ESPAÑOLA — Santa Fe District Attorney Marco Serna says he wants to continue fighting the opioid epidemic that plagues northern New Mexico, but now in Congress.
The prosecutor spoke to a small crowd gathered outside his mother’s jewelry shop, Alicia Fine Jewelers, in Española Thursday morning as he officially announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Serna, who has been the district attorney for Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties since the start of 2017, said he wants to continue providing alternatives to non-violent drug offenders.
“We’re ground zero for the opioid epidemic,” Serna said. “I recognize that when we prosecute these individuals, we were doing it the wrong way.”
And Serna proclaimed that he supports impeaching President Donald Trump. “No one is above the law, not even our current president,” he said.
In northern New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, Serna is vying to replace current Democratic U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján of Nambé, who is running for U.S. Senate in the 2020 elections.
Serna said he chose the family shop for his announcement to highlight small businesses, for which he says he wants to support tax breaks in Congress.
“Small business is a huge issue in this race,” Serna said. “Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, especially in rural New Mexico.”
Serna also said he wants to encourage more funding for Los Alamos National Laboratory and bring clean energy jobs to northern New Mexico. “We would not only be able to create jobs and businesses in northern New Mexico, but they would be sustainable businesses,” Serna said.
Serna is expected to face questions about at least one issue from his tenure as district attorney. In June 2018, a District Court judge dismissed the case against accused murderer Robert Mondrian-Powell, saying his speedy trial rights were violated by prosecution delays caused by “institutional problems,” including high turnover among prosecutors, at the Santa Fe DA’s Office. The case is now at the state Court of Appeals.
Serna told the Journal by phone Wednesday that he doesn’t feel that case will hurt his candidacy. “We’ve appealed that case, and I’m looking forward to getting a decision from the Supreme Court,” Serna said. “We believe the law is on our side in regards to this appeal.”
Five other Democrats and a Republican have filed to be candidates for the 3rd Congressional District seat next year.