It is great news that Democrat Paula Garcia is running to represent District 40 in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
Nick Salazar has represented District 40 for years but has announced his retirement. This is an open seat likely to have several candidates competing in the primary. None will have a record to match Garcia. That is a fact.
One of Garcia’s key goals is to continue to promote agriculture as both a livelihood and a way of life. With a solid track record of accomplishments that are literally from the ground up — protecting and promoting la tierra y el agua — the land and water — voters can trust Paula Garcia to help keep District 40 moving in the right direction.
As the executive director of the New Mexico Acequia Association, Garcia was instrumental in acequias becoming political subdivisions of the state, units of local government. This accomplishment took years of effort, but Garcia kept it at, building relationships with legislators of both parties and communities throughout the state. As a result, acequias now develop their own capital improvement plans, receive funding, upgrade acequia infrastructure, improve water flow and assure beneficial use.
As a two-term Mora County commissioner, Garcia has served her constituents well. As a commissioner, she was elected president of the New Mexico Association of Counties, representing all areas of the state. She has demonstrated the ability to navigate statewide policy with fairness and consideration of all points of view.
Whether working to expand programs for seniors, mentoring young farmers or improving communications between counties and tribes, Garcia is a proven leader. What most strongly recommends Garcia as a future legislator is that she lives her work and her words. Like many frontier and rural communities throughout our state, Mora County has a hard time recruiting enough emergency medical technicians to operate an emergency medical system. Garcia didn’t just encourage others to sign up as EMTs; she stepped up, studied hard and became an EMT herself. Knowing that having emergency care and transportation is often the difference between life and death, Garcia chose to do her best to save lives.
Garcia and I have disagreed at times, and will no doubt find ourselves on opposite sides of issues in the future. That is the nature of politics. But what sets Garcia apart is that her future constituents can count on her to be accessible, to listen, ask good questions, study an issue, be transparent and then vote her conscience.
I am going to be working very hard on Garcia’s campaign and hope you will join the effort. The campaign website is paulagarcia.com.
Carol Miller is a community organizer from Ojo Sarco, N.M., and an advocate for Geographic Democracy — the belief that the U.S. must guarantee equal rights and opportunities to participate in the national life, no matter where someone lives.