Stansbury: Of the People

By Mel O’Reilly

While awaiting the appointment time of my second Moderna vaccine shot, I thought about our upcoming special election, my thoughts rambled about the need to keep CD-1 a democratic seat, the restrictive voting bill in Georgia and those proposed in other states, the lives lost and the economic damage caused by Covid 19. I am drawn to the conclusion we need every person to participate in our future. 

On March 31, 2021, the Democratic Party of New Mexico nominated Melanie Stansbury as its candidate for the June 1, 2021 special election in 1st Congressional District. I am pleased by my introduction to Melanie Stansbury. 

Melanie Stansbury is a New Mexican. She was born January 31, 1979 to a hardworking, and as she describes, a low-income family. She was raised in Albuquerque’s North Valley and the West Side. 

Melanie’s family struggled to make ends meet and experienced food and home insecurity, lack of health care, and other life hardships that far too many New Mexico families encounter. Melanie told me her mother sewed 78,000 pockets in Levi jeans but lost her position when she attempted to organize a union at the Levi plant. Her extended family operated a mom-and-pop landscaping and irrigation business. Her mother became a heavy equipment operator in the family business. Melanie worked in the business too, digging trenches and operating equipment, but separately she worked nights and weekends bussing tables. 

Melanie attended Albuquerque Public Schools (K-12); at the urging of her Cibola High School teacher, Mr. Miller, she applied and was accepted with a scholarship at St. Mary’s of California and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Ecology and Natural Science. Later she earned a Master of Science in Development Sociology (with a minor in American Indian Studies) from Cornell University. Currently, she is a Ph. D candidate in developmental psychology at Cornell University. 

Through the Museum of Natural History and Science, she was a science educator in schools across New Mexico. She also worked as a researcher/ advisor on land and water issues. She worked in Washington, D.C., at the White House Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Senate Commission on Energy and Natural Resources. In 2018, Melanie was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives from Bernalillo County, House District 28, Northeast Albuquerque, in 2018 and re-elected in 2020. 

Melanie told me she has dedicated her career to serving social justice. She related to me her four fundamental priorities: invest in our economy, provide health care with equal access including universal health care with health equity outcomes addressing hunger and homelessness, addressing climate change with sustainable and resilient infrastructure, businesses and industry, and partner with tribal communities to address issues. 

She is extremely proud that the CD-1 Democratic Party attracted eight candidates whom she described as extraordinary people who shared their values and stories with the community. She told me “It was an honor to hear and be with them,” and she wishes they join her in keeping CD-1 a democratic seat. 

I urge you to review her issue positions. If you presented these issues and Melanie’s position on them to friends and family members, they’ll probably agree with Melanie.