Today, the Journal continues endorsements for contested primary legislative races in the metro area. To find out your districts, go to the Voter Information Portal at sos.state.nm.us. Endorsements will continue next week. For ongoing coverage, including candidate profiles, Q&As and endorsements, go to abqjournal.com/election-guide.
House District 19
Democrat, Janelle I. Anyanonu
Anyanonu, the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant, is a good fit to represent the International District in southeast Albuquerque. She’s a member of the New Mexico Black Central Organizing Committee and has lobbied on behalf of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. She appears to have her finger on the pulse of the community and has the potential to make a meaningful difference for minorities in the Roundhouse.
A financial planning office manager with “an understanding boss,” Anyanonu is also a working-class woman who wants to help small businesses by simplifying tax laws and helping them occupy the many empty storefronts in the district. Achieving that would be a significant feat. The International District desperately needs a champion for small businesses.
Anyanonu also supports fully funding and staffing alternative policing programs with public safety grants and transforming the district’s “paved wastelands” into green spaces. Another real improvement.
Anyanonu faces Democrat Colton R. Dean in the primary. The winner will face Republican Kathleen M. Jackson in the general election.
House District 26
Democrat, Eleanor Chavez
Chavez has a wealth of experience to offer, having served two terms in the House from 2009-13 and on the Public Education Commission from 2015-17.
As executive director of a district of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, she represents workers at five state hospitals and knows the stresses they faced in the pandemic.
Chavez supports a Health Security Act to address the shortage of nurses. She believes New Mexico should implement a “grow your own” program for health care workers who currently work in hospitals and wish to pursue nursing degrees, and she believes the state should pursue the bulk purchasing of pharmaceuticals.
Chavez also understands the West Side Albuquerque district, having raised four children there, and the impact of crime, having had her home broken into twice. She supports behavioral health investments and expanding drug treatment programs to address the root causes of crime.
Chavez faces Democrat Cherise D. Quezada in the primary. The winner will face Republican Patrick B. Sais in the general election.
House District 27
Republican, Robert S. Godshall
Godshall worked 28 years in federal law enforcement and has unique insight on immigration matters as a former immigration officer and investigator with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
While immigration is a federal responsibility, Godshall correctly believes states — particularly border states — have a role. He believes sanctuary policies place unnecessary barriers between local and federal law enforcement agencies, and allow criminal foreign nationals to avoid investigation and prosecution. His voice is greatly needed in a Legislature that largely turns a blind eye to illegal immigration.
Godshall is among the most law-and-order of candidates. He supports minimum mandatory sentences, stiffer conditions for pretrial release and avoiding what he calls “pseudo-science” public safety assessments that have resulted in the pretrial release of violent offenders. “If that takes legislation, the Legislature can certainly determine that certain violent crimes require detention absent a convincing argument to the contrary,” he says.
Godshall faces Republican Elisa Maria Martinez in the primary. The winner will face Democratic incumbent Marian Matthews in the general election to represent the northeast Albuquerque district.
House District 29
Republican, Gregory G. Cunningham
Cunningham, a former U.S. Marine, says he caught the law enforcement bug on a ride-along with a police officer. He joined the Albuquerque Police Department in 1989 and says he worked with every federal agency as an officer and detective until retiring in 2009.
He “absolutely, without question” supports changing state law to make it easier to hold defendants charged with violent offenses until trial.
The 1984 graduate of Menaul School correctly believes the state’s public education system is abysmal. He says a complete overhaul is essential to create an educated and skilled workforce, and attract new businesses. “Our state spends $4.8 billion this year to be dead last in education,” he says. “Our checkbook isn’t broken, our educational system is.” Cunningham also supports abolishing our terribly anti-business GRT system and replacing it with an honest sales tax. He faces Republican Adelious D. Stith in the primary. The winner will face Democratic incumbent Joy I. Garratt in the general election to represent the West Side district.
House District 44
Republican incumbent, Jane E. Powdrell-Culbert
First elected in 2002, Powdrell-Culbert has been one of the most pro-business lawmakers in the Legislature for two decades. One of her biggest accomplishments is the angel tax credit program, enacted in 2007 and since expanded, that lets investors in new technology startups deduct investment expenses from state income taxes. The program has been a success in helping homegrown companies gain traction and expand the number of well-paid, high-tech jobs.
Powdrell-Culbert has also been a staunch supporter of right-to-work legislation and eliminating the GRT. She says lawmakers can allocate more money to crime-fighting, but crime will go on “until there is something done from the federal level with immigration.” She supports school choice, tougher laws to keep violent offenders behind bars until trial, salaries for legislators, open primaries, medical malpractice insurance reform and “totally” reducing the governor’s emergency powers.
Powdrell-Culbert faces Republican Frida Susana Vasquez in the primary; the winner faces Democrat Kathleen M. Cates in the general election to represent the Corrales-based district.
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.