Happy Birthday to you, J. Paul, on having reached this remarkable milestone of 100 years. I honor your longevity and the legacy of your long life … a treasure trove to the dear children of New Mexico and a gift to the State, knowing that “children are our future.” I have vivid memories of the first time I was privileged to join with you in advocacy.
You were the wise mentor/legislator and I the naïve intern in the Governor Carruthers administration. The Office of Child Development was born. Then came the Governor King administration and the creation of CYFD. He and Alice were warriors for the welfare of young children, you were the legislative champion and I a member of Alice King’s cadre. Together we worked, knowing that children are to be nurtured toward their full potential. Those were the halcyon days of laboring on behalf of early childhood. You were always there: wise, generous, kind, devoted and available for consult.
Then followed years of task forces, featured today by the J. Paul Taylor Early Childhood Task Force. Year after year there were repeated times that I picked up the phone to call you, J. Paul… you always listened respectfully, advised and spiced the conversation with humor. The last such conversation was two weeks ago.
I wish you the happiest of birthdays as you blow out the candles and re-ignite the spirits of all who wish you the best.