ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — It's longer than a football field and nearly 8,000 tons.
The $2 billion USS New Mexico is far from small, but one state lawmaker thinks the state-of-the-art nuclear-powered submarine needs a little more attention in the state it's named after.
Rep. Thomas Anderson (R - Albuquerque) is proposing spending up to $50,000 on educating the public about the USS New Mexico's mission and bringing sailors to visit the ship's namesake every three months.
"The purpose of the bill is to raise the awareness of the citizens of the state of NM about the importance of the ship that they have named after the state," said Anderson, a retired naval engineer. "This is one of the newest, most capable ships in the world."
The Virginia-class submarine was christened in 2008 and commissioned in 2010 and is now based in Groton, Connecticut at the Naval Submarine Base New London.
The USS New Mexico hasn't been ignored since it's existed. The submarine does have its own support page and four sailors visited the ship's namesake this past October.
Anderson thinks the state can do more and $50,000 is the least the state should pay.
" Actually I think it's sort of a compromise," Anderson said. "I think we should probably put more money into it."
The money would also support a sailor of the year award.
Lawmakers have tried twice since the ship's christening to get money to support awareness campaigns in New Mexico. A $50,000 request in 2009 failed to make it out of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. An effort to spend $25,000 in support of the submarine during the 2012 session died in the Senate Finance Committee as well.
A $200,000 request in 2008 that would've helped teach the crew about New Mexico and support key ceremonies during the ship's construction failed to make it out of committee.
The USS New Mexico is the second naval ship named after the Land of Enchantment. The first USS New Mexico was a battleship commissioned in 1918 that played a major role in World War II before it was decommissioned in 1946 and scrapped a year after that.
There are two other active Navy submarines named for New Mexico cities. The USS Santa Fe is based out of Pearl Harbor. The USS Albuquerque is based out of San Diego.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.