Editorial: Journal begins ’20 endorsements with NM House

Today, the Journal begins its endorsements for the 2020 general election, starting with contested races in the metro area for the New Mexico House of Representatives. For information including candidate Q&As, district maps and news stories as they are published, go to ABQJournal.com/election2020.

District 10 – Democratic incumbent, G. Andrés Romero

Romero is a social studies teacher at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School with a firsthand understanding of the difficulties of remote learning. His real-world experience can be invaluable as lawmakers grapple with addressing educational inequities that come with at-home learning.

Romero is quickly rising through the ranks after taking office in 2015. He is the chair of the House Education Committee and prides himself on working to reach bipartisan legislation, such as a bill he co-sponsored in 2019 that increased funding for at-risk students, expanded the K-3 Plus extended school year program to K-5 Plus, and increased the minimum salaries for teachers and principals. Romero also supports expanding career and technical training, and partnerships with businesses to prepare a ready, skilled workforce.

Romero faces Republican Dinah Vargas in the general election to represent the district that covers Albuquerque’s South Valley.

District 11 – Republican, Adrian Anthony Trujillo Sr.

Trujillo, a trade-school trained sheet-metal worker, understands that not all young people want to go the college route and appreciates the value of technical training. His voice and perspective would be helpful in a public body largely populated by lawyers and community organizers.

Trujillo, who struggled with addiction a decade ago, has a personal understanding of the underlying causes of much crime. “Tackling addiction which is one of the biggest drivers of crime in our communities should be a top priority,” he said in his Journal Q&A. He supports tougher sentencing to keep repeat offenders off the streets.

Trujillo supports investing in telecommunication and internet infrastructure to ensure every student has equal access to remote learning, opening primaries to allow Independents and third-party voters to participate, and implementing a sales tax to replace GRTs.

Trujillo faces incumbent Democrat Javier Martinez in the general election to represent the district that includes Downtown Albuquerque from I-25 to the Rio Grande.

District 12 – Democratic incumbent Art De La Cruz, write-in candidate

De La Cruz was chosen last month by the Bernalillo County Commission to fill the seat after former state Rep. Patricio Ruiloba’s ballot petition signatures were disqualified and he resigned to run for Bernalillo County sheriff.

De La Cruz has 46 years of government experience, including two terms as a Bernalillo County commissioner. He cites among his achievements bringing significant development to the South Valley, including the Admiral Beverage Corp. distribution warehouse and the US Foods distribution center.

De La Cruz brings experience to this position, and has shown he is willing to listen to others before charting a course. He favors open primaries and aggressively recruiting out-of-state businesses.

He faces Brittney Barreras and David Grijalva, both who declined to state a party affiliation, in the general election to represent the South Valley district from Unser Boulevard to the Rio Grande.

District 13 – Republican, Kayla Renee Marshall

Marshall, owner of a real estate rental management company, supports reducing state government spending rather than increasing taxes. She understands a pandemic is no time to place extra burdens on already struggling families. “It would be disrespectful to New Mexicans to raise taxes after so many have lost jobs due to monthslong business closures that led to many permanent closures,” she said in her Journal Q&A.

Marshall also supports holding failing public schools accountable. She says school districts should be empowered to make decisions locally that best serve their students. Marshall also says New Mexico can do better attracting companies by improving education, reducing crime and replacing GRTs with a sales tax. She opposes a moratorium on fracking, saying renewable energy mandates remove customer choice and drive up costs.

Marshall faces incumbent Democrat Patricia Roybal Caballero in the general election to represent the West Mesa district centered around Westgate Heights.

District 15 – Democratic incumbent – Dayan “Day” Hochman-Vigil

Hochman-Vigil is a third-generation pilot who is a strong advocate for locating the Space Command in Albuquerque. She’s well-positioned to take a leading role in the endeavor as an attorney who specializes in aviation and space law.

Hochman-Vigil says New Mexico is in an ideal position to become a global powerhouse in space commercialization with Spaceport America, the national labs and three Air Force bases. We need a lawmaker with her vision to help lead us there.

Hochman-Vigil says there’s been a communication breakdown between the Governor’s Office and state lawmakers during the pandemic, and lawmakers should come together in a bipartisan fashion in January to “address weaknesses” in the 2003 Public Health Emergency Response Act and ensure checks and balances are in place.

She faces Republican Ali Ennenga and Libertarian Ranota Banks in the general election to represent the North Valley district.

District 16 – Democratic incumbent, Antonio “Moe” Maestas

Maestas, a former violent crimes prosecutor, is one of the state’s most effective state lawmakers when it comes to criminal justice. He was instrumental in legalizing medical cannabis as a freshman lawmaker in 2007 and has been instrumental since then in bills outlawing the isolation of the mentally ill, tax reform and legalizing hemp production.

The chair of the House Commerce & Economic Development Committee has numerous other initiatives he wants to pursue, including liquor license reform, a gas tax for roads and infrastructure, and getting better infrastructure on the west side of Albuquerque.

Maestas also supports updating the Public Health Emergency Response Act. “It must also specifically mention masks, social distancing and when to close and open businesses,” he explained in his Journal Q&A.

Maestas faces Republican Antoinette Taft in the general election to represent the West Mesa district between the Rio Grande and Petroglyph National Monument.

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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