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Editorial: Journal’s primary picks for Congress Districts 1 and 2

Today, the Journal announces its endorsements in contested primaries in U.S. House races for Districts 1 and 2.

District 1 GOP primary – Michelle Garcia Holmes

Garcia Holmes is a veteran of law enforcement with a focus on crimes against children and homicides. She worked for the Albuquerque Police Department for 20 years as an officer and detective, and she was chief of staff for former New Mexico Attorney General Gary King for eight years. Garcia Holmes says crime and poor education has persistently held the state back.

Her experience attacking money laundering and drug crime, and collaborating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement means she can hit the ground running. If elected, she says she would like to sit down with Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and discuss a compromise to the city’s sanctuary city policy, which recently prevented the city from receiving a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to combat crime.

Garcia Holmes also has reining in health care costs on her priority list, saying New Mexicans need clarity in billing and portability in coverage. And she believes in a balanced approach to energy, supporting the traditional fuels that pay the bills in New Mexico while capitalizing on wind and solar.

A former Democrat, Garcia Holmes says she’s ready to work with Democrats in a bipartisan manner. “Congress isn’t working together,” she says. “I’ve been on both sides and will fight for the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment, the sanctity of life (and) for veterans, seniors and children.”

Her willingness to work across the aisle and her crime-fighting experience are among the reason the Journal is endorsing Garcia Holmes in the GOP primary for the 1st District, which primarily consists of the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

The winner in the GOP primary will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

District 2 GOP primary – Claire Chase

Chase is a first-time candidate, but she’s not new to the political scene, having been an advocate for the oil and gas industry for seven years. Chase was the first woman and youngest chairman of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association and was also president of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico. She and her husband own Mack Energy of Artesia and a pecan farm in Eddy County, another important industry in the 2nd District, which spans the southern half of New Mexico. Her extensive background in the O&G industry enables her to be a strong advocate for thousands of oilfield workers in a time of tremendous strife.

Chase also has experience on Capitol Hill, having worked for former U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and former Sen. Pete Domenici. She says she learned how to fight from Pearce and how to be a statesman from Domenici. The New Mexico Military Institute high school graduate and mother of 3-year-old twins says she got into the race because younger, conservative leaders need to step up.

She says her priorities include securing our border, which will help improve the economy and decrease the crime rate, and she believes Congress needs to increase checkpoint funding and the worker visa program, especially for those in the oil and gas and agricultural industries. She says 2nd Amendment rights are important to her district and dedicated mental health funding is the way to address the “broken people” caught up in drugs and crime. And as the granddaughter of a base commander, she wants to ensure those in New Mexico stay strong.

The winner in the GOP primary will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Read: Q&A’s: Primary candidates for 1st & 2nd congressional districts
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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.

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