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Montoya, Hall compete for District 1 PRC nod

CYNTHIA HALL

Political party: Democrathallprc

Place of Residence:  Albuquerque

Age: 64

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Education:

B.A.  Washington University, St. Louis, MO 1973 (Biology major)

M.S. Physiology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO 1977

J.D.  Southwestern School of Law, Los Angeles, CA 1983

EMBA Anderson School of Management, UNM (1 year of classes) 2010-2013

Occupation:  Attorney for past 33 years. That includes, Associate General Counsel/Hearing Officer for NM Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI), May 2014-August 2015; OSI Prosecutor/Hearing Officer, July 2012-May 2014; Insurance Staff Attorney at Public Regulation Commission, September 2010- October 2012; Associate General Counsel at PRC, November 2008-September 2010; Attorney in private practice, October 2003-October 2007; Attorney at Sandia National Laboratories, September 1990-March 1994; Civilian attorney-U.S. Navy, January 1988-July 1990; Assistant Staff Counsel-NM Public Service Commission, August 1986-July 1987; prior employment as a scientific researcher for private companies and environmental organizations.

Family:  Husband of 29 years, Alan; two adult children.

Political/Government Experience: Member, Bernalillo County Planning Commission, 2006-2008, Vice Ward Chair, Ward 15A, 2015 and 2016; Member, State Central Committee, 2014-2016; Member, Bernalillo County Central Committee, 2011-2016.

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Major Professional Accomplishment: Founded and led a non-profit organization that advocated for public acquisition of a 138-acre farmland property, now Albuquerque’s Los Poblanos Open Space. Achieved passage of a voter-approved, two-year, quarter-cent GRT increase to fund citywide open space acquisitions, totaling over 2,000 acres.

Major Personal Accomplishment:  When my children were in elementary school, I founded and led a non-profit that advocated to increase elementary music and art instruction time in New Mexico schools. After our bipartisan funding bill passed the Legislature and was vetoed, we persuaded the APS School Board to double instruction time.

Campaign Website: https://www.cynthiaforprc.com/

KAREN MONTOYA

Political party: Democratmontoyaprc

Place of residence: Albuquerque

Age 51

Education: Successfully completed coursework at UNM, T-VI, the International Association of Assessing Officers, NM Certified Appraiser, attended NM State University Rate School, Many hours of ethics classes at NM State University, I have made presentations on many panels and forums all over the country on many issues under PRC purview, graduate of Del Norte HS.

Occupation: Public Regulation Commissioner,  2012- present; Bernalillo County Assessor, 2007-12; Senior Appraiser, NM State Property Tax Division, which oversees all 33 County Assessors, 2004-06; Chair of the County Valuation Protest Board, 2004-06; Bernalillo County Assessor’s office – specializing in assessment administration, agricultural, residential and commercial valuations, 1991-2004.

Family: 12th generation New Mexican. Two beautiful daughters, three grandchildren.

Political/Government Experience: Vice Chair, Assessors Affiliate, 2007-09; Chair, New Mexico Association of Counties Property Tax Task Force and member of the Realtors of NM Property tax task force, 2008-09; member of the Realtors of NM Manufactured Housing Task Force, 2009-10; Chair of the PRC, 2015; Vice Chair of the PRC, 2016; PRC Commissioner, 2013-present.

Major Professional Accomplishment: Elected Bernalillo County Assessor in 2006, and Re-elected in 2010.  Elected Public Regulation Commissioner in 2012.  Worked to create a broadband fund to give people access to the Internet. Created accountability for a $24 million reoccurring fund that we pay for when there was none.

Major Personal Accomplishment: My greatest personal accomplishment is being a mom of two wonderful daughters.

Campaign Website: http://www.montoya2016.com/

What would your priorities be as commissioner?

Hall: Enforce and expand the renewable portfolio standard, retire coal plants as soon as feasible, protect consumers from unjustified rate increases, push development of a modern electricity grid, better and cheaper broadband service statewide, ensure gas pipeline safety, meaningful ethics training for commissioners, full staffing for critical positions that remain unfilled.

Montoya: My top priority has been to bring trust, integrity and transparency to the PRC. I believe implementing an ethics advisory committee is a great first step. I will continue to ensure service providers strive to provide a better quality of service for consumers at the lowest possible cost.

New Mexico, like other states, is facing growing pressure to transform its electric system away from fossil fuels and toward renewable resources. What is the PRC’s role in that transformation?

Hall: Under the PRC’s leadership, New Mexico can move to a clean energy supply that maximizes solar and wind power; this will be cheaper than fossil fuels going forward. I’ll advocate amendment of the renewable portfolio standard through 2050 and enforce it, require cost-effective energy savings, and pursue smart grid developments.

Montoya: Renewable energy undoubtedly will be a part of the diversified portfolios of electric utilities across the nation. Solar systems are much cheaper today than in past years. The market for distributed generation has increased dramatically. The industry creates good paying jobs. This benefits New Mexicans and the planet.

What can or should the PRC do to encourage more broadband development in the state?

Hall: The PRC lacks jurisdiction to regulate broadband service but can support its development through federally-funded broadband initiatives. While it may be justifiable to fund rural broadband build-out from Universal Service Fund fees (most are paid by District 1 customers), the PRC should ensure the money is well-spent.

Montoya: While broadband is regulated by the FCC, there is a fundamental need for all New Mexicans to have access to broadband. The future of economic growth, education and communication all depend on that access. I have, and will continue working to get the commission to explore whether the Universal Service Fund should be restructured to give greater emphasis to broadband development.

The PRC has faced difficult ethics issues in the past. What are your thoughts about the establishment of a code of ethics advisory committee, which the commission approved this year in a 3-2 vote?

Hall: The PRC has adequate existing written ethics guidance, including the governmental conduct act and the PRC ex parte rule. However, the commission’s advisory committee resolution raises several meritorious issues, such as the need for processes to handle ethics complaints and replace recused commissioners and associated necessary statutory changes.

Montoya: I am proud to have voted yes. Openness, transparency and public trust are essential to any and all elected offices. We are here to serve the citizens of New Mexico, and they have a right to be informed.

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

Hall: No.

Montoya: No.

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

Hall: No.

Montoya: No.

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.

Hall: No.

Montoya: No.

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