In this increasingly crowded field of candidates running for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, Teresa Leger Fernandez continues to stand out as the best candidate to represent Northern New Mexico families (“Lawyer Leger Fernandez runs for Congress,” May 16).

Teresa and her family are “dug in” in Northern New Mexico. Aside from stops at Yale University, Stanford Law School and as a White House fellow, Teresa has always been part of this community and committed to serving New Mexico’s citizens. She grew up in Las Vegas with parents who were educators and public servants. So, from a very young age, she had a deep understanding of what New Mexico communities need. From her parents, she gained a deep understanding of how to help.

Teresa is an advocate for early childhood education and strong public schools that honor culture, diversity and rigor in learning. She was a board member for Homewise, supporting affordable housing for families in our community. Teresa was an acequia commissioner in Chupadero who fought for community water rights and who will work to build strong renewable energy resources in New Mexico and protect our beautiful public lands. Teresa is also someone who makes a very personal stand to support health coverage for people with preexisting conditions and someone who will fight for affordable health care for everyone. Teresa tackles all these roles with her brand of informed yet eternal optimism. She never waivers in her commitment to helping others and making a difference in this community.

As a teacher in Santa Fe, I have known Teresa for more than 10 years, mostly as a mom of three amazing boys. Despite everything she does versus the hours in a day, she is always there for her kids. When I taught her son, she saw us as a learning team. Her roots in a family of teachers showed her the importance of an educational partnership and a commitment between teachers, schools and families. She carried that philosophy to her own children. She adapted that philosophy to her professional life.

Teresa Leger Fernandez will bring her knowledge, experience, compassion and dedication to Washington, D.C., as our representative for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District.

Mary Ellen Dannenberg is a pre-K teacher who has lived in Santa Fe for 20 years.