Meet the Candidates

Senate29.jpg
Democrat.jpg
candBaca,Paul 1 COL.jpg

Paul A. Baca

Paul A. Baca

Age: 54

Occupation: Business owner (LJS/A&W/Kicks 66) president and CEO of Valley Improvement Association

Education: NMSU — Studied business/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. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“I know the people; I have my finger on the pulse of the needs of the district and New Mexico. I feel passionate about making our community a better place. I have done that through my business and our continued volunteer service and involvement in our community.”

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“Investment in education (K-12, College and Trade). Investment in public safety and rethinking communities ability to hire retired law enforcement and utilizing this talent. Economic development and marketing and promoting New Mexico for business investment.”

3. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“The state needs to properly assess and prioritize projects and then fund the projects based on an unbiased matrix system. We also need to formulate a partnership with those on the federal level and utilize and leverage those resources.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“Rethinking the failed idea that incarceration equates to treatment. Invest in mental health and substance abuse treatment. Much of the crime is based on addiction that is not solved through incarceration. Investment in training and attracting law enforcement, utilizing retired law enforcement to fill the needs of many communities.”

Republican.jpg
CandBaca,Greg 1 COL.jpg

Gregory A. Baca (I)

Gregory A. Baca (I)

Age: 48

Occupation: Attorney/small business owner

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 of the State of New York; Bachelor of Science Business Administration - University of Phoenix; Juris Doctor – University of New Mexico 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. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“To improve the quality of the lives for citizens of this district with common sense solutions and care for the people I serve. As your senator, I provide the levelheaded, responsive leadership we need during these troubling times of dipping oil prices while battling a national health emergency.”

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“Completion of the Jarales bridge project; Completion of the Los Lunas Morris Road I-25 Interchange; Addressing the out of control crime rates in our state.”

3. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“Following the recent economic shutdown across the nation, there will be opportunities to attract businesses that are relocating or starting up, enabling us to raise revenue and mitigate our losses from our damaged oil industry. Additionally, we should prioritize these one-time cost infrastructure projects over recurring government growth and spending.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“Restructure the catch and release bail reform policy we have instituted in favor of keeping those who are dangerous off our streets while they await trial. Reconstruct the criminal code to provide for smarter and more consistent sentencing for those who are convicted. Rehabilitation when possible, incarceration for the violent.”

Senate30.jpg
Democrat.jpg
CandCordova,Pam 1 COL.png

Pamela M. Cordova

Pamela M. Cordova

Age: 62

Occupation: Retired educator

Education: B.A., English, M.A. Organizational Management

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. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“We need a leader on our side. COVID-19 has exacerbated the economic and health care disparities in our community — and that must change. I will fight for our kids, our families, and our local small businesses first and foremost — not big business, not special interests, not the wealthiest New Mexicans.”

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“We must protect small businesses and workers from job losses and closings and invest in sustainable local jobs that withstand the boom and bust cycle of the extractive industry. Strengthening public education is a must and any cuts to education — as well as health care — should be off the table.”

3. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“We need a COVID-19 recovery plan that prioritizes our most critical infrastructure needs. Investments in water treatment systems, crumbling roads and bridges and public buildings help build a strong economy. Unlike my opponent, I believe in transparency and that all capital outlay expenditures using taxpayer money should be made public.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“We need local law enforcement focused on catching violent, repeat criminals, and those suffering from mental illness getting the help they need. It’s key to how we reduce crime. We need to rebuild our behavioral health clinics in rural communities, and invest in data-driven technology to identify criminal patterns.”

Democrat.jpg
candSanchez,Clemente 1 COL.jpg

Clemente Sanchez (I)

Clemente Sanchez (I)

Age: 61

Occupation: Retired higher education and currently a community banker

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration (ENMU) and Master of Business Administration (NMHU)

Previous elected political offices: Senate District 30-Incumbent

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

1. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“To continue to work for you to progress our state and Senate District 30 from a pragmatic point of view while funding education, infrastructure, public safety and addressing other critical challenges that our state faces in these difficult times.”

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“To increase jobs, make sure every citizen has access to quality and affordable health care and that every child gets a quality education in order to be able to succeed.”

3. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“Prioritize critical needs without leaving out rural communities with growing populations like Valencia County. We should explore allocating by two categories, rural and urban with equitable allocations. Bonded projects should have a useful life of no less than 10 years and a minimum dollar amount of $100,000.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“We need to revisit the constitutional amendment that allows certain criminals out of jail without having to post bond. Adequately funding public safety and step up our recruitment of additional law enforcement and paying them a living wage and good benefits.”

Republican.jpg
candSanchez,Joshua 1 COL.jpg

Joshua A. Sanchez

Joshua A. Sanchez

Age: 38

Occupation: Small business owner

Education: Belen Consolidated Schools

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. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“To have a seat at the table and address issues facing New Mexico head on. With no formal education, I realized my dream of building a growing business through hard work, and integrity. I want all New Mexicans to have the opportunity to realize their dreams. Our culture revolves around family, work, and the desire for a good life — I’ll work hard to make that a reality.”

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“Jobs, jobs, jobs. I mean it. Gainful employment is critical to a thriving economy. A healthy economy helps reduce poverty, drugs, crime and violence. I will work to restore an environment that welcomes big and small businesses alike and works to strengthen our communities.”

3. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“Infrastructure plays a vital role in economic growth. The state needs better utilization of federal grant-matching programs, leverage our current historic low interest rates, and find the right balance of federal, state and local government investment. New Mexico residents deserve well-lit streets, safe roads, clean water and transportation system improvements. We can’t afford to not move this forward.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“This is a multi-dimensional challenge that has plagued the state for years and outcomes have not improved. I will challenge legislation that has not shows results. In addition, I would advocate for grass root movements for communities to reclaim their neighborhoods by organizing, uniting and taking a stand against crime.”

Republican.jpg
candZunie,KellyNoble 1 COL.jpg

Kelly Noble Zunie

Kelly Noble Zunie

Age: 51

Occupation: Division Director, Public Works for Pueblo of Zuni

Education: BA Statesmanship

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. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“I am running for New Mexico State Senate to be the voice for rural and tribal communities whose voices have nearly been silenced by the urban majority.”

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“1. Review essential and non-essential programs to reduce spending without raising taxes; 2. Economic development for job creation; 3. Rescind redundant or outdated legislation.”

3. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“Revenue for aging infrastructure could be generated through collaborative efforts between public and private industries utilizing new technology in the oil and gas industry.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“I would look at increasing the pay rate for law enforcement officers reducing recidivism. I would look for ways to increase the number of vocational/technical courses in our public schools, allowing students to be gainfully employed upon graduation from high school. Reducing unemployment, naturally reducing the crime rate.”

Senate39.jpg
Democrat.jpg
candStephanics,Liz 1 COL.jpg

Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics (I)

Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics (I)

Age: 69

Occupation: Retired

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: N.M. 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. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“I am running for this seat because I care about my constituents, my communities, my counties and our state. 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.”

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“1. 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. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“In light of the budget crisis, we will need to discuss this further. The state might set up a mechanism to prioritize the most pressing needs for 75 percent of available funds. The gas tax was set up to fund our road improvements and we have state trust funds for acequias, water and wastewater systems. A new source of funding might be taxing legalized marijuana.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“I believe the state’s high crime rates are related to poverty and substance abuse. More initiatives to address these issues continue to be needed — education, literacy programs, treatment programs, diversion programs and apprenticeships.”

Republican.jpg
candVescovo,Susan 1 COL.JPG

Susan K. Vescovo

Susan K. Vescovo

Age: 66

Occupation: Retired

Education: B.A. English, Art Education. Completed Medical School requirements

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. Why are you running for the New Mexico Senate?

“I am campaigning because I am confident I will be an asset to the New Mexico State Senate. My diverse background gives me expertise as a business owner, educator, farmer and mental health advocate. I will fight for accountability.”

Primary choice

2. If elected, what would be your top three legislative priorities?

“1. We must improve education in our state, and make sure our students are academically proficient; 2. Improve the small business climate. Support Right to Work. Eliminate state taxes on Social Security, retirement accounts and pensions; 3. Oppose late term abortion.”

3. How should the state address its growing and costly infrastructure needs?

“Our state needs to adopt business friendly regulations and taxes, that keep companies in New Mexico, rather than losing them to neighboring states. Have accountable bidding processes. We must also stop implementing new programs until the crumbling infrastructure is sustainable.”

4. What are the top two issues you would address regarding the state’s high crime rates?

“Drugs and mental illness. We must work with border patrol/ICE and other federal agencies to maintain border security. Traffickers must be severely penalized. As past state president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, I know the challenges of those with severe mental health issues.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.