Meet the Candidates

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Paul A. Baca

Paul A. Baca

Age: 55

Occupation: Small business owner

Education: Attended NMSU; studied business and finance

Previous elected political offices: None

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.“

1. What makes you stand out from your opponent?

“I have my finger on the pulse of the community. As a small business owner and as an involved community activist, I speak directly to our community members every day, and I stay engaged. I know what will help us thrive and build a brighter future for us all.”

2. What’s the one major issue you plan to address if elected?

“Properly investing in education, developing a technical and vocational training program that will put more on track for good jobs. Looking at education as economic development and creating a realistic plan which will move New Mexico forward, this will attract industry and create jobs.”

3. What are the most important challenges facing our state, and how do you propose to address them?

“Lack of proper investment in education. I support sending the question of properly funding early childhood education to voters. Moreover, we need to invest in training our teachers, stabilizing salaries and funding resources classrooms. Education is the foundation to build a better economy and state.”

4. How will you work to increase job opportunities for your constituents?

“By building a technical and vocational training system that will teach skills to a trained workforce which will attract companies to our communities. We also need to diversify our economy with stable alternative energy jobs that will carry us into the future.”

5. Do you think the executive powers afforded to the governor during a public health emergency should be reevaluated and, if so, what should the Legislature change?

“I support the governor’s handling of the pandemic, but I do believe the Legislature has a key role in the process moving forward, which would include economic recovery and legislation regarding public safety. I believe in the equal powers of the three branches of government.”

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Greg A. Baca (I)

Gregory A. Baca (I)

Age: 49

Occupation: Small business owner/attorney

Education: Nuclear Machinist School, United States Navy; Naval Nuclear Power School, United States Navy; Engineering Laboratory Technician School, United States Navy; Radiation Controls and Monitoring School, United States Navy; Associate Science Sociology, University State of New York; Bachelor of Science Business Administration, University of Phoenix; Juris Doctor, UNM School of Law.

Previous elected political offices: Current state senator District 29

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “Yes. DWI 2003.”

1. What makes you stand out from your opponent?

“My military service to my country, my level of education, self-reliance, and experience. Being approachable and humble when interacting with people regardless of political affiliation. And probably most important, being truthful to constituents by putting forth my positions on policies without wavering or pandering and following through on those positions.”

2. What’s the one major issue you plan to address if elected?

“To help bridge the deep political divides that now plague our great state. Establishing a new sense of respect for each other. An open ear to ideas we each bring will be a necessary component to sustainably solve the many issues our state faces including crime, education, and our economy.”

3. What are the most important challenges facing our state, and how do you propose to address them?

“Economy: Restart our economy to pre-COVID levels by allowing people to get back to work and expand other sources of revenue adding to those from oil and gas.

“Crime: Reconstruct the criminal code to provide more consistent sentencing for those who are convicted. Rehabilitation when possible, incarceration for the violent.”

4. How will you work to increase job opportunities for your constituents?

“First, support a business landscape with little red tape and a low, predictable tax structure that entices business to open and provide those jobs. Second, diverse workforce training that embraces the trades and gives opportunity to those who choose to pursue avenues other than traditional education.”

5. Do you think the executive powers afforded to the governor during a public health emergency should be reevaluated and, if so, what should the Legislature change?

“Yes. Broad power may be necessary for immediate response however that should evolve into a more localized approach because Albuquerque and Santa Fe are not the same as Valencia County. This localized approach gives the people a voice adding flexibility, lessening the effects of the emergency, allowing a faster recovery.”

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Pam Cordova

Pam Cordova

Age: 63

Occupation: Retired educator

Education: MA

Previous elected political offices: None

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.”

1. What makes you stand out from your opponent?

“My career as an educator and longtime family roots in Valencia County are how I know the community and the needs of our people. I will take the responsibilities of public office seriously, listen to and learn from my constituents, and work hard for all families in the Legislature.”

2. What’s the one major issue you plan to address if elected?

“We need to prepare for a post-COVID-19 recovery that considers the economic and health disparities in our community. We can’t continue letting working families get the short end of the stick. I’ll support aid to small businesses impacted by the pandemic and improved access to affordable health care for rural communities.”

3. What are the most important challenges facing our state, and how do you propose to address them?

“Many of our state’s challenges are caused by poverty. Ensuring that economic opportunity and prosperity are shared will help strengthen our communities and create economic stability. We must commit to strong investments in public education, our local small businesses, expanded broadband infrastructure and developing growing economic sectors.”

4. How will you work to increase job opportunities for your constituents?

“I’ll support New Mexico businesses that contribute to economic innovation and provide well-paying and lasting jobs, especially in growing sectors such as film, hemp, tourism, and health care. I will also advocate for robust vocational and job training programs to prepare workers for skilled professions.”

5. Do you think the executive powers afforded to the governor during a public health emergency should be reevaluated and, if so, what should the Legislature change?

“It is critical that the governor, no matter what party nominated them, have the power to respond to emergencies that threaten the lives of New Mexicans. We need to clarify the law regarding public health orders, and provide a framework for medium to long-term public health emergencies.”

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Joshua A. Sanchez

Joshua A. Sanchez

Age: 39

Occupation: Small business owner

Education: High school diploma

Previous elected political offices: None

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.”

1. What makes you stand out from your opponent?

“I represent conservative values, family and an understanding of what it takes to run a small business, knowing what it takes to make a payroll for the people who depend on it. I am the change our state needs. Over 90 years of the same party leadership is not working.”

2. What’s the one major issue you plan to address if elected?

“We must have our New Mexico kids career ready when they graduate. If we work with them from third grade to high school and provide them training, activities and internships they will be able to attain their dreams.”

3. What are the most important challenges facing our state, and how do you propose to address them?

“Our state must find a way to become more attractive to businesses that want to possibly move to our state. We cannot continue our dependence on the oil and gas industry alone to generate revenue for our state. It’s too much of a boom or bust system.”

4. How will you work to increase job opportunities for your constituents?

“Preparing our kids better for their futures, graduating kids that are job ready, will create a workforce that is ready for any business looking to come to New Mexico. Early childhood and vocational education can help prepare kids for the path they choose, whether college bound or a vocational trade.”

5. Do you think the executive powers afforded to the governor during a public health emergency should be reevaluated and, if so, what should the Legislature change?

“Yes, I believe they need to be reduced. Allowing unlimited extensions of state and small business closures needs to be looked at very closely for future emergencies.”

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Elizabeth "Liz" Stefanics (I)

Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics (I)

Age: 69

Occupation: Retired. Former occupations include university professor, executive director of nonprofits; Santa Fe County commissioner (two terms); NM senator (2 terms); state risk management director; deputy secretary of NM Human Services Department; executive director of NM Health Policy Commission.

Education: BS, Eastern Kentucky University; MS, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Risk Manager for Public Entities (AIPCU IIA); Professional Mediation.

Previous elected political offices: NM State Senate District 39 (2017-20) (1993-96); Santa Fe County Commission (2009-16)

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.”

1. What makes you stand out from your opponent?

“My experience in elective office, in state government, and with nonprofits enables me to plan and make decisions to assist all. I am accessible during the year to listen and help as I can. I am running for this seat because I care about my constituents, communities, counties and state.”

2. What’s the one major issue you plan to address if elected?

“1. My first priority is always accessible health care; 2. Putting New Mexicans back to work and educating/training the next generation; 3. Water and land protection including renewable energy.”

3. What are the most important challenges facing our state, and how do you propose to address them?

“Poverty, economic development and substance abuse. More initiatives to address these issues are needed. Broadband everywhere in the state, diversified education, literacy programs, treatment programs, diversion programs, apprenticeships and continued assistance to small businesses.”

4. How will you work to increase job opportunities for your constituents?

“At UNM-Valencia support: the job training effort by the college, high schools, and small businesses; entrepreneurial business training; a new dental health clinic on campus; training in renewable energy. Support small business loans from the state with little interest and long payment terms as well as LEDA.”

5. Do you think the executive powers afforded to the governor during a public health emergency should be reevaluated and, if so, what should the Legislature change?

“The governor needs the power and authority during a public health emergency to safeguard the public. Ongoing health needs to be addressed during a pandemic, i.e., cancer, asthma, chronic diseases. An addition could be a bipartisan legislative advisory committee to weigh in on the issues and consequences of all mandates.”

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Joseph "Joey" Tiano

Joseph “Joey” Tiano

Age: 59

Occupation: Retired law enforcement/independent associate with LegalShield/IDShield

Education: UNM and NMSU; New Mexico State Police Academy and Las Vegas, Nev., Metro Police Academy

Previous elected political offices: None

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or in another state? “No.”

1. What makes you stand out from your opponent?

“I am an American Constitutional originalist. I have a very strong commitment to protect New Mexicans’ Second Amendment constitutional rights to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. My faith encourages me to protect all life, including life in the womb. As a conservative, I believe small government and lower taxes are an avenue for a strong government.”

2. What’s the one major issue you plan to address if elected?

“To fight against any bills passed or proposed that devalue life.”

3. What are the most important challenges facing our state, and how do you propose to address them?

“Jobs and the economy. I will work very hard to get a right-to-work bill passed in New Mexico.”

4. How will you work to increase job opportunities for your constituents?

“The right to work and will work to eliminate the gross receipts taxes for small businesses, which will enable those small businesses to thrive and hire more people.”

5. Do you think the executive powers afforded to the governor during a public health emergency should be reevaluated and, if so, what should the Legislature change?

“Absolutely! The House and the Senate should have more of a say in determining what actions should be used in those situations.”

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