The House of Representatives in New Mexico is the voice of the people, moving faster than the Senate and pushing the governor — any governor — to be bold in using public policy to solve problems.
That likely won’t change with the current crop of potential legislators, with women and younger people seeking election. Below, our endorsements in select contested races for the House of Representatives.
In District 43, incumbent Democrat Christine Chandler wants the Legislature to focus on education, health care and improving infrastructure. She brings to the Legislature her work as a lawyer; experience on the Los Alamos County Council and at Los Alamos National Laboratory; and knowledge of a district that covers Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties. She is committed to simplifying the tax system and better funding the judicial system so that justice actually can work.
For District 43, Christine Chandler.
District 45 Democrat Linda Serrato won a tough primary in her bid to replace retiring Rep. Jim Trujillo, evidence of someone who knows how to campaign and understands the issues that matter in the district, which stretches along Interstate 25 from St. Francis Drive down to the La Cienega area. A former organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, she has said she favors elimination of taxation on Social Security and wants more help for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. During the pandemic, she has said, voters are interested in issues that impact their pocketbook. That focus is necessary right now.
For District 45, Linda Serrato.
District 46 features Democratic incumbent Andrea Romero likely cruising to reelection. It’s a heavily Democratic district, covering three pueblos, Hispanic rural communities and fast-gentrifying urban neighborhoods through northern Santa Fe County, a corner of Española and parts of Santa Fe. According to colleagues in the Legislature, Romero is a tireless worker and advocate on behalf of constituents. However, concerns about her ethical lapses at the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities are hard to shake. The board coalition looked askance at Romero’s expenses submitted from March 2017 until February 2018, asking her as recently as May of this year to repay $7,800. She says she’s repaid close to $2,000, as recommended by Los Alamos County, and believes that covers it. The coalition is evidently going to write off the debt, meaning that in addition to the $140,000-a-year contract at her old job, Romero won’t have to repay the entire sum. That Romero truly believes she acted properly remains a problem. Yet her Republican opponent, Jay Groseclose, has viewpoints that won’t serve constituents. This is a race where voters have no perfect choice. Still, Romero can grow in office and learn from her mistakes. It’s time she showed it.
For District, 46, Andrea Romero.
In District 47, Speaker Brian Egolf began the year facing Lyla June Johnston, a young, progressive opponent who shook things up before dropping out. Now, Egolf has token opposition in the general election and is headed back to the House. As speaker, he is one of the most powerful people in New Mexico, representing an urban district in Santa Fe while (pre-pandemic) frequently traveling the state to hear viewpoints outside his Santa Fe bubble. His understanding of putting together budgets, raising necessary revenues and building coalitions to do the hard work of governing will be more important in the current crisis. Just figuring out how the House will meet, given the threat of likely infection in January, is a monumental task.
For District 47, Brian Egolf.
District 50: Matthew McQueen’s expertise on energy, the environment and the need to streamline the gross receipts tax system are qualities the House can use. The incumbent Democratic representative also is ready to pass sensible cannabis legalization legislation and wants to to expand early childhood education, using the Land Grant Permanent Fund if need be. A representative of a sprawling, diverse district — with parts of Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia counties — he has learned to listen to various viewpoints while building consensus. His important work on attempting to force legislators to be transparent about capital outlay projects might get stopped every session, but McQueen one day will get this reform across the finish line. He doesn’t quit.
For District 50, Matthew McQueen.