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Sandoval Treasurer Laura Montoya enters 3rd CD race

SANTA FE – Laura Montoya, the Sandoval County treasurer, has jumped into the crowded Democratic race for the 3rd Congressional District’s U.S. House seat.

Laura Montoya

“I will demand improved educational outcomes, fight regressive tax policies and protect our land and water so we can secure the future for our next generation,” she said in her Tuesday announcement.

Montoya, 41, was first elected county treasurer in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. She also has worked in constituent services for former U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and in the state Treasurer’s Office under former Treasurer Doug Brown.

Montoya is native of Las Vegas, N.M., where she graduated from Robertson High School and got her bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Public Affairs from New Mexico Highlands University.

The other Democrats in the race are District Attorney Marco Serna, attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez, former CIA operative and author Valerie Plame, and consultant and longtime government official Rob Apodaca, all of Santa Fe; state Rep. Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde; and Gavin Kaiser of Santa Cruz.

Republican Brett Kokinadis is also running in the heavily Democratic 3rd CD.

Asked about joining a race with other strong female candidates, Montoya said, “On my end, being from northern New Mexico and understanding our values and beliefs, and how we respect our cultural and traditional values is really important. I have a record of proven results for New Mexicans and I think that’s the difference.”

She noted she’s also been elected twice in Sandoval County, the state’s fastest growing and with a diverse population that includes Rio Rancho, rural communities and tribes. Montoya also has served as legislative chair for the state organization of county treasurers for six legislative sessions.

The 3rd District House seat is now held by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate next year. The district includes most of the northern half of New Mexico.