By Jennie Lusk
A very important thing to remember about the New Mexico Treasurer’s race Nov. 8, 2022, is this: Our girl, Laura M. Montoya, is the second Montoya on the ballot. The Republican candidate is also named Montoya–and is the first name you’ll see for Treasurer.
Laura M. Montoya deserves to be elected State Treasurer for her many accomplishments and capabilities, but it is possible she’ll lose votes simply by mistakes from those of us who typically make quick work of the ballot. If you care about Democratic policies, Democratic ethics, experience and competence, do NOT fill in the first Montoya’s blank.
Instead, vote for Laura M. Montoya, the Democrat who’s second on the ballot. Laura Montoya may well become the first female State Treasurer in NM and the first Latina in the country elected as State Treasurer. The former two-term Sandoval County Treasurer, Laura M. Montoya is someone we can trust to be the state’s banker, having the responsibility to oversee the state’s $15 billion in holdings.
Laura M. Montoya has been working in government for over 20 years. She has served two terms as the Sandoval County Treasurer—making her the Treasurer in the State’s fastest growing county—a county with over $50 million in non-property tax, and investments of $40 million. As Treasurer, Laura was responsible for collecting over $1.2 billion in property taxes with a 99.37% collection rate.
Laura Montoya was New Mexico’s youngest female County Treasurer when she was elected in 2012. In her capacity as County Treasurer, Laura Montoya was appointed to the New Mexico Tax Policy Committee; appointed as the Legislative Chair of the Treasurer’s Affiliate for seven years; elected by her colleagues to serve on the New Mexico Counties Board; elected to serve as the National Association of Counties Representative; appointed as Vice-Chair of Finance, Pension, and Intergovernmental Affairs under the National Association of Counties; and elected Chair of the Next Generation Young Elected Officials.
Once elected, a New Mexico State Treasurer cannot take donations from banks or investment brokers, as overseeing banking practices while accepting money from such parties creates an obvious, troublesome conflict of interest or the appearance of one. The Governmental Conduct Act mandates that elected officials and public employees use the “powers and resources of public office only to advance the public interest”—not for personal benefits or to pursue private interests. It requires them to conduct themselves to justify the public’s confidence. However, the Republican Montoya who is listed first on the ballot has received campaign contributions from both bankers and brokers.
The treasurer serves five basic functions, according to the Democratic Party’s candidate for state treasurer: she protects, collects, invests, distributes and reports the state’s finances. The Treasurer serves on several boards and commissions. The four major power boards—the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) board and Educational Retirement Board (ERA), both of which invest dollars to ensure that state employees can retire with pension amounts as secure and as generous as those anywhere else in the country. In addition, she sits on the State Investment Council, which oversees riskier investments and the state Board of Finance which oversees every local government entity that wants to use funds from the state.
Laura Montoya, a young Latina who’s proven herself with management of substantial investments, tax collection and distribution for years, is often asked whether she’s ready for statewide office—too often, actually. Given her credentials, she shouldn’t even be asked.
She’s states her life’s journey has been preparing her to serve New Mexico in this capacity. Her credentials and track record speak for themselves.
However, “Managing your funds is a responsibility that I do not take lightly,” the lifelong Democrat said. “Becoming the first Latina State Treasurer in our country’s history is bigger than you and me. Our children need to see a reflection of themselves in these state-wide positions.”
“My priorities include: to be transparent and accountable, support rural and tribal communities with outreach with the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP), and support financial literacy”. The second Montoya on the ballot—Laura Montoya—is ready and able to serve with distinction.
Pass it along—especially noting her position on the ballot. Laura might be #2 on the ballot but, as Treasurer and a model for girls fulfilling a dream of responsibility and accomplishment, she well may be #1 in the hearts of Democrats today and for generations to come.