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Candidate Focus 2020: NM House of Representatives Priorities

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New Mexico House District 13

Edwina Pina Cisneros 2020 New Mexico House Candidate
Edwina Pina Cisneros, 2020 New Mexico House Candidate

Edwina Cisneros



Education is the most important issue to District 13/West Mesa. Many of our schools are overcrowded. If elected, I would support legislation that provides more funding to hire additional teachers to help ease the high student to teacher ratio in our District. I would also support legislation that would allow for free Trade School/Vocational and/or Apprenticeship Programs for high school students and recent graduates. I would also support legislation that allows for free apprenticeship programs for high school and recent graduates.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Transportation and Infrastructure are vital to District 13. On the West Mesa, our roads are in disrepair, we do not have adequate bike and walking paths. Many of our streets do not have proper sidewalks and street lighting. If elected, I would support legislation that requires housing developers to provide for adequate street lighting and sidewalks before construction can begin on undeveloped properties. District 13 has many opportunities for job growth and that will not be possible if the roads are in disrepair. 

Public Safety

Violence, Domestic Violence and property crimes are prevalent in District 13. If elected, I want work to ensure that these acts of violence decrease and that programs are in place to assist the victims of crime. After meeting with so many residents of District 13, many of them relayed situations of crimes committed against themselves or their neighbors. I would strongly support legislation that offers additional support to victims of these crimes. I also believe it would be essential to offer additional support and shelter initiatives for victims of Domestic Violence.

Patricia Roybal Caballero


Energy & Environment

As State Representative & primary sponsor of the Energy Transition Act & the Community Solar Act & the bill to convert school buses from diesel to electric, I plan to continue to fight fiercely for legislation which embeds in law clean air, water, land & clean renewable energy policies with enforcement measures & measures to execute a plan to democratize energy access & opportunity for a safe & healthy environment. We have the right to live in a healthy environment & the responsibility to protect our environment for our youth’s future. As a lifelong community & labor organizer in poor communities of color, I know they are disproportionately & negatively impacted by climate disruption, pollution which is why I’ve dedicated my life to working for clean air, land, water & for clean renewable energy.  


As State Representative I am Vice Chair of  Labor, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. As a lifelong labor & community organizer at all levels of union representation from shop steward to international representative in the UFW-AFL/CIO, Amalgamated Workers of America, AFSCME, AFT, & United Steelworkers, I am committed to ensuring all workers have the right to organize & bargain collectively for safe & fair working conditions. I have fought hard against Right to Work legislation. I believe workers have the right to affordable healthcare access & benefits, including child care & affordable retirement plans, paid family leave, equal pay & fair protections & processes for all.


As State Representative I am primary sponsor of the legislation to prohibit local law enforcement working in tandem with ICE & the bill calling for the closure of private prison systems used to detain immigrants. I represent the House in the CSG/NCSL Border Legislative Caucus and I work with the NM Dream Team & allies. Families must be kept united & pathways to citizenship strengthens our economy & we have to demand humane & non-discriminatory immigration systems. My 45 + years experience as an immigration rights activist gives me the experience & compassion needed to ensure & enact immigrant & refugee rights legislation.

New Mexico House District 14

Miguel P Garcia 2020 New Mexico House Candidate
Miguel P Garcia, 2020 New Mexico House Candidate

Miguel P Garcia



It is important that the Court have oversight monitors observing the progress of the four student groups that the Yazzie Martinez law suit contested that there were constitutional violations in providing these students with a sufficient public education.  These student populations are economically disadvantaged students, Native Americans, English learners, and students with disabilities.

It is just as important to provide adequate public school funding for the professional and intellectual development of our students and staffs.  Many schools in my District lack certified personnel and instruction is conducted by substitute teachers.  This is not acceptable.

Business, Economy, And Revenue Streams

We must help local businesses grow by rewarding them for creating high paying jobs.  A boost to the economy is continued funding of infrastructure projects like road, sewer, and drainage improvements.  New Mexico owned small business start-ups would have a better chance of success if we created a staggered state gross receipts tax for their first five years.

New Mexico has a higher per capita of scientists and high tech companies.  We need to expand the technology transfer from our labs and universities into the private sector and incentivize these start-ups to grow and prosper in New Mexico.


A priority that the Legislature cannot evade is the establishment of a home grown Marshall Plan for a post Corona Virus pandemic that rebuilds our economy, public institutions, health delivery systems, and most important that develops a Catastrophic Disaster Response Commission that year round builds networks and infrastructures of medical professionals and first responders in preparation of health, natural, and man-made disasters in the future.  Such a Commission will assure us that the Corona Virus deaths of our fellow New Mexicans were not in vain.

New Mexico House District 17

Deborah A Armstrong 2020 New Mexico House Candidate
Deborah A Armstrong, 2020 New Mexico House Candidate

Deborah A. Armstrong



Given the current pandemic and my background in healthcare and that I chair Health & Human Services Committee, healthcare is my top priority and where I can have the greatest impact. I have sponsored Health Security Act, Drug Important Act, Contraception Coverage, End-of-Life Options Act, among many others and will continue to sponsor legislation or promote implementation that provides universal coverage, access, affordability, quality, promotes public health and fully protects reproductive rights. I also frequently sponsor scope of practice and health insurance legislation and am the primary advocate for medical cannabis, as the law is named for my daughter. .

Business, Economy and Revenue Sources

Given the current pandemic and oil market crash, this must be a priority area. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to protect our healthcare sector, expand renewable energy, support small business, invest in industry sectors that will create jobs, expand broadband statewide, educate and train our workforce and support working families by providing for childcare assistance and early childhood education, paid family/sick leave, living wage, and an equitable tax system, among other things. As the state contemplates budget adjustments, given the unprecedented loss in revenue, and re-opening businesses and schools, we must do so thoughtfully while protecting public health.

Criminal Justice Reform

As a member of Judiciary Committee, I have the opportunity to advance public policies supporting all aspects of criminal justice reform, including probation & parole, community diversion and reintegration programs and specialty courts. I have co-sponsored legalizing recreational cannabis. I am a strong advocate for access to behavioral health and substance use disorder programs, as a prevention measure to break the cycle of crime and involvement with the justice system. I am also an advocate of access to appropriate medical and behavioral healthcare for those who are incarcerated, including women-specific healthcare, and support funding for legal services and public-defender.

Laura E Lucero Y Ruiz De Gutierrez 2020 New Mexico House Candidate
Laura E Lucero Y Ruiz De Gutierrez, 2020 New Mexico House Candidate

Laura E. Lucero Y Ruiz de Gutierrez


Energy and the Environment

  Real climate leadership rises from the grassroots and people power to build a fossil fuel world.  Now more than ever our state needs to invest in a “JUST Transition” plan. We see now how a pandemic is showing us the impacts of ignoring the environment and how it impacts our health, the planet and wildlife. I would use my power to request the state invest in a “Just Transition” study and a HJM workgroup. I would pursue a dynamic planning process that would build upon previous reports and that it is inclusive of the people. I would build bridges with farmers, reservations, youth and other community members for their direction and allow their wisdom to tell me what it is they want included in the “JUST Transition.”


New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students. As determined by the Yazzie Martinez decision, it is clear that we must take action to ensure that our students are being protected and provided with a meaningful education.  It is critical the practice of inequitable school funding be addressed and State funding not be reduced in any area when school districts receive Impact aid. I would introduce legislation that would develop a uniform statewide system that monitors equal access of students at-risk and at the heart of the lawsuit. I understand how the road to a meaningful education can be rocky and lonely. I know that it takes courage to create change, diligence and determination.


 It is true that water is life and that our farmers, ranchers and community gardens are the heart of our state. Without them New Mexico would not be known as the “Chili Capital of the World.” It is essential and could be life-threatening if we don’t address our agricultural communities needs. Being fully engaged with the community will empower me to vigorously pursue legislation ensuring that water, farmers, ranchers and community gardens continue to be sustainable and are receiving adequate government help from our state. Our water supply and clean water access for our state remains vital to the sustainability of our state and that is why I will be at the forefront that supports the water needs of New Mexico. 

New Mexico House District 20

Meredith Dixon


Business, Economy, and Revenue Sources

Diversification of New Mexico’s economy will be as important as ever in the post-COVID reality. We must diversify our economy so that we are not as dependent on either the federal government or the oil and gas industry.  To successfully diversify, we need to leverage our sustainable competitive advantages like intellectual capital, wide open-air space, renewable technologies, and the low cost of electricity.

  • Increase funding to the New Mexico Partnership so they can recruit companies to the state
  • Increase access to capital for early and mid-stage start-ups
  • Support Community Readiness programs 
  • Continue to invest JTIP and LEDA funds


I believe that every New Mexico child should receive a high-quality education. We must provide sufficient resources to our students and educators so they can succeed.  We must work collaboratively to craft solutions that work for our students.

  • Ensure that sufficient funds are being directed to our classrooms and our at-risk students. 
  • Work to make higher education and college more affordable
  • Grow our educator pipeline through recruitment and student-loan forgiveness
  • Promote continual, self-driven professional development for all of our educators and ensure that they feel respected and fulfilled in their professions 
  • Invest in training/mentorship programs that build excellence among educators

Energy and Environment

To fight climate change and protect the environment, we must be aggressive with our renewable energy capabilities. Protecting our natural resources like clean water and air is critical.

  1. Invest in electric vehicle infrastructure, extend tax credits for electric and hybrid vehicles, and provide tax credits for residential and commercial solar panels.
  2. Increase access to distributed solar so that condominiums and other groups can lower utility costs
  3. Work with oil and gas companies to aggressively reduce methane emissions – putting money back into state coffers and helping the environment
  4. Retrofit buildings by increase building energy efficiency targets
Ilena Estrella 2020 New Mexico House Candidate
Ilena Estrella, 2020 New Mexico House Candidate

Ilena Estrella


Public Safety

As a community leader, public safety has been a top priority.  I have successfully spearheaded large district-wide community involvement mobilizing law enforcement, communities, businesses, neighbors, City and State government and more to significantly decrease crime in my district. 

Our retirees, families and children cannot thrive where they don’t feel safe.  New Mexicans can continue to be empowered by making sure trusted and proven leaders like myself continue to be in place.  I will doggedly persevere to support and further establish solid community relationships and strategies which will further enhance our safety, educational quality and opportunities, businesses and jobs, arts and culture, and much more.

Business Development

Since before the COVID-19 crisis, business development has been a priority issue for me in district 20.  Over the years, areas of blight have developed which currently present themselves as areas of opportunity moving into the post-COVID recovery.  Serious and thoughtful stimulus of businesses along historic Rt. 66 and in other areas will provide much-needed opportunities for jobs and the well-being of the greater community.

Creative encouragement of businesses which help us transition from relying on oil and gas revenues and also help to create opportunities for education at every level is fundamental to our success.  Government, with absolute transparency, will need to take a bigger role as we progress through our recovery.


Healthcare issues have been put under a microscope during the COVID-19 crisis.  I have worked in infectious disease and I understand the delivery of healthcare and the challenges that both rural and urban areas face.  New Mexico already possesses many resources and great potential for innovation in treatments and access.  Every single New Mexican deserves access to our world-class medicine and should not be burdened with preventable chronic illnesses.  Graduates from our renowned universities and colleges should be staying in NM and we can continue to be a model for America.

New Mexico House District 27

Marian Matthews 2020 New Mexico House Candidate
Marian Matthews, 2020 New Mexico House Candidate

Marian Matthews


Business, Economy, and Revenue Sources

Given the economic fallout from the coronavirus, everything must be on the table: revenues, expenditures, federal funds, permanent funds, while protecting priorities, like health care, education, job development; Focus on economy recovery, rebuilding local small businesses, closing holes in the safety net. At the same time, actually plan for diversification from oil and gas; reform the capital outlay process to provide critical infrastructure and economic development; through a public/private partnership develop a 21st century business plan; reduce silo-thinking with regional approaches; expand rural opportunities: LEDA funding, rural development hubs; charge the same severance rates as Texas.


Covid-19 is taking a devastating toll among Native Americans and nursing homes. NM has 200,000 uninsured, lack of health care professionals, a still-tattered behavioral health system, and the burden of deductibles. I serve on the House Health committee. We reduced health care costs by allowing drug importation from Canada and capping the price for insulin. I will again introduce legislation to protect first responders who suffer from PTSD and to pilot a project to treat methamphetamine addiction. More School-based Health Centers can address behavioral and physical health problems for our kids. Health care problems are societal issues, not medical.

Criminal Justice Reform

As a former criminal prosecutor and having worked at PB&J Family Services, a child abuse program that provided parenting programs in prisons, I have a special interest in criminal justice issues. Crime does not have a single cause or a single solution. We have a criminal justice system, which requires that all parts of the system function effectively, from the number of law enforcement officers on the street to anti-recidivism programs in our prisons, from a behavioral health system that provides treatment for addiction and mental illness to social services that help strengthen our families. I work on the system.

William F Orr 2020 New Mexico House Candidate
William F Orr, 2020 New Mexico House Candidate

William Orr



The cracks in the current healthcare system have become obvious with COVID-19.  As a physician with experience in many different settings, I understand what we need to do.  The fiscal analysis of the Health Security Act will be released in June.  Although not a Medicare for All or Single Payor System, it does move us closer to the goal of universal coverage and is a New Mexico specific plan.  Assuming a positive fiscal analysis, I would push for its passage.  Secondly, I would work to rebuild our Behavioral Health System through passage of the recommendations of the Interim Committee.

Energy and Environment

The economic shutdown caused by COVID-19 has again revealed the issue with oil and gas.  Other than revenue, there are no tangible benefits to offset the environmental damage.   I would propose a long-range planning study to look at developing alternative sources of revenue and alternative jobs for the oil and gas industry.  I will support continued efforts to upgrade our transmission grid and the development of renewal energy sources as a partial revenue offset to oil and gas.  I would also increase the royalties charged to oil and gas and require stronger regulations and enforcement on methane venting.  We should not incentivize drilling here.  

Ethics, Elections and Politics

Ensuring free, open and fair elections so that all can participate is the most critical element in a democracy.  COVID-19 did expose one problem with our system.  I would work to create a process to have an emergency change in the ballot procedure.  I would propose a state-wide ranked choice voting system as it encourages turn-out and saves money.  I would also propose that redistricting be done by an independent panel with legislative approval. Finally, I would propose a bill for full financial disclosure for elected officials and lobbyists.  The public needs to be able to “follow the money.”