Endorsements in contested 2020 NM primary races

The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter’s lineup of environmental champions is below (only contested primary races are listed). To vote safely from home, request a mail ballot here. Check your registration and what districts you’re in at nmvote.org. The candidates below are running in the Democratic primary.

U.S. House of Representatives

District 3 (Northern New Mexico): Teresa Leger Fernandez

From attending Head Start as a little girl in Las Vegas, N.M., to her outstanding professional and educational achievements, Leger Fernandez understands the challenges and opportunities of her district. Growing up as one of 8 siblings, she exemplifies the best of Northern New Mexico — rooted in the land that nourishes us, but dreaming of and achieving victories for poor and underserved communities, including pueblos. Leger Fernandez’s long history of community involvement spans such diverse issues as voting rights, housing, immigration, women’s issues and environmental matters. She was a commissioner of Las Acequias de Chupadero.

New Mexico State Senate

Senate District 4 (McKinley, Cibola, San Juan counties): Noreen Kelly

Kelly is a Navajo elder who lives in Church Rock and has a long history of community involvement. She works with Strong Families on reproductive justice and domestic violence; she is a board member of two Native schools and has been active for 20 years in Diné Elders for Peace and other community organizations. She has a strong environmental ethic. Her opponent, Sen. George Muñoz, has a poor 47% environmental voting record and has opposed funding of early childhood programs for New Mexico children by using just 1% of the $20 billion state Permanent Fund. Kelly is committed to supporting Gov. Lujan Grisham in investing in New Mexico communities for the future.

District 5 (Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe counties): Leo Jaramillo

Jaramillo stood with neighbors to protect the Ortega and Garcia acequias in the San Pedro area of Española, which were being threatened by a national fast-food chain. The chain wanted to move into a residential area but didn’t have a plan on protecting the acequias. They stopped the project. As a county commissioner, he supported a resolution to ensure that state agencies have the authority to hold oil and gas companies accountable for violations of the Oil and Gas Act.

District 8 (Colfax, Guadalupe, Harding, Mora, Quay, San Miguel, Taos counties): Pete Campos

Campos has been a solid environmental vote in the state Senate, and he is committed to making bold decisions to help our state thrive and eliminate the global emissions that adversely affect New Mexicans’ overall health and that of future generations. Campos has served his district, which covers Colfax, Guadalupe, Harding, Mora, Quay, San Miguel and Taos counties, since 1991.

District 9 (Corrales, E. Rio Rancho, Bernalillo in Bernalillo County, Sandoval County): Brenda McKenna

McKenna, of Nambé Pueblo, was taught from an early age that protection of our planet is part and parcel of life. She is a field representative for U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who endorses her candidacy for this open seat being vacated by Sen. John Sapien. McKenna is a longtime volunteer for Wildlife Conservation Advocacy Southwest, Prairie Dog Pals and Hawks Aloft, as well as our own Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter. McKenna’s advocacy helped outlaw coyote-killing contests in New Mexico.

District 10 (Bernalillo, Sandoval — Los Ranchos, South Rio Rancho): Katy Duhigg

Duhigg is a consumer-protection attorney and former Albuquerque city clerk.  As clerk, Duhigg worked to ensure fair and ethical elections, including enacting public financing reforms, setting clear campaign ethics guidelines, and increasing disclosure requirements for elected officials. She is also a former vice president of Common Cause New Mexico.

District 17 (Albuquerque East Central Ave area): Mimi Stewart

Few elected officials have championed our climate, wildlife, drinking water and clean air more consistently than Sen. Stewart. She sponsored renewal of job-creating residential and business solar tax credits for years —  until they passed both chambers for the third time and were signed into law by Gov. Lujan Grisham this year. Another of her longtime efforts was rewarded when her Wildlife Trafficking Act passed this year.

District 20 (Albuquerque Tramway Blvd. and Chelwood Park areas): Rebecca Stair

Stair was one of the most knowledgeable and energetic candidates we interviewed. She has a record of nourishing our precious lands and waters, from supporting green infrastructure to introducing carbon offsets into the New Mexico film industry. She is enthusiastic about innovating healthy, harmonious and thriving ecologies and economies in New Mexico.

District 28 (Catron, Grants, Socorro): Siah Correa Hemphill

Correa Hemphill is a progressive champion, educator and working mom. Her experience as a special-education teacher will bring a voice deeply connected with vulnerable populations to the Senate. She will be a strong voice for environmental values in Southwest New Mexico, continuing the leadership that Howie Morales began in this district. She is running against Sen. Gabriel Ramos, who backed the expensive and dangerous plan to divert the Gila River and has voted with Republicans to cut the Working Families tax credit.

District 30 (Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, Valencia): Pam Cordova

Cordova is a retired educator and former president of the New Mexico Federation of Democratic Women. She is a longtime Rio Grande Chapter member. Along with action on climate and education, Pam supports the creation of a public health insurance option for New Mexicans. Cordova is running against Sen. Clemente Sanchez, who has opposed funding early-childhood education from the $20 billion state Permanent Fund and has blocked critical environmental legislation from being heard in the Corporations Committee, which he chairs.

District 35 (Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra, Doña Ana): Neomi Martinez-Parra

Martinez-Parra is a strong supporter of access to our public lands and preservation of our parks, monuments, and wild places for future generations. She is an educator who served as vice chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party and as a member of the Democratic Party’s Platform and Resolutions Committee. Martinez-Parra is challenging Sen. John Arthur Smith, who has repeatedly blocked funding for early-childhood education from the $20 billion Permanent Fund and sided with Republicans to  block important environmental legislation.

District 38 (Southwest Doña Ana County — Las Cruces, Anthony): Carrie Hamblen

Our chapter knows Carrie Hamblen well from her help in winning designation as a national monument for Organ Mountains Desert Peaks. But she has served Southern New Mexico in so many ways: as the morning news anchor and operations manager at KRWG public radio, as an instructor at NMSU, and as the CEO/president of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. She is board president of the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope and member of PFLAG Las Cruces and Southern NM PRIDE. Hamblen’s opponent, Mary Kay Papen, has blocked permanent funding for early-childhood programs and voted to keep cruel and senseless coyote-killing contests legal. It’s time for a new voice for Doña Ana County.

New Mexico House of Representatives

District 13 (Albuquerque Southwest Mesa): Rep. Patricia Roybal-Caballero

For years, Rep. Roybal-Caballero has championed legislation to make solar energy affordable and accessible to everyone. She perseveres to see progressive legislation through to the finish line. Her record shows a commitment to standing up for New Mexicans’ health and resources.

District 14 (Bernalillo  (Southwest/Bridge Blvd): Rep. Miguel Garcia

Rep. Garcia, who has been representing Bernalillo County in the Legislature since 1997, has an exemplary voting score of 96 percent from Conservation Voters New Mexico. He is consistently supportive of climate and justice issues.

District 17 (Bernalillo (Near North Valley): Rep. Debbie Armstrong

Rep. Armstrong chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee and believes that a healthy environment is key to a healthy state. She is a longtime health-care advocate serving her third term in the state House and has worked for 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division.

District 27 (Albuquerque Northeast Heights): Rep. Marian Matthews

Rep. Matthews proudly voted for legislation important to the climate and wildlife in her first legislative session this year, re-establishing the residential solar tax credit and enacting the Energy Grid Modernization Roadmap. As a legislator she’ll fight to ensure that state government responds effectively to climate change.

District 40 (Colfax, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel): Roger Montoya

Roger Montoya was named a CNN Hero in 2019 for his role in co-founding Moving Arts Española. “I share our rural and Native communities’ deep connection to what’s most important ­— our land and water,” Montoya told us. He showed a strong commitment to stewarding our resources for future generations.

District 42 (Taos County): Kristina Ortez

Ortez has been a conservation advocate for nearly 17 years, starting as a wilderness advocate for the California Wild Heritage Campaign and then working in New Mexico for the Sierra Club to expand outdoor recreational and learning opportunities for children and youth, with a focus on communities of color. She serves now as Taos Land Trust executive director.

District 45 (Santa Fe): Linda Serrato

Serrato worked on natural resources for U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. Her campaign refuses fossil-fuel funding, and Serrato believes we must diversify our state’s revenue, defend our land, air, and water and end the false choice between a good education and a sustainable future for our working families.

District 50 (Santa Fe, Bernalillo, Torrance, Valencia counties): Rep. Matthew McQueen

For Rep. McQueen, conservation has been a lifelong organizing principle. He is a standard-bearer for health, climate and air and water protections in the state House. As an attorney, he frequently represents nonprofits (his legal specialty is conservation easements), and he chairs the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee.

District 65 (San Juan, Rio Arriba, Sandoval): Rep. Derrick Lente

Rep. Lente, serving Sandoval, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties, is a staunch advocate for his constituents and for conservation. He listens to everyone and governs in a thoughtful, civil manner. He has been a strong ally in the community effort to protect Greater Chaco families and resources from the damages of oil and gas fracking.

District 70 (Santa Fe, San Miguel, Torrance): Anita Gonzales

Gonzales is running for the San Miguel County-area seat vacated when Rep. Tomas Salazar retired. An acequia commissioner, Gonzales values community and culture and promises to preserve our lands and resources. She supported the Energy Transition Act, emphasizing that the law help address the impact our needed energy transition has on communities.

County and local races

Bernalillo County Commission: Frank Baca and Adriann Barboa 

Adriann Barboa established Strong Families NM of Forward Together, a multi-sector, multi-issue organization that holds environmental justice as a core value. She mobilized voices against uranium-mining bills and to stop fracking in Greater Chaco. Adriann’s primary issue is reproductive justice, where she worked with an epidemiologist to show how Bernalillo County’s Superfund sites correlated with maternal health outcomes.

Frank Baca is a retired attorney and organizer in the South Valley. His community organizing has focused on making sure that the people of the South Valley are involved and heard on decisions that affect their lives. Baca says he “can think of no more important issue” than the threats to our environment. Because of personal family experience with cancer, he is particularly concerned about pollution issues.

Santa Fe County Commission: Hank Hughes

Early in his career, Hughes worked as a water-resources specialist helping communities in New York address groundwater contamination. As a Santa Fe County commissioner, he wants to pursue renewable-energy projects to make Santa Fe a carbon-neutral county as quickly as possible. He promises to be vigilant about protecting our land, air and water from potential contamination from mining and overdevelopment.

Grant County Commission: Harry Browne

Harry is a long-time environmental activist who co-founded the Gila Resources Information Project, a community-based environmental organization in Silver City.  He served as executive director of GRIP for seven years, working with the Sierra Club and others to enforce the state’s Mining and Water Quality Acts at the Chino and Tyrone copper mines, achieving landmark reclamation plans that were vastly more protective of groundwater and wildlife than what the mines had proposed. He also co-founded the Aldo Leopold Charter School, where issues of sustainability are woven into the curriculum.

Sandoval County Clerk:  Bob Perls

Perls is a former state representative, and with his deep knowledge about electoral matters, he is exactly the kind of person we want as a county clerk.  He is the founder and executive director of New Mexico Open Elections, a non-profit focused on increasing voter turnout. Bob wants to be a leader in the county clerks association to ensure they advocate for appropriate election reform measures. Bob’s founded and led a technology company for 25 years and has a background in cybersecurity, including counterintelligence training with the State Department, and he has the skills both to administer elections and ensure the security of our electoral process.

Santa Fe County Clerk: Katharine Clark

We have some incredibly talented and accomplished county clerk candidates this year, and Katharine is a shining example. Katharine has degrees in neuroscience and moral/political psychology and is an expert in the psychology of voter turnout.  She has held numerous positions in the Democratic Party dealing with voter registration and voter turnout and has worked in electoral politics and managing campaigns for 20 years.  Katharine ran a small business, ran a successful campaign to protect affordable housing, has served as a police review commissioner, was a union organizer, and worked on clothing and aid drives for the homeless.

Doña Ana County Clerk: Amanda López Askin

Amanda has served as Doña Ana County Clerk since September of 2018, when the Doña Ana County Commission chose her to fill an unexpired term. Since her appointment, she successfully administered three elections. A lifelong resident of Doña Ana county with a doctorate from New Mexico State University, Amanda previously served as an NMSU regent. Amanda serves on the boards of ACTion Program for Animals, which advocates for animal welfare, and La Piñon, which provides services related to sexual violence and child abuse.

Santa Fe County Treasurer: Lucinda Marker

With over 20 years experience in investment management coupled with thousands of hours volunteering for Santa Fe nonprofits, Marker brings a solid combination of knowledge, skills and dedication to the treasurer’s position.  She is committed to collaborating with the County Commission to advance socially and environmentally responsible investing of the county’s $240 million portfolio.

Valencia County Clerk: Aurora Chavez

Aurora began her career at the Valencia County Bureau of Elections in 2008 and worked her way up to her current position as Chief Deputy Clerk. She has assisted in over 26 elections to date had had a deep knowledge of how to fairly and effectively administer elections from her long experience. She speaks of her commitment to a fair and transparent election process and to the importance of continued outreach to unregistered voters and accessibility to means of voter registration.

Paid for by Sierra Club Political Committee, www.sierraclub.org, Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club Political Action Committee and Rio Grande Sierra Club Healthy Communities. Not authorized by any campaign or campaign committee.
Endorsements in contested 2020 NM primary races