State Public Bank, a Tool for a Just Transition & Revitalized Rural NM

A State Public Bank has immense potential to accelerate and expand NM’s just transition, the revitalization of rural economies, and the construction of robust infrastructure. The North Dakota Public Bank has provided immense benefit to that state, where during the last recession, ND experienced the lowest foreclosure rate in the nation, and after the devastation of the Red River flood, ND communities recovered within 18 months, while neighboring Minnesota communities impacted by the flood continued to struggle 15 years after the flood. Yet, disingenuous opposition, largely funded by Wall St. banks and fueled by misinformation, offer significant impediments to achieving a NM State Public Bank. Fortunately, the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity has a plan to counter this misinformation and you can help.

Before we dive into the call to action on Public Banking, an update from Rep. Andrea Romero’s campaign. From Sascha, her campaign manager:

There is a new phone bank link here to use when making calls for Andrea. (You’ll need to set up a Virtual Phone Bank account at that link.) If you feel like you need to brush up a little on her priorities and background prior to your calls, you can find priorities and accomplishments here and background here. Because of redistricting, some people may not know they are in her district — you can find out more about the boundaries here. Please reach out with any questions that come up, or any follow-up that is needed, and we’ll be sure it gets taken care of. This is easier than recording in the notes section on the phone bank. My phone number is 917-399-6786.

Andrea faces a formidable opponent and with a redrawn boundary many new voters who may not know her, so she needs help with canvassing and calls. We need her vote for a public bank, public power, health security, and whatever meaningful gun violence prevention legislation is introduced in 2023.

State Public Bank: A Tool for a Just Transition
& a Revitalized Rural NM

I want to share with you what Roxanne and I heard last week while attending an inspiring meeting of Public Bank supporters sponsored and hosted by the Lannan Foundation and facilitated by leaders from the Alliance For Local Economic Prosperity (AFLEP), the NM-based non-profit behind the state public banking effort. For almost ten years, AFLEP has been working hard to move public banking from an interesting concept to an operating entity. If approved, a State Public Bank would use its lending power to maximize state and local resources to move critically needed infrastructure, small business development and sustainable economic development from a promise to a reality.

If you missed Friday’s post, it describes an array of local sustainability and community wealth building strategies designed to build local community resilience. Every single one of those strategies would be much easier to launch with a State Public Bank. I highly recommend reading it after you get done with today’s post, as it offers a clear picture of the kinds of strategies Retake will be researching and advancing locally and in the state legislature. In a pretty grim time, it offers a ray of hope and a policy agenda that is both impactful and achievable. As described in the post, a State Public Bank could feature prominently in efforts to realize those possibilities.

At the AFLEP gathering we heard how a State Public Bank could:

  • revitalize rural economies and their small business communities;
  • help build up food manufacturing and processing in NM, so that food produced in NM stays in NM, and build on that work to create sustainable local food systems;
  • be a powerful force in helping rebuild communities devastated by firestorms, this spring. We heard about how the public bank in North Dakota accelerated the recovery of Fork River after a devastating 1995 Red River flood in that community. We heard how the Bank of ND sprang into action and how BND was instrumental in rebuilding Fork River in just 18 months, while on the other side of the river, in Minnesota, after 15 years the town of East Fork River is yet to be rebuilt. A NM Public Bank could be an accelerator in rebuilding communities devastated by this spring’s fires and the fires certain to come.

To read more about what a public bank would be and how it could accelerate and expand a wide range of infrastructure and local economic development efforts, click here. The link will take you to AFLEP’s website and their “case statement,” a concise explanation of the purpose and potential of a State Public Bank along with case studies for how public banking has worked in other communities.

Frankly, we feel that there are four HUGE bills that will be considered in the 2023 legislative session that have the potential to generate meaningful systems change:

  1. Public Power;
  2. Health Security;
  3. Public Bank; and
  4. Meaningful gun violence prevention

As for the public bank initiative, we heard how AFLEP leadership, their donors and their allies have initiated a statewide outreach and education campaign to build greater understanding among community stakeholders and legislators of what a public bank is and what it can help NM accomplish. AFLEP leadership told us that to fully activate that campaign they need donations to expand their staffing, to develop educational materials, and to cover travel expenses. Part of that outreach plan is to hold community conversations with legislators, stakeholders, and advocates throughout the summer, throughout the State.

Three AFLEP donors have agreed to match up to $25,000 in donations, and to further incentivize you, Retake will match the first $1,000 donations from our supporters. Meaning if you act quickly and donate $100, Retake will match that $100, creating a $200 donation to be matched by AFLEP donors. So a $100 donation, matched twice becomes a $400 donation, a $250 donation becomes $1,000 donation, etc.

Please use this link to get to AFLEP’s case statement page. It also hosts a donate button where you can make a contribution. Once you’ve made your donation, email us at and let us know how much you’ve donated and we will match it dollar for dollar.

Let’s do this. It takes resources and funding to advance bold, new concepts like a Public Bank. Let’s all pull together to help them secure the resources to pass State Public Bank legislation in 2023.

In solidarity & hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Economic Justice, Community & Economic Development

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1 reply

  1. Paul,
    I have to wonder why you support a candidate who is filling my mailbox with negative mailers. I may have lost count but I think it is three so far, with two financed by her campaign. In the elections for County Commissioner and House of Representative, there are six candidates with three negative mailers for
    Andrea and zero for the other five added together.. Yes, you are right, Henry Roybal is a “formidable opponent” and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet with an incredible record of public and community service. He does not deserve to have his reputation savaged by lavishly financed stream of negative mailers.
    Best wishes,

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