Below are Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter endorsements in the 2018 New Mexico primary. Volunteer to help elect these environmental champions!
U.S. House District 1 (Albuquerque area): Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez has a record of career choices that demonstrates she is a true progressive and environmental champion.
Antoinette was for many years a law professor and associate dean at University of New Mexico, where she established the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic. She worked with law students on issues of environmental justice, public health, land protection, illegal dumping, cleanup of contaminants, and protection of tribal sacred sites and cultural resources. Her law-school program made legal services available to underrepresented, community groups, environmental organizations and Indian tribes.
Antoinette was also executive director of Enlace Comunitario New Mexico, which provides legal and social services to battered immigrant women, among other things. She has been a board member of various progressive organizations, including the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Southwest Women’s Law Center.
Antoinette stands out for her knowledge, experience and commitment to a livable climate, clean air and water, and public lands and wildlife. She will make a great representative for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.
U.S. House District 2 (Southern New Mexico): Xochitl Torres Small
Xochitl Torres-Small works on environmental law for a firm in Las Cruces, where she grew up. As a staffer for Sen. Tom Udall, she helped organize his first statewide water conference, which brought together conservationists, farmers, cities, and businesses to plan for future water needs. At UNM Law School, she worked for Audubon New Mexico to identify reservoir management strategies to keep water in the river to preserve vital riparian habitat. Now as an attorney focusing on water law, she protects water rights for future use.
Torres-Small is running for the Southern New Mexico seat vacated by Steve Pearce, one of the most polluter-friendly members of Congress. We believe she is the candidate best suited to change that legacy for the better.
District 13: Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero
Roybal Caballero has amassed an impressive 100% score from Conservation Voters New Mexico for always voting to protect our air, drinking water, climate, land and wildlife.
In 2017, Roybal Caballero, who represents an Albuquerque seat, sponsored a community-solar bill to allow those who don’t own their residences or can’t afford solar panels to obtain solar energy.
District 5: Doreen W. Johnson
Rep. Doreen W. Johnson, of Crownpoint, has become an environmental champion in her four years at the Legislature. She represents a San Juan-McKinley County district that is especially affected by extractive industries including mining, oil, natural gas and coal plants, and her record reflects a concern for the health and well-being of her constituents. Update: Rep. Johnson’s primary opponent has been disqualified and she is no longer opposed for the Democratic nomination.
District 31: Mark Boslough
As a nonpartisan organization, the Sierra Club does not find many Republicans worthy of endorsement these days, but we are very pleased to have discovered Mark Boslough, whom we have endorsed in the Republican primary for House District 31 in far northeast Albuquerque.
Mark is a retired Sandia National Laboratories scientist whose work focused on climate change. He helped create Sandia’s climate modeling group and authored many climate reports. He has also penned many articles and op-eds in both the scientific and popular press about global-warming issues. He has educated a new generation of scientists about climate change. Mark is a voice we need in the New Mexico Legislature to provide a strong, scientific voice on climate issues.
District 41: Susan Herrera
Susan Herrera is a longtime community advocate who sits on the boards of New Mexico Voices for Children, the Family Learning Center in Española and the Northwest First Born Program in Farmington and Gallup.
Herrera believes that relying on oil and gas to prop up the state budget is unsustainable and suggests creating a strong revenue stream for education, health and economic development by revamping the income tax, permanent fund and gross receipts tax.
District 43: Pete Sheehey
During his six years on the Los Alamos County Council, Pete Sheehey has led or supported efforts to promote environmental protection, including to ban trapping in Los Alamos County; implement curbside yard-waste pickup; meet Los Alamos’ goal of 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2040; and publish an extensive study on county water resources to aid in adopting a revised and more realistic 40-year water plan.
Sheehey has lobbied for stricter groundwater protections and holding polluters accountable (e.g., the Nacimiento copper mine near Cuba). He is running to replace Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and will be a worthy replacement in the Legislature.
District 46: No endorsement
The Rio Grande Chapter removed its endorsement of Rep. Carl Trujillo after recent allegations by an Animal Protection Voters lobbyist. The chapter takes these allegations seriously and voted to rescind the endorsement.
Rep. Doreen Gallegos has stuck her neck out for rural residents who deal with dairy pollution but whose voices are dwarfed by dairy-industry lobbyists at the Legislature. Gallegos listens to everyone and has demonstrated that she truly cares about the diverse constituency she represents in Southern Doña Ana. Rep. Gallegos has risen to a leadership position as Democratic majority whip and brings a history of understanding conservation issues, as well as a strong recent voting record, to the Roundhouse.
District 65: Rep. Derrick Lente
Rep. Derrick Lente, serving Sandoval, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties, is a staunch advocate for his constituents. He prizes their input above that of lobbyists but listens to everyone and governs in a thoughtful, civil manner.
As a first-term legislator, he sponsored a memorial last year to support a moratorium on drilling leases in the Greater Chaco region until the BLM amends its management plan for the region to take into account the impacts of fracking.
Lente is also a member of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District board and boasts a 95% Conservation Voters New Mexico score. Update: Rep. Lente’s opponent has withdrawn, and he is no longer opposed for the Democratic nomination.
Governor: Lujan Grisham has strong record
Michelle Lujan Grisham has served New Mexico’s 1st District in Congress for six years and in that time she’s earned a 91% League of Conservation Voters score, with 100% scores the last two years. The congresswoman’s combination of high energy, visionary leadership, technical knowledge of highly complex issues, and array of experience make her our pick for governor.
Lujan Grisham has committed to developing state rules to control for oil and gas methane pollution and to a renewables standard for New Mexico’s utilities of 80% by 2040. Her Renewable Energy plan is excellent and worth a read — see www.newmexicansformichelle.com.
Rep. Lujan Grisham knows many of the state’s environmental issues at a technical level. On the issue of transport of spent nuclear fuel rods to New Mexico, she demonstrated not only a clear concern that this is not the proper economic-development vehicle for our state, but also a thorough knowledge about the geology of the proposed site and the science behind the risks it poses.
Lujan Grisham has also stood up on one of the country’s most divisive issues when as Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair she introduced the “Build Bridges Not Walls Act” to prohibit implementation of President Trump’s executive order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Beyond her role as an environmental champion in Congress, Michelle has worked at all levels of government, from county and state to federal. It is our sense that her experience combined with her commitment to protecting our families makes her the best choice for governor of New Mexico.
New Mexico Land Commission: Garrett VeneKlasen
When we heard Garrett Veneklasen was running for state Land Commissioner, the image of him jumping in front of the microphones at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and opposing violent activist Ammon Bundy and his illegal occupiers was still fresh in the media. All of a sudden, new ethical energy was entering the Land Commission race.
The Sierra Club endorsement for Garrett is based on many aspects of his lifetime of experience, community involvement and organizational leadership in New Mexico the past 15 years. His advocacy for public lands remaining in public hands has been exemplary and directly contributed to the designations of Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments and Valles Caldera’s transition to the National Park Service.
Having spent much of his life working on land-based projects that involve watershed restoration and wildlife mitigation, Garrett understands land stewardship and best-management practices. He is committed to science-driven wildlife management on state trust lands for all native species and opposes indiscriminate killing. He promises to prohibit killing contests on State Trust land.
Sustainable growth is one of the biggest challenges ahead for the State Land Office, and Garrett has outlined several plans for future economic growth for educational beneficiaries, including renewable-energy development and leasing land for cultural and eco-tourism.
State auditor: Bill McCamley
Sierra Club has endorsed Bill McCamley for state auditor, a position that has the authority to investigate the financial aspects of any activity of state government and can use that authority to help shape policy and protect the environment.
McCamley has stated that if elected, he will investigate the ill-conceived proposal to divert the Gila River. An investigation of Gila project will show that more benefit can be obtained for less money by much less environmentally harmful water projects, and such an investigation could help to kill this disastrous project.
McCamley, a former state legislator with an excellent environmental record, also said he would do a cost-benefit analysis of money spent to kill coyotes, prairie dogs, and other animals, which would provide ammunition to end these practices. He also noted that audits can inform communities of the financial risks that can be incurred from activities like fracking without proper regulation.
Public Regulation Commission District 4: Janene Yazzie
Janene Yazzie’s commitment toward protecting the public’s interests, protecting environmental and human rights, and ability to advance indigenous rights is exemplified in her advocacy for social, economic and environmental justice.
Yazzie has been an active member of the Chaco Coalition working to help protect Greater Chaco residents and land from the negative impacts of the fracking boom.
She has a deep and high-level understanding of how best to represent, elevate and incorporate the public’s concerns into meaningful policies that are good for all New Mexicans.
Yazzie demonstrated flexibility, clarity and openness in answering questions, as well as a thoughtful analysis of the energy-water nexus and the need to minimize the use of water in energy production. She also emphasized the need to carefully measure the economic impact on ratepayers when making decisions on energy issues.
She demonstrates a strong work ethic and advocates for thoroughly researching issues before deciding on them.
Yazzie worked at Pine Ridge to develop customized smart-energy solutions. She provides leadership in balancing the intersection of customer cost with energy solutions and economic development. It is for these reasons that Sierra Club endorses Janene Yazzie for Public Regulation Commissioner in District 4, which covers northwest and parts of central New Mexico.
— By Miya King-Flaherty
Sandoval County Commission: Margaret Cassidy-Baca
So I called Margaret Cassidy-Baca to tell her that we had endorsed her, and I got about a minute into my standard spiel when she interrupted me to tell me about her concern that the Pueblos were not being adequately consulted about the new Sandoval County oil and gas ordinance being drafted that would regulate fracking. A long conversation ensued.
This is what Margaret is like. She is focused on the issues, and she is especially passionate about inclusion and cultural sensitivity in this very diverse county.
Regulation of fracking is the big environmental issue in Sandoval County. Companies are trying to frack there in the Albuquerque Basin, but the Albuquerque Basin is full of faults and fractures that will allow for the easy passage of pollutants into the groundwater. If fracking is allowed, pollution of the groundwater is all but inevitable.
Fracking regulations are routinely challenged, so they need to be carefully drafted to discourage and withstand legal challenges. Margaret is not just an environmentalist. She is a smart, hard-working, detail-oriented attorney. She is the person we need on the Sandoval County Commission to help to ensure that we have enforceable fracking regulation. The Sierra Club is proud to endorse Margaret Cassidy Baca for Sandoval County Commission.
— By Richard Barish
Santa Fe County Commission: Rudy Garcia
Long-time land-use manager Rudy Garcia is a dedicated local professional who is thoroughly familiar with all aspects of county planning and the need to carefully weigh all impacts of new developments on water, infrastructure and quality of life in Santa Fe County:
In his 26 years in local government, Garcia has worked in land use and was a project manager in the former Project and Facilities Management Department’s Open Space/Trails Division, identifying culturally and environmentally significant properties that were acquired to preserve their individual characteristics. He was also involved in the drafting of Santa Fe County’s regulations for oil and gas.
— By Teresa Seamster
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Paid for by Sierra Club Political Committee and Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.