Q&A: Public Regulation Commission District 3 Candidate Joseph Maestas

  • NAME: Joseph Maestas
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Consulting engineer
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I’m a licensed professional engineer. After 30+ years, I retired from federal civil service as an engineer and regulator. I have 3-and-a-half years of private sector engineering experience. I served as an elected official for 14 years that included serving as a Santa Fe city councilor and mayor of Española.
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor and master’s degrees in civil engineering from UNM and Arizona State University, respectively.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Maestas4NM.com

Why are you running for a seat on the commission?

I’m running to apply my problem-solving skills as an engineer, my independence as a publicly financed candidate, and my diverse public service record as a thoughtful, evidence-based decision maker who is not going to make political decisions, but well-thought-out, pragmatic decisions that are in the best interests of all New Mexicans.

What are some specific goals you want to accomplish as a commissioner?

Serve New Mexicans with integrity, purpose and transparency. Build consensus for a shared vision of a path to a clean energy future and help create a PRC fit for the 21st century. Champion an open energy market and modernize the electric grid. Fully and fairly implement key, energy related state legislation.

What are your thoughts about the new Energy Transition Act, and how would you work to balance both utility and consumer interests as the state transitions away from fossil fuels to renewable resources and carbon-free generation?

The PRC must balance the interests of ratepayers and utilities. The ETA is the law of the land and establishes New Mexico as a national leader in a transition to a clean energy future. However, the PRC must be modernized and fully prepared to implement the ETA and other energy-related legislation.

Voters will decide in November on a constitutional amendment to change the five-member elected commission to a three-member body appointed by the governor. What are your thoughts about the proposal?

I support the opportunity for a public vote on any effort that significantly affects the daily lives of all New Mexicans. However, New Mexicans should be fully aware of the consequences of removing their own direct voice and choice in electing PRC commissioners – democratic means to an undemocratic end.

The PRC operates as a quasi-judicial body that requires commissioners to possess specialized knowledge and experience to function fairly and efficiently in the public’s interest. In your opinion, what are those needed qualities, and how do you personally meet the qualifications?

I possess the needed qualities of experienced leadership and strong qualifications as a lifelong public servant with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering and licensed as an engineer. With over 30 years of experience as a federal engineer/regulator, I also served on quasi-judicial, elected governing bodies for 14 years.

Personal background

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No

3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.

No

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