Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – State Rep. Stephanie Maez will submit her letter of resignation from the Legislature today, having decided she needs to focus on her family after the August arrest of her 18-year-old son on a murder charge.
Maez, an Albuquerque Democrat, said she waited two months before making the decision to resign because she wanted to take ample time to think it over.
“What it really comes down to is my sole focus needs to be my family during this very difficult time,” Maez told the Journal. “I will continue to fight, just in a different capacity.”
Maez will tender her resignation to Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s office today, but said her resignation won’t be effective until Nov. 5. It will then be up to the Bernalillo County Commission to pick a successor to serve out the remainder of a two-year term that runs through 2016.
“It’s been a very difficult decision (to resign), because it’s been an honor to represent my constituents,” Maez told the Journal in an interview.
Previously, Maez had said she intended to run for election next year, but that was before the arrest of her son, Donovan Maez, in connection with a June drive-by shooting that left a 17-year-old Manzano High School student dead.
Donovan Maez was arrested in August and was charged with an open count of murder, among other crimes. He has pleaded not guilty.
Police believe he and a friend were passengers in a car driven by another teenager when shots were fired at a house party, killing Jaydon Chavez-Silver, a popular Manzano athlete who may not have been the intended target.
Stephanie Maez was appointed to the Legislature in December 2014 by Bernalillo County commissioners, filling the House District 21 seat – which covers much of Albuquerque’s southeast heights – vacated when former Rep. Mimi Stewart was appointed to the Senate. Maez sponsored 13 bills during this year’s 60-day legislative session, including an unsuccessful attempt to expand a tax credit for working families.
She previously worked as the chief executive officer of the Center for Civic Policy, an Albuquerque-based nonprofit group that advocates for progressive causes.
In the Wednesday interview, Maez said she has not ruled out running for elected office in the future, but said her current focus is on her family and on her son’s legal case.
She also said she plans to stay involved in statewide efforts to expand early childhood programs, saying, “I think we have a lot of needs in our state.”
Maez, who was a teenager when she had her son, said the murder charge has taken a toll on her family.
“I don’t think anybody prepares for something like this,” Maez said. “Fortunately, we have each other and we have our faith.”