Today, the Journal begins its endorsements for the 2022 primary elections, starting with contested races in the Albuquerque-metro area for the New Mexico House of Representatives. For ongoing coverage that will include candidate profiles, Q&As and endorsements as they are published, go to www.abqjournal.com/2498103/2022-primary-election.html.
House District 11
Republican, Adrian Anthony Trujillo Sr.
Trujillo would bring a unique and much-needed perspective to the Legislature as a trade-school trained sheet-metal worker. The Valley High School graduate understands the value and utility of technical training, and the potential the building trades offer to our young adults who want to continue to live and work in New Mexico.
Trujillo wants to eliminate the state’s anti-business and regressive gross receipt tax system and replace it with a sales tax. He says doing away with the GRT system and its “pyramiding” would make New Mexico significantly more competitive with our border states. He also supports harvesting the state’s abundant rare earth metals for job and economic growth and to reduce our reliance on importing rare earth metals.
Trujillo’s middle-ground approach of supporting the decriminalization of marijuana, without trumpeting pot sales as an economic driver and key to our future, is one many New Mexicans can relate to.
He also supports open primaries, noting not allowing independents and third-party voters to participate “systematically oppresses their voting rights.”
The Albuquerque native faces Republican Lisa Meyer-Hagen in the primary. The winner will face Democratic incumbent Javier Martínez in the general election. Trujillo handily won the Republican primary to represent the Downtown Albuquerque district two years ago but lost by a wide margin to Martínez in the general election.
House District 12
Democratic incumbent, Art De La Cruz
De La Cruz has shown he can rise to the occasion, having been twice appointed to the New Mexico House by the Bernalillo County Commission.
Most recently, De La Cruz was appointed to the House in early February after the resignation of Rep. Brittney Barreras. Legislators were mid-session at the time.
De La Cruz says the 15 remaining days of the 30-day session were intense. He says he stayed awake at one point for 26 straight hours and he’s proud he didn’t miss a vote.
De La Cruz, a former Bernalillo County commissioner and former county parks director, wants to change our laws to make it easier to hold those accused of violent crimes in jail. At the same time, he supports common-sense gun control measures such as requiring firearms be secured and mandatory firearms training for gun buyers.
De La Cruz also thinks outside the box: The South Valley native supports re-establishing the state’s GRT on food sales and using the revenue to help food-insecure families, and a state fund for higher education students to tackle crippling student loan debt. Both are worthy ideas. He also supports open primaries and protecting the Land Grant Permanent Fund.
De La Cruz faces Democrats Melissa Armijo and Nicole Michelle Olonovich in the primary to represent the South Valley district. The primary winner will be unopposed in November.
House District 17
Democrat, Cynthia D. Borrego
Borrego, a former Albuquerque city councilor, is a former city planner with ideas for improving transportation and infrastructure on the West Mesa. She says a third of her former City Council district is within House District 17, so serving in the Roundhouse would be “a natural transition.”
Borrego, who worked for Albuquerque for 28 years, chaired the City Council’s Land Use and Zoning Committee and was elected to serve on the Albuquerque Arroyo Flood Control Authority for the West Mesa in 2014. She lost her seat to Dan Lewis in the 2021 municipal election.
With Borrego’s background in road and infrastructure improvements, she can be an influential lawmaker in Santa Fe.
Borrego also understands the private sector as the owner of a planning and consulting firm and owner of a small jewelry business in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. She spearheaded the city’s initiative during the pandemic to provide tents to restaurants so they could continue serving customers and keep staff employed.
Borrego supports tougher penalties for violent crimes involving firearms or children, opening primaries to independent voters and an overhaul of the state’s uncompetitive GRT system while the state is flush with money.
She faces Democrat Darrell Deaguero in the primary to represent the West Side Albuquerque district. The winner will face either Republican Ellis McMath or Joshua Taylor Neal in the general election.
House District 17
Republican, Joshua Taylor Neal
Neal, a 25-year-old civil engineer and graduate of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, offers both youthful exuberance and professional pragmatism.
Neal believes it is shameful that not all New Mexicans have running water in their homes in the year 2022. And he wants to do something about it.
“Water scarcity is not just a poor country’s problem; drought does not discriminate,” he posted on Twitter this week. “We need problem-solving engineers in office to create solutions for access to potable water.”
He also says the condition of the state’s infrastructure is shameful, with hundreds of bridges and dams at high risk of failing. He says the average New Mexican pays $750 a year in car repairs because of the condition of our roads. Infrastructure, crime and reform of the Children, Youth and Families Department are his top legislative priorities.
Neal correctly says crime in the metro has gotten so out of control that businesses often don’t report shoplifting incidents. He wants to put more bite into the state’s shoplifting penalties and hire more police.
Neal, whose parents were foster parents, says CYFD social workers are “grossly underpaid and over-worked.” He wants to raise social worker salaries, lower their caseloads and update their data system to make headway. We agree with all of that.
He faces Republican Ellis McMath in the primary to represent the West Side Albuquerque district. The winner will face either Democrat Darrell Deaguero or Cynthia Borrego in the general election.
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.