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Editorial: Journal Selections For New Mexico House

FOR THE RECORD: Incorrect information was included in the Journal’s endorsement of the candidacy of Thomas Anderson, the Republican candidate for state House District 29. Anderson was a commanding general in the New Mexico State Guard, not the National Guard.

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

District 27 — Lorenzo “Larry” A. Larrañaga

Larry Larrañaga, a native New Mexican, has represented his Northeast Heights district since 1995. A rancher by upbringing and a civil engineer by education, Larrañaga is the longest-serving Hispanic Republican in the chamber and has served on almost every committee. He says the economy and jobs are at the top of his constituents’ concerns, along with education reform and repealing drivers licenses for illegal immigrants.

Larrañaga supports third-grade retention with an emphasis on early intervention and teacher evaluations based on student advancement, and says it is important these reforms be codified in statute so they are taken seriously for the long term.

Larrañaga has experience and pragmatism invaluable to the Legislature.

The Journal recommends voters keep Larry Larrañaga as representative for House District 27.

District 29 —Thomas Anthony Anderson

Thomas Anderson is seeking re-election to House District 29, an Albuquerque seat he has held since 2003. He is a member of the Consumer and Public Affairs and Voters and Elections committees.

A Republican, Anderson wants to cut government spending to keep the budget balanced and believes tax breaks and less red tape can encourage the private sector to create jobs. He believes the state should grant limited liability immunity for Spaceport America parts manufacturers and suppliers as it does to Virgin Galactic.

Anderson is a retired U.S. Navy naval ordnance engineer, and was a commanding general with the New Mexico State Guard and a stockbroker. He says the top issue in his district is the Paseo-I-25 project. He has fought for funding for West Side roads, new schools, fire stations and parks.

The Journal endorses Thomas Anderson for House District 29.

District 30 — Nate Gentry

Nate Gentry is part of the group of 11 Republicans first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2010, giving his party a greater presence in the Democrat-dominated body. Even as a freshman legislator he had an impact on a variety of important issues ranging from water, transparency, corruption and fireworks — sometimes successfully reaching across the aisle.

Gentry says he opposes issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants because it’s a bad policy that has made New Mexico a jumping off point for people seeking fraudulent identification. “It has nothing to do with race,” he says.

A lawyer in private practice with a law degree from the University of New Mexico, Gentry is a good fit for his middle Northeast Heights district.

The Journal recommends District 30 voters return Nate Gentry to the House.

District 31 — William R. Rehm

Bill Rehm wants to return to the Legislature to continue work he has started and to help the governor with initiatives like repealing New Mexico’s law that provides licenses to illegal immigrants.

Rehm, a Republican who represents part of the Far Northeast Heights, was a co-sponsor of a compromise bill repealing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants that would issue driving permits instead. A retired sheriff’s captain, he has fought for a law on drugged driving and tried to tighten the statute of limitations on second-degree murder.

Rehm also has introduced legislation to keep state agencies from giving “golden parachutes” to high-salaried employees who quit or are fired for cause unless a contract is in effect for six months stating otherwise.

The Journal recommends District 31 voters send Bill Rehm back to Santa Fe.

District 68 — Monica C. Youngblood

Monica Youngblood is a small-business owner and a mother who brings the pragmatism endemic to both to her campaign for Albuquerque’s new House seat on the West Side.

Youngblood graduated from Rio Grande High School and says she likely would have gone on to college if there had been higher expectations for a Hispanic teen. But working since she was 14 gave her the drive to start her own real estate business with just $164 in the bank. Her life lessons inform her stances. She says “teachers don’t want to be measured but parents want accountability.” And “social promotion hurts students and communities.”

Youngblood, a Republican, says the state needs to “be open for business” and ensure those already located here aren’t leaving because surrounding states have more competitive incentives and tax structures. And that capital outlay should be reserved for game-changing projects because “we can’t put basketballs and gym equipment on the credit card.”

The Journal recommends voters select Monica Youngblood to represent House District 68.

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.