More primary endorsements from Journal North

Here are more of Journal North’s endorsements in contested races in the June 2 primary election:

State House District 40, Democrat: Roger Montoya

In this seat being vacated by incumbent and congressional candidate Joseph Sanchez, Montoya – an artist and longtime community organizer in the Española Valley who has started multiple nonprofits and a charter school – offers voters an exceptional choice.

Montoya, who has lived in Velarde since 1984, recently gained national attention as one of 10 people nominated as CNN’s Hero of the Year, mainly for his work with Moving Arts Española, which provides local children with artistic and after-school opportunities.

He said his career in the performing arts and community work has given him “a different vantage point” for solving the complex problems facing New Mexico.

Montoya’s run for the seat is a hopeful sign that a new wave of positive politics will continue to make progress in Rio Arriba County and elsewhere in northern New Mexico.

Republican Justin J. Salazar-Torrez faces the Democratic nominee in the November general election.

State Senate District 5, Democrat: Leo Jaramillo

Jaramillo, chairman of the Rio Arriba County Commission, is the first candidate to challenge incumbent Richard C. Martinez since 2012. Martinez is vulnerable now after being arrested for a DWI in December after he caused a crash that injured two people. Martinez stepped down from his post as chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, but he did not make a public apology until after he was convicted and was asking a judge for mercy.

Jaramillo is a good choice to take over the seat (although he, too, has a DWI on his record, but from 25 years ago when he was an 18-year-old UNM freshman).

He has an impressive educational and professional résumé. Jaramillo is chief of staff/administrative officer for the associate laboratory director of facilities and operations at Los Alamos National Laboratories, and is known locally for his time as a successful cheer coach at Española Valley High School. A relative newcomer to politics, he joined the County Commission only last year, after defeating longtime political powerhouse Alex Naranjo.

Jaramillo cites needs to diversify the state’s economy, and to protect drinking and irrigation water as his main issues.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Diamantina Prado Storment and Libertarian Lee G. Weinland in the November general election.

State House District 42, Democrat: Kristina Ortez

Environmental activist Ortez won support from two county commissions when she applied to fill the state Senate seat that became vacant when Sen. Carlos Cisneros died last year, but Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham chose then-Rep. Bobby Gonzales for that position. Now, Ortez is running for Gonzales’ old Taos-area House seat.

A Harvard grad, she has been executive director of the Taos Land Trust for six years. She said she took over the Trust at a time of crisis. “I’m really proud of being able to work with other folks to bring an organization back to life,” she said.

State House District 42, Republican: Linda Calhoun

Calhoun, a business owner and mayor of Red River since 2006, was also one of just two Republicans chosen by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to serve on her transition team. More recently, she was selected to serve on the statewide Mayor’s Council on Economic Recovery to address issues surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. “I’ve been a nonpartisan mayor for 14 years, and I know what it takes to get work done and not have to worry about politics,” she says.

Public Education Commission, District 10, Democrat: Steven Carrillo

In an unusual Democratic primary race among three write-in candidates, Carrillo brings the experience of eight years of service on the Santa Fe school board. He was sometimes controversial, but totally dedicated to his board service and the public schools.

The low-profile PEC provides oversight for the state’s charter schools.

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