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Child-welfare advocate runs for legislative seat

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Jill Michel, candidate for state House

SANTA FE — Republican Jill Michel, a business owner and advocate for foster families, launched a campaign this week for a Northeast Albuquerque seat in the state House.

The district is now represented by Rep. Bill Pratt, a Democrat who doesn’t plan to seek re-election next year because of a physical impairment.

Michel is a founding member of the New Mexico Child First Network, a group that helps foster children and kids in state care. She owns a small photography business.

Michel has fostered hundreds of children, she said, and improving the lives of foster families is a key motivation behind her run. There simply aren’t enough services, she said, for children who need help with substance abuse or mental health care.

“I’m not a politician,” Michel said. “People would describe me 100% as a mom.”

Michel and her husband, Doug, are parents to eight children, five of whom they adopted through the state’s foster system.

House District 27 covers a chunk of the Northeast Heights, including neighborhoods along Academy NE.

Pratt, a physician, won the seat in 2018, but he said he is considering whether to leave office early because of his health. He doesn’t plan to run in 2020.

The district was once represented by Republican Larry Larrañaga, who served for nearly 24 years before his death in 2018.

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