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Edgewood councilor joins race for Congress

SANTA FE – The mayor pro tem of Edgewood has launched a campaign to succeed Michelle Lujan Grisham in Congress, pushing the field of Democratic candidates to six.

John Abrams, 59, works as the manager of information systems at the University of New Mexico’s Valencia Campus.

John Abrams

He describes himself as a progressive who’s also fiscally conservative.

Abrams is a town councilor in Edgewood, where he’s also the mayor pro tem, meaning he fills in when the mayor is unavailable.

“I’ve got a lot of ideas,” he said. “I’ve been able to move things forward in Edgewood.”

One success, Abrams said, was obtaining a $410,000 federal stimulus grant to build a wind turbine to help power the Edgewood sewer system.

He is part of a crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District. Besides Abrams, the candidates include Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis; Albuquerque physicist Dennis Dinge; former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland; attorney Damian Lara, president of the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association; and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, former associated dean of the University of New Mexico Law School.

The race will be wide-open next year because Lujan Grisham plans to run for governor, not re-election to the U.S. House.

The district covers the Albuquerque area and part of central New Mexico.

Edgewood is a small town about 20 miles east of Albuquerque.

Abrams said that ensuring everyone has access to health care and addressing the financial burden of student loans are among his priorities.

“The Republican bill in Congress that’s made it to the Senate now is just atrocious,” Abrams said of GOP attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The primary election is in June next year. No Republicans have announced campaigns yet, though former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones said she plans to enter the race later this month.