Salary: $90,000 per year • Term: Four years • Tasks: Regulates utilities, telecommunication, transportation, corporations and insurance industries • District: The majority of the Albuquerque metro area, with the exception of the Southwest quadrant, part of the University area and much of the Westside (detailed map: nmprc.state.nm.us)
Christopher Ocksrider (R)
Karen Montoya (D)
Ocksrider has three degrees that relate to the PRC's work, including a bachelor's in accounting and an MBA, and he’s an attorney in the areas of estate planning, business and tax law. A political newcomer, Ocksrider says he'd bring substantive procedural experience to the office. Like the Alibi, he supports the two constitutional amendments that would reduce the scope of the PRC. Ocksrider says he takes the quasi-judicial role of the commission seriously and that he would balance the interests of all stakeholders without advocating for one side or another. (He does, however, mention on his campaign website that the PRC should play a role in reducing regulations that affect business interests, which seems contradictory.) Ocksrider says we could alter the 20-by-2020 standard so the mix of renewable energy sources utilities can use is more flexible. He also says the state should be open to uranium mining and nuclear energy.
With an extensive background as a certified assessor and head of the Bernalillo County Assessor's Office, Montoya says she has a good head for the kind of number crunching the PRC's work requires. Among her priorities: Making the commission more transparent and efficient through technology. She also says she'd help enact new ethics policies and more accountability for supervisors. Montoya supports the requirement that utility companies get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
First and foremost, it's great that both Montoya and Ocksrider chose the public financing route for their campaigns. We applaud them both for keeping special interest money out of the race. Ocksrider came across as well-prepared and sensitive to the PRC's scandal-riddled past. He did a great job at presenting himself as measured and fair. But using his website to portray the PRC as a venue for job creation stopped us—that's really not its role, and it called into question Ocksrider's ability to fairly weigh business interests against consumer needs. And we were troubled by the weight he put on uranium mining and nuclear power. Unfortunately, Montoya does not offer a good alternative. She's far from qualified for this highly technical position, and her campaign has lacked substance from start to finish. We find ourselves sadly unable to endorse either candidate in this important race.