Focus on: Julie Ford Brenning

Focus on: Julie Ford Brenning (D) vs incumbent William “Bill” Rehm (R), NM House of Representatives, District 31

By Diane McCash

Democrat Julie Brenning has a tough fight on her hands in order to unseat incumbent William “Bill” Rehm in House District 31. Rehm has held the seat since 2006 – it’s time for a change.

I’ve spent the last three NM legislative sessions at the Roundhouse talking to lawmakers about issues and proposed legislation that I care deeply about. I have had multiple opportunities to observe and interact with Representative Rehm. Although he has shown himself to be polite and accessible, the legislation he has sponsored and the votes he has made have been disappointing as well as harmful for New Mexicans: 

In 2019, Rehm voted against HB 89, Health Coverage for Contraception (a bill that was, nonetheless, passed into law. He also voted against HB 51, Decriminalize Abortion, which would have repealed a decades-old, currently unenforceable, law that made abortion a crime. Representative Rehm continually sponsors so-called “tough-on-crime” bills, such as sentence enhancements and three-strikes bills that research has consistently shown to be ineffective in increasing public safety while being financially costly. He sponsored several such bills in the 2020 session. 

Rehm’s approach to public safety is a one-size-fits-all strategy that is reactive rather than pro-active. The legislation he sponsors appears to ignore research, underlying causes, and roots of problematic behaviors as well as the actual needs of our communities. 

Julie Ford Brenning, on the other hand, has legislative priorities in line with the real needs of her community and our state. Her priorities, going into the 2021 legislative session, are COVID-19 and Recovery, Public Safety, Education, Economy, and Healthcare. 

Brenning’s candidacy means that residents of House District 31 will have the opportunity in November to elect someone who is a big-picture thinker and is passionate about serving the needs of her constituency and our state. She views complex issues through an informed, research-based, multifaceted lens. This is someone who will listen, someone who understands that complex problems deserve well-researched, insightful solutions and someone we can trust to keep the big picture and the public’s welfare in mind while making tough decisions for us.