Alibi V.27 No.19 • May 10-16, 2018 

Election News

The Battle for Governor

Three Dem candidates fight the good fight

A few weeks ago, Weekly Alibi did its best to warn readers why a Republican Steve Pearce governorship might yet happen here in New Mexico. Now as the Democratic Primary election approaches, let’s take a closer look at the Democratic Party’s plans—embodied by three politicos seeking the nomination to move forward to November—to thwart efforts to keep a Republican in our state’s top office.

We’ll endorse a candidate in this race in a few weeks. Until then, here’s a roundup of the Democratic candidates and highlights of their assorted platforms for the office of governor of the state of New Mexico. Readers who want a deeper look at the donkeys running for governor are invited to check out individual websites for a complete low-down leading up to the June 5 primary election.

Jeff Apodaca

Jeff Apodaca
Jeff Apodaca
courtesy of the candidate
Hailing from Las Cruces and Santa Fe, N.M., Apodaca is the son of former governor Jerry Apodaca, who served in the position from 1976 to 1980. Until recently, the younger Apodaca cut his professional teeth as a media executive, where he served in upper management positions at Univision, Tribune Broadcasting, AOL and the CBS Television Network. In the past few years, he returned to his home state to manage Univision stations in the rocky mountain states.

Plain spoken, Apodaca recently tweeted, “I’m not running because it’s my turn. I’m running to turn New Mexico around, because it’s your turn, it’s New Mexico’s turn.” This candidate’s platform reflects that common citizen appeal and goes something like this:

Apodaca is convinced that our state is at the bottom of many lists—economic, educational and cultural—due to mismanagement. Further he maintains that he can turn the state around by accessing $23 billion in investment funds that our state government is “sitting on.” According to recent reports in the press, this huge amount of potential funding for state programs is “an asset trove larger than many developing countries.” Although questions remain about how such revenue sources could be used to bolster our state’s economy, Apodaca is clearly convinced that capitalizing and using such funds could ensure economic security for our state in future years.

As part of an overarching economic plan to reestablish the Land of Enchantment’s money power, Apodaca plans to launch investment plans worth billions, update our lagging tax system and create and maintain preference for New Mexico small businesses. By bringing investments into the state, Apodaca further plans to update and repair an aging infrastructure, grow our rural economies and then further invest in state-developed technologies and start-ups.

Although economics plays a substantial role in Apodaca’s platform, he has also been noticeably vocal on the subject of cannabis. As governor, Apodaca would convene a conference of parties interested in medical cannabis, adult recreational cannabis use and hemp manufacturing, all in the hopes of creating and passing unified cannabis legislation that would legalize cannabis in 2019.

Joe Cervantes

Joe Cervantes
Joe Cervantes
courtesy of the candidate
Cervantes, a graduate of the UNM Law School, is also from Doña Ana county, where he served in both houses of New Mexico’s Legislature. In this capacity, Cervantes says he “successfully passed laws by working with legislators from both parties and has [therefore] overcome gridlock...”

Cervantes’ message to voters also focuses on the economic woes and possibilities the state currently faces. This candidate believes the key to regaining our stature as a solidly and economically progressive state rests on the shoulders of our younger citizens. By providing quality education and jobs to high school and college graduates, Cervantes believes New Mexico can ultimately flourish. He’s against corporate tax cuts and will focus on growing small business. Further, his platform calls for collaboration between education, business and technology sectors in order to provide sustainable growth here.

Improving the quality and efficiency of state educational institutions as means of revitalizing the state’s economy is a keystone in Cervante’s march forward, but so, also is a recognition of our state’s rich Hispanic culture and therefore, its dependence on immigrant communities throughout the state.

After recent developments along the southern border—and an appearance by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Cervantes released the following statement regarding our relationship with Latin America, writing, “As the Senator who represents this area of New Mexico, I have the experience of working within our borders communities to address the unique conditions of living along the border. We need to be working hand in hand with our southern neighbors in Mexico, to grow our economy, continue international trade and other economic development opportunities. I am opposed to militarizing our borders and will work with local officials to implement best practices, not outsiders from Washington, D.C. We should not be caving to the misguided policies of the Trump administration like Governor Martinez has.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Michelle Lujan Grisham
Michelle Lujan Grisham
courtesy of the candidate
It goes without saying that Grisham, currently serving out her term as District 1 US Representative for New Mexico, also sees change from the normative as a path to glory for New Mexicans and their lives here in America.

She also graduated from the law school at UNM, and has previously served as the director of the state’s agency on aging, as well as the Secretary of the N.M. Department of Health and on the Bernalillo County Commission. As a congresswoman, Grisham is currently on the Budget and Agriculture Committees.

Because of her experience as a lawmaker and especially because of her work as health secretary, Grisham believes that she is the most prepared of the candidates “to step in and reverse the Martinez Administration’s damage to our physical and behavioral health systems.”

Economically, Grisham plans to use a portion of the the Severance Tax Permanent Fund to invest in New Mexico businesses and further proposes doubling film production work in the state to further augment revenue coming into Nuevo Mexico’s coffers. Importantly, Grisham also has proposed immediately raising the state’s minimum wage, in order to give more than 100,000 citizens access to buying power that will help break the cycle of poverty.

Grisham has also spoken out on the issue of public safety and her platform contains plans to strengthen local police forces with more officers and resources, as well as to crack down on domestic violence while diverting from incarceration non-violent drug offenders. The candidate’s position on cannabis has been clear for some time and if elected, she plans to support legislation that would legalize recreational use of the plant that prioritizes public safety and uses much needed revenue from cannabis sales to improve living conditions statewide.

And in the End ...

Clearly, all three of these public servants are qualified to be our next governor. Though they vary slightly in regards to policies and legislation they would pursue, it’s certain that they provide a bright alternative to another four years of Republican control with Trumpian overtones. By voting Democratic in the general election, citizens have a rare opportunity to rebuke the backwards looking agenda of the current administrations, state and federal. With all of that said, happy voting Burqueños!

The New Mexico Primary Election
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
bernco.gov/clerk/elections.aspx