, and we are seeing results faster than I even imagined.

Thanks to Gary Oppadahl and my entire team at Economic Development for all they are doing to foster our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

And the excitement about downtown is contagious

Today I'm thrilled to announce that we have one of our great corporate citizens who is going to join us in the core of our city.

Molina Healthcare has just made a commitment to bring their headquarters and 650 employees downtown.

Molina Healthcare is a pillar in our community, and I am thrilled to welcome them Downtown.

A special thanks to Kim Hedrick and Tony Martinez – who are here with us today – from Molina Healthcare for believing in our vision for downtown and making this significant investment in the core of our city.

I invite all of you to join us in our revitalization of downtown through your ideas, your vision, and your investment.

As important as the built environment is for both our city and our downtown, the real magic happens when people are engaged, connected and educated.

This is why opportunities are as important as buildings, and why I believe the next few years will be a time of renaissance in our city.

And I believe this because we have some world-class partners that we are working with to provide opportunities for folks in Albuquerque.

Last year, we were selected by Living Cities as one of five communities in our country to participate in a long-term investment from 22 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions.

The goal of Albuquerque's Integration Initiative is focused on accelerating job creation and economic mobility through innovation and entrepreneurship.

Our partners at Living Cities will be integral in helping us reach our full potential as a place to live, work, and raise a family.

To do this we plan to capitalize on our inherent entrepreneurial energy to cultivate a "Grow our Own" philosophy, using entrepreneurship, small business creation and commercialization of research.

We know that Albuquerque has unrivaled human talent and that we are a city and people worth investing in.

We also know that our economy is overly dependent on government jobs.

We know how important it is to create new private sector jobs to reduce her level of reliance on the government, and to do this we must bolster a philosophy of entrepreneurs in our city.

To do this, we are creating a city where entrepreneurship is valued and supported.

My role as Mayor is to look at what government can do to set the table by removing barriers and creating the best conditions for success across the board.

Our role is to keep people safe and help them succeed - which is exactly what the Integration Initiative is all about.

From deep dive discussions with small businesses to productive collaborations with clients from WESST, Accion, the South Valley Economic Development and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, we are crafting plans to help people become more economically mobile.

Last month, we hosted over 50 community conversations and engaged with more than 1500 people from very diverse backgrounds in the city-wide conversation about prosperity.

That data will be analyzed at UNM and by the end of the year we will have a prosperity scorecard that will be used to measure our progress in meeting the shared vision for prosperity our great city.

And we already have a great start, with groundbreaking initiatives like;

ABQid, our accelerator that identifies entrepreneurs, validates the existence of a market for their ideas, and helps them to assess the viability of their plan.

Entrepreneurial Office Hours; where seasoned, successful entrepreneurs offer their time to prospective startups to come get advice, direction, and mentorship as they navigate the entrepreneurial process.

LeadermatchABQ.com, our platform for interested community leaders to engage with our entrepreneurial community by matching them with opportunities

US Sourcelink - our collaborative initiative designed to connect entrepreneurs to a wealth of business assistance programs.

CNMs Entrepreneurial Training - I have committed to sending 100 of my city employees to develop their entrepreneurial skill sets and bring value to the taxpayers through government innovation. CNM has also received commitments from 20 local businesses who will be sending a group of their employees to receive this training, and CNM is also offering this program in Spanish in the spring. This is a huge step forward changing the way our community thinks about entrepreneurism, and I thank CNM for their support and leadership. The forward-looking companies who have signed up are listed on the slide behind me – Please join them in this great effort.

Microsoft DigiCamps and Biz Spark – as part of Albuquerque's digital alliance with Microsoft, we hosted summer camps for students to learn more about careers in the tech industry, and are offering resources to entrepreneurs to help them get their ideas off the ground. We have representatives from Microsoft here with us today – Keith Mazzuco, Michael Palermo, Holly Mussmann, and Celeste Alleyne – please stand and be recognized. Thank you for your commitment to our city!

A complete listing of these initiatives can be found in the pamphlets on your tables.

Cinco Amigos – just raised over $100,000 to also help with this effort

With partners like CNM, Fat Pipe Incubator, WESST, and Levitated, we are leveraging innovation and an exciting entrepreneurial infrastructure right at the heart of Innovation Central, and we are changing the landscape of downtown – both physically and psychologically.

Albuquerque is also incredibly lucky to have the Kauffman Foundation investing in our city.

The Kauffman Foundation, among the largest private foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2 billion, is committed to exploring how to unlock the considerable assets that exist in Albuquerque's entrepreneurial ecosystem, allowing the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of the city to produce and grow new firms.

We have started with programs like 1 Million Cups, that we invite you to visit each Wednesday morning at 9:30 at the Fat Pipe Incubator Downtown.

These meetings highlight two existing companies each week, who present their business model to the community.

By having 1 Million Cups, we are joining 49 other cities across the nation – and we are the first in the nation to host a 1 Million Cups in Spanish – this Wednesday at the South Valley Economic Development Center.

We are thrilled to have Kauffman's leadership and investment in Albuquerque.

Today, my good friend Jonathan Robinson and his colleague Rachel Carlton have flown in from Kansas City to be with us.

Would you please join me in welcoming the Kauffman Foundation to Albuquerque!

And it just keeps getting better!

Today we have representatives from Code for America who have joined us all the way from San Francisco and Kansas City.

Albuquerque has been selected as one of seven US cities for the competitive Code for America Fellowship.

The Fellowship program strengthens key capabilities within local government by using technology to solve community issues.

Over the past four years, the Fellowship program has produced more than 55 web applications with 30 municipal governments and 103 fellows.

We welcome Code for America, including the leadership team of Nicole Neditch, Jack Maidens, Garrett Jacobs and Luke Norris to Albuquerque !

And there's more!

For a long time we have recognized that Albuquerque can and should be a global leader in water and energy technology.

Today I am happy to announce that we have a commitment from Village Capital to bring their water and energy-focused accelerator program to Albuquerque.

Through our local partners Pat Vincent-Collawn with PNM, Gary Goodman, Dale Dekker, and Bob Fienberg we have raised $40,000 in local capital that will be matched by the Kauffman Foundation to bring Village Capital to Albuquerque.

This significant commitment will distinguish Albuquerque as a center of water and energy excellence in our nation.

Today we have Alex Fife from Village Capital with us.

Alex would you please stand up and be recognized.

Here is a short video to tell you more about Village Capital.

This year we have added a number of great corporate partners who are bringing jobs to Albuquerque and investing in our city.

I would like to thank the following companies for believing in our city and our workforce.

  • Cannon ITS
  • Prime Theraputics
  • Flagship Food Group
  • And Comcast for their 450 new jobs in our city

Let's give them all a big warm welcome.

Thanks to Gary Tonjes, his staff and the Board of AED for your commitment to bring these and other great jobs to our city.

And we are expanding our vision beyond the borders of our state and our country.

Just this year, in conjunction with UNM and the State of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque opened a trade office in Mexico City.

Our team will be working with New Mexico companies interested in finding customers, partners or distributors throughout Mexico in order to expand our local market internationally.

Is clear our efforts are paying off, as Albuquerque was just listed as one of America's best cities for global trade, in this month's edition of Global Trade Magazine.

And my State of the City speech today kicks off Albuquerque's inaugural Global Entrepreneurship Week, making our city one of only six focus cities in the nation to host this event.

On your table our calendars with all of the 30+ great events occurring this week, and I want to personally encourage you all to participate by sharing these opportunities with your social networks - @GEWabq and #GEW2014.

Check out an event this Thursday at 5:30 at UNM's Science and Tech Park located at 800 Bradbury Southeast.

We're hosting a world-renowned master of the pitch Nathan Gold.

He will presenting his talk called, "How to Captivate Any Audience and 30 Seconds" - I know you're thinking to yourself, if I was the mayor I would've taken this class prior to writing a 45 min. State of the City speech!

I hope to join you at this event -and maybe next year State of the City will be shorter.

From our built environment to programs designed to enhance the human experience - we have all the pieces in place to foster entrepreneurship in our city.

Now is time to start spreading the word and creating the buzz and vibe that we are truly the best city in the nation for entrepreneurs.

Hopefully you've seen the theme throughout the speech- that we are garnering the attention of national movers and shakers – so let's keep telling our story.

Let's grab the positive headlines and elevate our city's profile as a world-class place.

A special thank you to my wonderful, dedicated, and diverse team in the Mayor's office.

To my CAO; Rob Perry, my Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano, My COO Mike Riordan, Robin Brule, Frank Mirabal, Gary Oppedahl, Alan Armijo, Delaney Woodward, Breanna Anderson and all our hard working - Directors and staff – please stand up and be recognized for the great work you are doing on behalf of Albuquerque's citizens!

I'm honored and humbled to be your Mayor, and I look forward to the future of our great city.

Thank you for taking the time to be here today.

I know all of you have lots of demands and your time.

A special thank you to our invaluable community partners, our elected officials, and the volunteer community- and so many others who make our city the special place that it is.

I appreciate your commitment to the future of our city and for being here today.

Your energy is the fuel that keeps me going as your Mayor.

Have a great holiday season and I wish you and yours a healthy, prosperous and joyful new year!

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