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Candidate Focus 2020: NM Senate Priorities

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New Mexico Senate District 9

Brenda Grace Agoyothé McKenna

Priorities and Promised Actions


First, we must fully fund programs for early education, K-12, and higher education.  Second, we must put a premium on recruiting, training, and retaining quality teachers and other educational employees.  Study after study shows that the most significant factor on a student’s ability to achieve is the quality of her teacher.  I will support compensation for our state’s educators that reflects their achievement, dedication to their students, and the appreciation and respect they earn everyday and earn.

NM educators advocated for a 4% raise this year.  I will defend them and stand strong against their raise being considered for a reduction.  NM students and educators are one of our most important resources and our state budget needs to reflect this. 

Energy and Environment

As a tribal member, I feel especially passionate about the disproportionate impacts of the fossil fuel industry.  I support the 2019 bill to create a state-level NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), which would provide common-sense procedures to ensure that citizens understand the environmental impact of proposed, state-funded projects.  I also strongly support the Energy Transition Act, including its clean energy and worker protection aspects that provide financial relief and job retraining to families impacted by the closure of fossil fuel industries.  I also support proposals to ban fracking and drilling near culturally or environmentally sensitive areas, such as Chaco Canyon. 

Business, Economy and Revenue Sources

We need a clear strategy to reduce our dependence on the boom-and-bust cycle of oil and gas.  This means aggressively expanding outdoor recreation and cannabis, promoting local arts and food production, growing drought-tolerant crops, supporting clean energy jobs, film and tourism, and other industries that take advantage of New Mexico’s strengths.


Ben Rodefer

Priorities and Promised Actions


I believe we have not only a constitutional but indeed a moral responsibility to provide a quality education to all young New Mexicans. This state faces so many challenges: significant wealth and income disparity, health care disparity, education disparity, opportunity disparity, etc. I believe the single greatest thing we can do in addressing all of these disparities is to meaningfully improve our education system. We need to rewrite our high school curriculum which is still essentially stuck in the dark ages. Modern and more diverse class offerings will serve to greater engage and nurture our students. We need to support the arts as well as teach financial and media literacy. We have to get more of our scarce education budget down into the schools and classrooms to support our teachers and students.

Energy and Environment

I am the only candidate in this race with prior elected experience and a proven record. I served while  in the NM House on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee where I was a champion for conservation and environmental issues, protecting our wildlife, habitats, clean air and water. I was deemed so effective in the NM House that Governor Richardson asked me to carry his Cap & Trade bill to begin taking steps to address climate change. I was also the President (twice) of the NM Renewable Energy Industries Association, helping run the sector responsible for the greatest job growth in New Mexico over the past quarter century. 


Obama’s State USDA Director Terry Brunner has said “Ben’s leadership was crucial to our recovering from the Great Recession.  As we face a daunting post-pandemic recovery we need Ben once again to help heal our economy and community.”  I am ready to get down to the hard work of rebuilding our economy. I have a proven record of advocating for local businesses over big out-of-state corporations. We are going to need a multi-pronged approach to recover and rebuild. There is no magic simple solution. We need to invest in infrastructure, improve our schools, encourage new clean energy development/jobs, continue to support New Mexico small businesses, and diversify our economy.

New Mexico Senate District 10

Alan Hall 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Alan Hall, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Alan Hall

Priorities and Promised Actions


My most immediate priority is to repeal the 1969 statute that criminalizes abortion. Politicians who believe that this can wait until Roe v. Wade is overturned are suffering from a grave lack of imagination. I believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. “Rare” is important, because it recognizes the moral issue in abortion. Ignoring that moral issue has alienated huge numbers of religious voters and, more than anything else, has fueled the Republican ascendancy, culminating in the election of Trump. I strongly support meaningful sex education and making contraception free and readily available to everyone.

Energy and Environment

I intend to sponsor a bill to encourage the rapid construction of power lines to carry wind energy from our eastern plains to Arizona and California, both as an economic development measure, and as a necessary component of an all-electric economy. Without more transmission capacity, there will be no more wind farms.  I intend to argue strenuously against the popular prejudice against power lines. They may be unsightly, but so are cell phone towers (however they may be camouflaged).  We simply cannot fight global warming without a huge expansion of power transmission capacity. 

Business, Economy and Revenue Sources

We are in an economic crisis. Oil and gas revenues will, in all likelihood, never fully recover. We must effectively diversify our economy. With California too crowded, Arizona too hot, and the southern U.S. too humid, New Mexico should be the most popular state for retirement.  To induce out-of-state retirees to move to New Mexico, I will support a complete exemption of social security benefits from the state income tax. This will cost $70 million, which can be made up in part by a modest increase in the top income tax bracket. 

Katy Duhigg 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Katy Duhigg, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Katy Duhigg

Priorities and Promised Actions


As a State Senator, I will fight to make health care affordable and accessible to everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions. In addition, I was endorsed by Planned Parenthood for my commitment to protect women’s reproductive health. I would vote to repeal the long-dormant NM 1969 law that outlaws abortions. I support the legalization of adult-use marijuana with responsible regulation. I support the aid-in-dying legislation that has been proposed. As a State Senator, I would advocate for incentives for healthcare professionals to work in rural areas on NM, and I would work to lower prescription costs for New Mexicans.


I have been endorsed by AFSCME, the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, the American Federation of Teachers-NM, the Carpenters Union, and several other organizations for my commitment to the hard-working New Mexicans who are members of these labor unions. I will always support collective bargaining, paid sick leave, fair labor agreements, and I’ll fight any attempts to privatize critical state functions.

Business, Economy and Revenue Sources

I believe that all New Mexicans deserve a living wage and that healthcare is a critical right. The Legislature must focus on economic diversification for our state. We must focus on local, small businesses, ensuring they are able to re-open and thrive under a new normal. We need to address GRT pyramiding, the ultimate burden of which is borne by New Mexico households, and is a hidden tax with regressive implications. We must develop and implement a strategic plan for growing other industries (value-added agriculture, healing/health care services, etc) to grow and stabilize the non-fossil fuel sectors.

New Mexico Senate District 17

Shannon Robinson 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Shannon Robinson, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Shannon Robinson

Priorities and Promised Actions


Protecting a Woman’s right to choose her reproductive decisions is now paramount as states like Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas make abortion medical procedures a crime. We will have to build an underground railroad to assist women who are seeking relief from this tyranny.    Medicare for All is now proving to be a necessity as our healthcare plan. Expanding Medicaid and Medicare funding levels is the key to implementing the service availability for New Mexicans. I sponsored legislation licensing nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. My bill to increase doctors’ compensation failed, but I’ll try again. New Mexicans are hurting.

Ethics and Politics

I always speak about the Rule of 22 in the Senate. You can argue in caucus but once you walk onto the Floor, every one of the mighty 22 must vote together. That eliminates the coalitions that ruin our party’s platform.    In order to get the sinister smell of money out of government, you first have to eliminate money from your campaign. We do not take money from corporations, lobbyists, unions, or non-profits. It is important for young people to see they don’t have to be beholding to big money or government to run for office.

Business and the Economy

New Mexicans are hurting now financially, culturally, physically and spiritually. Our recovery is the first priority. We must get off the dependence of oil. The Green New Deal can be accomplished. Workers deserve twenty dollars an hour living wage. While a Senator, I increased the Venture Capital Fund by $600 million. That money is being used by the state to bridge the gap in state funding, feed people, and stimulate business development. My film finance bill was a success. I am an organizer to win for Democrats including new young voters who “felt the Bern” and now seek direction. 

Mimi Stewart 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Mimi Stewart, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Mimi Stewart

Priorities and Promised Actions

Business, Economy, and Revenue Sources

The coronavirus has shined a light on what many of us have known for awhile and that is the need to improve the conditions of working families in NM. Paid family and medical leave; a living wage; more affordable, better healthcare that includes mental health services; and improvements in our unemployment system are all a necessary focus in the years ahead.  Working families are our first responders, our law enforcement, our teachers, and all of our healthcare workers.  These are the folks that make our society work and our society needs to improve their working conditions.

Energy and Environment

I sponsored the Energy Transition Act, which moved NM on a path toward high renewable energy standards, calling for 50% energy from renewables in 2030 and 80% by 2040. In addition, we have put our solar tax credit back in place to encourage and help subsidize solar energy for consumers, small commercial and small agricultural operations.  This push towards more clean energy is driving companies to NM and will help create more high-paying jobs along with the cleaner air and water that will come with less methane and fossil fuels.


After years of neglect in providing sufficient funding for our diverse students, NM is back on the right track, with a focus on more funding for at-risk students, and a solid recognition that we need more teachers that reflect our student’s backgrounds.  Our own research shows we need more evidence-based teaching strategies to improve reading and math, along with a focus on school climate and social-emotional learning to educate all of our students that come to school with different needs.  Our multicultural state needs a multicultural curriculum, with indigenous languages being prevalent. 

New Mexico Senate District 20

Martin Hickey 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Martin Hickey, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Martin Hickey

Priorities and Promised Actions


 If elected, I would be the only doctor in the Senate Chambers. I have had over 25 years of experience as a clinical physician and health system administrator in New Mexico, focused on creating access to care for those who have been disenfranchised. This gives me a unique perspective and the experience necessary to address health and healthcare. My top three priorities include expanding access to primary care; investing in behavioral health and substance abuse programs; and removing copays for  generic chronic disease drugs to help halt the spiraling cost of prescription drugs.


Research shows that investing in early childhood education is critical for the long-term success of students. I believe 80% of 3- and 4-year-olds who want PreK, should have access to high-quality, full-day PreK. We must also focus on investing in proactive and aggressive recruitment, retention, and training measures for all educational employees.As the state works to balance the budget, we must not cut early childhood programs. These investments will pay off 13 to 1 in unnecessary future health and law enforcement costs and will increase state revenues as our children become major contributors to the state economy.

Business, Economy and Revenue Sources

Our state is rich in cultural diversity; an amazing landscape; abundant wind and sun; and hardworking, creative people. We should maximize these strengths with new, better-paying jobs in clean energy, technology, film, healthcare administration, and eco-tourism. Through creative incentive programs and partnerships we can expand our economy, be attractive to new companies, generate better paying jobs, and thus enlarge the tax base to provide critical services and high quality education. We must also make this a state that supports entrepreneurship, particularly by young people, and attract capital and experienced start-up individuals / companies from other states and countries.

Rebecca Stair 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Rebecca Stair, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Rebecca Stair

Priorities and Promised Actions


Healthcare is even more foundational than a right—it’s necessary, like food and water. You cannot exercise free speech from a hospital bed, breathing via respirator. Our human population is our primary infrastructure. To create a robust economy, create a healthy population. So I support universal health care coverage.

NMHSA is homegrown to NM and could pass in January 2021. It eliminates bureaucratic inefficiencies; deftly handles our unique attributes like scarce rural health care resources, Indian Health Service, and heavy VA use; and mandates parity for mental health. We should not be profiting off human bodies.

Business, Economy and Revenue Sources

Our state’s entire undergirding fiscal scaffold, including the constitution, is over a century old and based heavily on extraction. With the crashing oil market, collapsing economy and neglected foundations revealed by COVID, it’s time to craft a more diverse and therefore more stable, resilient, and equitable economy.

As Senator, I will support foundationals like: vocational education; job training in renewables (especially now during COVID shutdown); 21st century infrastructure like internet, local manufacturing (maker’s shops), and green building codes; upgraded GRT to help local businesses compete; a possible “Space Office,” akin to the Film Office, to help coordinate and grow our space/aviation sector; a state bank

Public Safety

Having worked in many NM police jurisdictions, jails, and prisons and in our diverse neighborhoods, from estates to meth houses, I have learned about crime from many perspectives. Expecting police to stop all crime is like expecting the emergency room to stop all disease. It doesn’t address the root causes. It’s inefficient, expensive, and unfair to our officers. 

We must together simultaneously address all root causes of crime, and therefore support families; schools and teachers; jobs and training; mental health; tougher and gentler sentencing; more productive inmate jail time (mandatory drug treatment); common-sense gun reform; and support our police.

Idalia Lechuga-Tena 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Idalia Lechuga-Tena, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Idalia Lechuga-Tena

Priorities and Promised Actions

International Relations

As the only minority-majority border state, we must revolutionize and transform our state on an International platform. In tough economic times, we must be creative. If elected, I will immediately start a committee to begin the process to import prescription medication from México at a significant low cost for all New Mexicans. As a dual citizen of México and the USA, I plan to be the lead and fight to make prescription drugs affordable for our seniors and eliminate high prescription drugs costs so we are not forced to choose between our medicine and food on our kitchen table. 


As the first naturalized woman from México to serve in the NM House of Representatives in the history of our state, immigration is dear to me. We are a border state. I spent time volunteering on the border assisting women and children with their credible fear hearings when seeking asylum in the US. I saw the trauma refugees encountered while on their journey to the USA; victims of human trafficking; children separated from their mothers; young women who were raped by gangs in Central America. If elected, I will lead in the creation of an Immigration Committee that will work with the DPBC and leaders throughout our state to create an attainable and humane path to citizenship. 

Business, Economy and Revenue Resources

We must realize New Mexico’s renewable energy potential and maximize the creation of wind and solar. The passage of the Energy Transition Act last year was a positive bold step. We must make sure that the companies developing these resources are training our children for the workforce of the future and providing good jobs that can help our economy thrive and provide good wages for our working families. Climate change and global warming are real. I will sponsor the first ever Mother Earth Legislation which has been adopted by multiple countries. We must protect Mother Earth for our children to love and enjoy. 

Nancy Savage 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate
Nancy Savage, 2020 New Mexico Senate Candidate

Nancy Savage

Priorities and Promised Actions


Most registered Democrats in District 20 are 50+ years of age, and we have lots of parents with children living at home here too.  Therefore, I fully support the DPBC Healthcare platform, especially those parts emphasizing community preventive care, comprehensive family planning (including evidence-based sex education in public school), bringing drug costs down, decriminalizing addictions, providing enhanced behavioral health services, and the guarantee of full access to quality care for everyone in New Mexico. 


Inadequate education lies at the heart of social problems.  I support the DPBC education platform, specifically including education for effective citizenship in our multi-cultural society, support for STEM learning, strong vocational education options and rich opportunities for learning in the arts and humanities.   We must demand that our public schools meet Supreme Court requirements, allow our teachers to do what they know to do, and pay them for the profound value of their contribution to our society.  I would include education and behavioral health in legislation to decriminalize mental illness and close private prisons. 

Energy & Environment

The Energy & Environment platform is critical to the interests of voters in my district.  I support it.  However, it does not go far enough.  It should make stronger commitments to ecological values in land use planning, and otherwise in moving our region systematically toward a sustainable way of life.  Preserving public ownership of state land is important, and so is protection of flora and fauna that are a part of the urban ecosystem.  We simply must enhance our ability to respond to mounting crises that global warming and continuing ecosystem destruction will produce.