Udall Promotes Local Small Businesses
Senator Tom Udall visited the Valley Thursday to meet with local small business owners and have conversations about raising the minimum wage, federal programs small businesses can take advantage of in the Valley, the Valles Caldera National Preserve, and Ohkay Owingeh’s new historical project.
Udall spoke with Angelina’s owner, Fidel Guiterrez about his decision to raise his hourly employees wages. Guiterrez mentioned having conversations with a majority of his regular customers about potentially increasing pay and the 15-20cent additional cost it would have on customers’ meals. According to Guiterrez, only a handful of customers objected, so he moved forward with the raise. Udall thanked Guiterrez for not waiting on the government to mandate an increase before he took action. In regards to why Guiterrez decided to be a trailblazer, Guiterrez noted, “People are hurting in Española. It doesn’t cost the business anything. It doesn’t hurt, it only helps.” With 40 people employed, Guiterrez acknowledges businesses like his raising the wage is only the first step. “They still need to make more money to compete,” commented Guiterrez.
(Sen. Udall and Angelina’s owner, Fidel Guiterrez-VDP Photo)
Along with visiting with community members dining at Angelina’s, Udall visited with Rio Arriba County Economic Development Director Chris Madrid and Assistant County Manager David Trujillo about pressing matters impacting to Rio Arriba County and the isues facing the Valley’s businesses that contract with LANL.
(Sen. Udall, Chris Madrid, and David Trujillo – VDP Photo)
Prior to stopping by Ohkay Owingeh to tour their new historical project, Udall visited the La Tierra Montessori School of the Arts and Sciences, to view recent improvements made by local small business, Avanyu, LLC. Udall was excited to hear about the advancements Avanyu, LLC has made in sustainable preservation on Pueblos and what struggles they have faced as a small business in Northern New Mexico.
(Avanyu LLC presenting to Sen. Udall and community members – VDP Photo)