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Sequel possible in East Mountains race

SANTA FE — Voters in the East Mountains could be in for a rematch of one of the closest legislative races of 2018.

Democrat Jessica Velasquez, a small-business owner and former teacher, has announced plans to run again in the district now held by Republican Rep. Gregg Schmedes, who won the seat by less than one percentage point last year.

The district covers much of the East Mountains and part of the Interstate 25 corridor just north of Albuquerque. It includes parts or all of San Felipe Pueblo, Algodones and Placitas.

Velasquez, who lives in Sandia Park, said she would push to improve rural internet access, protect water resources and bolster readiness to combat forest fires. Her background as a classroom teacher, she said, also gives her first-hand insight into the importance of improving New Mexico’s education system.

“I’m absolutely, deeply committed to our East Mountains communities,” she said. “It’s an incredibly diverse district.”

Velasquez and her husband own an electroplating company that works with precious metals.

Schmedes, a surgeon from Tijeras, has represented House District 22 since mid-2018.

He defeated Velasquez by 140 votes in the general election.

Democrats hold a 46-24 majority in the House and a 26-16 edge in the Senate.

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