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Editorial: Recommendations For N.M. House Dist. 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26

Here is the second of three installments of Journal endorsements for candidates in contested elections for the New Mexico House:

District 18 — Gail Chasey

Gail Chasey is running for re-election in House District 18, a seat she has held since 1997.

Chasey, a Democrat and practicing attorney and retired educator, currently is chairwoman of the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, and a member of the Judiciary and Rules and Order of Business and Courts Corrections and Justice Committees.

Chasey believes school reform is needed and having the best schools would be a huge economic development tool. She helped get a bill passed for pre-kindergarten programs and believes student progress should be a factor in teacher evaluations.

The Journal endorses Gail Chasey for House District 18.

District 19 — Erica J. Landry

Erica Landry says that two decades ago when she moved into this Southeast Heights district that includes the fairgrounds, it fulfilled a longtime dream. But the current crime and lack of redevelopment that now plague the area show it needs new — and real — leadership.

Landry, a Republican and the founder of a business incubator, would work to turn the State Fair into the year-round economic driver it should be. She would partner to bring small businesses, perhaps in construction, to the area to create a synergy like that embodied in the science-technology park. She would support education reforms including an end to social promotion so the school in her area, Highland High, graduates more students ready to join the workforce. Like the incumbent, Landry is African American.

The Journal recommends voters elect Erica Landry to help move House District 19 forward.

District 23 — Paul A. Pacheco

Paul Pacheco, a retired Albuquerque Police Department officer, is strong on crime issues and supports repealing the state law that provides driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. He argues that law enforcement needs to be able to track people, and the fraud rampant in the state program makes that impossible.

He is also strong on economic accountability and competitiveness, arguing the state should ensure it is getting its bang for the industry incentive bucks it hands out, as well as providing a competitive tax structure that encourages entrepreneurship.

Pacheco, a Republican, has lived on Albuquerque’s West Side since the early 1990s.

The Journal recommends voters select Paul Pacheco to represent House District 23.

District 24 — Conrad D. James

Conrad James has represented his mid-Heights district since 2010. In that time, three of his bills that have been signed into law have had a wide-reaching, positive impact on taxpayers and voters. One provides for the voting centers and ballot-on-demand process now used on Election Day so fewer provisional ballots are required and no ballots are overprinted. Another starts removing the unfair playing field of tax pyramiding from the manufacturing and construction industries. And another protects taxpayers and residents alike by updating the language regarding jail inspections.

James, a research engineer and scientist and a Republican, says he has a lot of work to finish — and his priorities include re-weighting the state’s taxation formula toward sales rather than payroll and property.

The Journal recommends voters keep Conrad James as representative for House District 24.

District 25 — Elisabeth L. Keen

Elisabeth Keen has lived in her mid-Heights district, which includes Winrock and Coronado malls, for 32 years, but her childhood of being raised overseas enriches her approach to education, economics and the law. A retired critical-care nurse and current computer system analyst, Keen says she is “struck by how adamant the status quo is” and how “they think everyone is picking on them” rather than advancing good ideas.

Keen, a Republican, would definitely take on the status quo. She says it is “a no-brainer to not just keep passing students.” That “there has to be a way to get rid of ineffective teachers.” That the law providing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants has not been repealed shows “how dysfunctional the Legislature is.”

The Journal recommends voters select Elisabeth Keen to represent House District 25.

District 26 — Georgene Louis

Democrat Georgene Louis is a newcomer to politics and is seeking to represent a West Side district that spans a space between Central and the Ladera area and the far West Side bordering on Isleta and Laguna pueblos. Louis is a native New Mexican and a member of the Pueblo of Acoma. She received her law degree from the University of New Mexico in 2004 and works in private practice. She says her experience as a lawyer has trained her to listen to people and conduct research to identify issues and set goals.

Louis says the biggest issue is “jobs, jobs, jobs” and she will work on attracting business while evaluating whether incentives are achieving the expected results.

The Journal recommends voters select Georgene Louis to represent House District 26.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.