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Partisan Atmosphere Turns Off State Senator

First-term state Sen. Steve Fischmann, D-Mesilla Park, says he won’t run for another term.

Fischmann told the Journal he’s convinced he can get more done on issues he cares about – early childhood education and fiscal responsibility, among them – if he’s outside the Senate, rather than part of it.

The lawmaker said policy has taken a back seat to partisanship and there has been “a profound lack of constructive action” in the Legislature.

He said Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has created a “gotcha” atmosphere with her office’s videotaping during legislative sessions and the perceived threat that her political action committee will be used this election year to get rid of lawmakers who don’t agree with her agenda.

“I think that really rankled folks, and created an atmosphere in which it is hard to move forward,” Fischmann said.

Fischmann said his decision didn’t have to do with redistricting changes: His District 37 actually got a little more Democratic in the new map.

Other election-related announcements:

♦ Rep. Eleanor Chavez, an Albuquerque Democrat, will leave the House to run for an open seat in Senate District 14. Sen. Eric Griego, D-Albuquerque, represents the district with that number currently, although it has been redrawn in the new redistricting map. Griego is leaving the Senate to run for the U.S. House.

♦ Democrat Michael Padilla also will run in the new Senate District 14. He heads a company that operates call and contact centers. He set up Albuquerque’s 311 call center, and last year contracted with the state to set up the center for the governor’s short-lived program to verify the residency of foreign national license-holders.

♦ Republican Max Barnett is running in the new House District 68, one of the Albuquerque West Side seats that emerged with redistricting. He also ran for the House in 2006, when it was a different district, and lost to the GOP incumbent. Barnett owns a small information technology consulting firm and does international development consulting.

♦ Republican Jason Harper is a candidate for the newly created House District 57. A lifelong resident of Rio Rancho, he has been a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories for eight years.

~ Deborah Baker/ Journal Capitol Bureau. Contact Baker at


— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal