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Garcia: Why I withdrew from legislative race

My desire to run for New Mexico Senate was motivated by my lifelong passion for championing public education and child well-being, and a strong response to the Yazzie/Martinez decision to sufficiently fund public education. I was further driven by my concern that a constitutional amendment has been consistently blocked in the Senate for several years. That amendment would have let the voters of New Mexico decide if they want to allocate a fractional portion of the Land Grant Permanent Fund to support early childhood education. Think of the children that have lost an opportunity to have been better prepared to enter kindergarten and are still falling behind.

Lastly, I am appalled that only nine women serve in the Senate out of 42 senators. Women should have equal representation in the New Mexico Legislature.

I have been so moved by those who have encouraged and supported my decision to run. It is evident that there is a definite need for more voices in the Legislature with on-the-ground experience in educational leadership, and who can expertly advocate for the needs of our teachers and students. So, now, it is with sadness that I’m withdrawing my candidacy for public office.

Let me be clear, I’m not withdrawing my relentless career-long advocacy for public education, public school employees and child well-being.

While I believe my service in the Senate would benefit my Senate district, the Santa Fe Public Schools and the educational system in New Mexico, it has become abundantly clear to me that I do not have enough time for the business side of running a campaign in a competitive race while fulfilling my duties as superintendent of schools.

For many years, I’ve been directly involved in public policy and the legislative process. This is my first venture into the business side of politics and running a campaign. I’ve had very close experience working with the Legislature in my seven years as cabinet secretary of education and in subsequent roles, including superintendent of schools. I am confident from my hands-on experience that I would be an effective legislator without having to quit my job. To be clear, this isn’t something new; many legislators hold jobs, from running large law firms to teaching in classrooms.

This decision will not quiet my voice in support of New Mexico public education, our students and their families. I will continue to be a constant advocate for the children of New Mexico, as I have been for decades.

I extend my gratitude to all who encouraged and supported my candidacy.

Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica Garcia, who lives in Albuquerque, announced on Oct. 10 that she would run as a Democrat for the state Senate seat from Albuquerque’s District 21. She withdrew from the race on Thursday.


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