Our 2023 endorsements: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces

Santa Fe

City Council District 1: Alma Castro
Castro’s lifelong embrace of the environment and her pledge to electrify city equipment, increase transit frequency, offer rebates for energy- and water-efficient appliances to income-constrained Santa Feans, and support gas-free new construction, won our support.

Council District 2: Michael Garcia
Councilor Garcia chairs the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Group, which has produced a pathbreaking strategic plan that can lead toward a city much safer and enjoyable to walk and bike. The Rio Grande Chapter is proud to endorse him for another term.

Council District 3: Pilar Faulkner
Pilar Faulkner is a small-business owner who was born and raised in Northern New Mexico. She pledges to protect open spaces, conserve natural resoucres, and protect Santa Fe’s  night skies by limiting light pollution.

Council District 4: Jamie Cassutt
Councilor Cassutt chairs the Metropolitan Planning Organization, where she has consistently advocated for funding projects that provide more trails and sidewalks as well as connections among them. She has been a strong advocate for equitable climate solutions.

Santa Fe Community College Board: Lina German
Lina Germann, resident of Santa Fe for 26 years, holds both a Ph.D in chemistry and an MBA.  A self described citizen lobbyist, she is a firm believer in the college emphasizing STEM education and environmental studies.  Germann prides herself as a scientist on knowing how to ask the right questions and prodding for data on trends.  She would like to put underused portions of the campus to use for better and more courses.  And Germann would welcome Santa Feans to come to the campus for monthly series of talks and workshops, especially related to the environment.

Ballot measure: Yes
The Rio Grande Chapter supports the Santa Fe affordable housing initiative, which would provide a dedicated funding source for the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund by imposing a 3% tax on the portion of the sale price of Santa Fe homes that exceeds $1 million.


City Council District 2: Joaquin Baca
Baca is running for the open seat currently held by Ike Benton, who is retiring. Baca is a hydrologist whose career has focused on both protection of water resources and riparian restoration, policy-wise as well as on the ground. Joaquin is also a current member of the MRGCD board and has held an array of public and nonprofit board positions with conservation of natural resources as the common theme.

City Council District 4: Abby Foster
We’re lucky to have Abby Foster. Foster has made it her mission to unseat a bad incumbent in City Council District 4. Foster states that “it is difficult to overstate the urgency with which humanity needs to act to mitigate climate change” and that “we need to work on electrifying everything,” exactly the kind of commitment to addressing climate that we need on Council!

City Council District 6: Nichole Rogers
A native New Mexican raising her kids in South Los Altos, Rogers is a New Mexico First board member and has worked in the City’s Office of Equity & Inclusion, experiences that led to her emphasis on collaboration between community and government. Rogers sees the need for concrete climate solutions, like providing ways for more and safer cycling, better public transport and helping with conversion to electrification.

Public Schools Board District 1: Janelle Astorga
Astorga is a young organizer who has worked on education issues from a community perspective since she was in high school, including opposing the privatization of education. She is now co-director the Learning Alliance of NM and development director at SWOP.

Public Schools Board District 2: Ronalda Tome-Warito
Tome-Warito is a Native woman who for 25 years has advocated for Native students with disabilities. She will bring a knowledgeable voice on special education and the needs of Native students to the board.

Public Schools Board District 4: Heather Benavidez
Benavidez is CEO of The Arc of New Mexico, which advocates for New Mexicans living with disabilities. She emphasizes the accurate teaching of science so that students will be prepared to address climate change and have a place where they will be able to thrive and raise their families.

Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District: Daniel Conklin, Maria Young, and Thomas Allen
Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District is little known, but administers important conservation, restoration, and urban agriculture programs. Conklin, Allen, and Young are incumbents who have demonstrated their commitment to the restoration and conservation missions of Ciudad by their support for and active participation in these programs. If you live in the district, you will be able to vote for all three.

Las Cruces

Mayor: Kasandra Gandara
Gandara says Las Cruces needs to aggressively address climate change, and the two-term councilor walks the walk. She supported the city’s climate action plan, which has allowed it receive 25% of its electricity from solar, and a plastic-bag ban, electric buses, and the City’s PowerUp Expo to educate citizens about electrification.

City Council District 1: Cassie McClure
McClure is a city Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member.  She is a cyclist who enjoys seeing the agricultural side of Las Cruces through its ditchbanks and trails. She supports moving away from fossil fuels as fast as possible.

City Council District 2: Tessa Abeyta
Incumbent Abeyta’s career has been dedicated to advocacy for children, public health and the environment. She has been a Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce board member and an advocate for the formation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

City Council District 4: Johana Bencomo
Johana Bencomo is a New Mexico Environmental Law Center board member and has been executive director for NM CAFÉ. She is proud of her votes to end use of plastic bags in Las Cruces and to create the crisis intervention team.

Las Cruces Public School Board District 1: Patrick Nolan
Nolan has been involved with the Green Chamber since he joined as executive director of the Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. He also served as union representative for American Federation of Teachers NM.

Public School Board District 4: Teresa Tenorio
An incumbent, Tenorio is proud of her votes to approve an equity and excellence policy and a gender-inclusive schools policy, as well as policy in response to the Martinez-Yazzie decision in support of at-risk students.

Public School Board District 5: Edward Frank
Frank, an incumbent, supports diversity, equity and inclusion in our schools and beyond. He believes that outcomes improve when students feel respect for their cultures in the curriculum.

Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District

Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District: Pam Cordova, Duana Draszkiewicz, Abel Camarena
Cordova, Draszkiewicz, and Camarena are incumbents who support the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area, operated by the District, and other conservation and restoration initiatives of the District.

Las Cruces municipal endorsements listings authorized and paid for by 2023 Las Cruces Sierra Club PAC, 505-232-3013.

Albuquerque City Council endorsement listings authorized and paid for by Sierra Club ABQ MFC, Susan Homer, Chairperson. Top Five Donors: Rio Grande Sierra Club Healthy Communities (sole donor). Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s campaign committee.

Santa Fe City Council and ballot measure endorsement listings authorized and paid for by Rio Grande Healthy Communities, Ray Shortridge, treasurer, 505-604-3908.

Albuquerque Public Schools Board, Las Cruces School Board, Santa Fe Community College Board, Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District, and Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District endorsement listings authorized and paid for by The Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club Political Action Committee.

Our 2023 endorsements: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces