As New Mexicans Struggle, Sen. Heinrich is Proud of Nuclear Weapons Money

Sen. Heinrich is so proud of all of the nuclear weapons money in New Mexico. He is one of the chief congressional architects of expanded production of plutonium “pit” bomb cores and sits on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee from where he can direct $$billions to the Sandia and Los Alamos Labs.

But during the Department of Energy’s long presence in the Land of Enchantment, according to Census Bureau data New Mexico has slid in per capita income from 32nd in 1959 to 47th in 2022. New Mexico has the most children living in poverty (30%) and is rated dead last in well-being of children and quality of public education. Finally, in a report that the Los Alamos Lab tried to suppress, six county governments surrounding Los Alamos County suffer a net economic loss from LANL.

In fiscal year 2024 DOE will spend $10 billion in New Mexico, 75% for core nuclear weapons research and production programs and 5% for dumping related radioactive wastes in our state. DOE’s budget is 6% greater than the entire operating budget of the State of New Mexico ($9.4 billion).

Senator Heinrich, please explain what good all that nuclear weapons money does for average New Mexicans, and not just for the privileged nuclear weapons enclaves.

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January 12, 2024

Dear Friend,

I am extremely proud of how much we’ve been able to grow the workforce and economic impact of Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs since I started in the Senate.

According to the recently published annual economic impact report, Sandia added more than 1,200 employees last year and ended the year with more than 16,700 employees.

To put that in perspective, that’s more than double the 8,000 people employed by Sandia in New Mexico the year before Pete Domenici retired from the U.S. Senate.

Sandia’s economic impact in our state is massive. Last year, Sandia reported an all-time high economic impact of nearly $5 billion, a more than $559 million increase from the year before. That included more than $1 billion in subcontracts with small businesses that provide key components to support Sandia’s missions. Nearly half of those went to New Mexico small businesses.

You can read more details about Sandia’s all-time high economic impact in the Albuquerque Journal story below.

Throughout my time in the Senate, I have worked to maintain and grow New Mexico’s national security and scientific research contributions. I have worked equally hard to prepare our military installations, national labs, and private industry innovators to excel in the emerging fields that will remain vital well into the future.

As your senator and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am focused on delivering the forward-looking investments that New Mexico deserves to maintain our economic competitiveness and grow our leadership in innovation.


United States Senator

Sandia 2023 economic impact soars to new heights

By Ryan Boetel / Journal Business Editor

Jan 11, 2024

Sandia National Laboratories economic impact in the 2023 fiscal year increased by more than half a million dollars from the year before, reaching an all-time high.

The national lab located on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque reported nearly $4.8 billion in economic impact in 2023, which was $559 million more than in 2022.

The spending includes labor and nonsubcontract-related payments, subcontractor payments, corporate taxes, technical assistance provided and procurement purchases at the labs, whose primary mission is nuclear deterrence. The lab is responsible for non-nuclear components and system integration of the country’s nuclear weapons.

Highlights of the labs’ economic impact report included adding 1,200 jobs and paying $114 million in gross receipts taxes to the state. Sandia spent $1 billion to contract with small businesses.

The information was included in an annual economic impact brochure that the labs publishes.

“For more than seven decades, Sandia Labs’ dedication to outstanding service has significantly contributed to the national good,” labs Director James Peery said in a statement. “Our collaboration with a wide range of suppliers has been crucial to our achievements. Engaging with small businesses fuels creativity, creates jobs and introduces advancements that enhance the quality of life.”

Sandia’s footprint extends beyond Albuquerque. The lab ended the 2023 fiscal year with 16,700 employees.

The labs in 2023 moved to a permanent hybrid workforce. Sandia now has nearly 2,000 full-time telecommuters, 1,000 part-time telecommuters and 1,600 remote workers who are spread across the country.

Lab officials said that flexibility allowed Sandia to better recruit new workers.

“At Sandia, we have capabilities not found anywhere else in the world,” Brian Carter, chief human resources officer, said in a statement. “Ensuring we can provide those unique capabilities and deliver on our critical missions means hiring the best and brightest in their fields.”

Small business contracts

Lab officials emphasize Sandia’s work with small businesses, which account for about 2/3 of Sandia suppliers.

Of the nearly $1.1 billion in subcontract payments Sandia made in 2023 to small businesses, about $480 million went to New Mexico small businesses.

Those companies do things like building construction, providing office supplies and engineering work.

The labs also provide technical assistance to small businesses. Through a New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program, Sandia provided $2.4 million in technical assistance to 120 small businesses in the state.

One such company, Voss Scientific, which is based in Albuquerque, received help from Sandia to develop a nanotech-optic that Voss needed while developing a new type of laser system.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and the capabilities they offer are vital to our national security mission,” Zach Mikelson, Sandia’s small business program manager, said in a statement. “Sandia continues to be committed to small businesses both nationally and here in New Mexico. The partnership between Sandia and small businesses strengthens our community and ensures support for Sandia’s mission for years to come.”

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