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Belen business owner seeks legislative seat

Paul Baca

SANTA FE — A second Democrat is entering the race to challenge Sen. Greg Baca in a district that covers parts of Valencia and Bernalillo counties.

Belen business owner Paul A. Baca announced his campaign this week and is set to compete for the Democratic nomination against Dick Wilkinson, the chief information security officer for the state court system.

Paul Baca said he has deep roots in the district and can trace his family in the area back 400 years. He isn’t related to Greg Baca, the incumbent senator.

Baca is president and CEO of the Valley Improvement Association, a land and homeowners association that manages 61,000 acres in Valencia County. He also owns Young Baca’s convenience store, restaurant and gas station in Belen.

Baca, 54, said he has a good understanding of the community and would work to ensure adequate funding for schools and police. Promoting economic development and bringing high-paying jobs to the area are also priorities, he said.

He said he sees firsthand the struggle of working mothers collecting their change to pay for gas so they can make it to work.

“We need to think creatively,” Baca said. “There are people out there who have some real needs.”

The district is now represented by Republican Greg Baca, a lawyer and Gulf War veteran. He is seeking re-election.

All 112 seats in the New Mexico Legislature will be on the ballot next year. Democrats now hold strong majorities in both chambers.

Senators serve four-year terms.

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