Editorial - Our picks: Lujan Grisham, Morales, Colón, VeneKlasen

Posted 5/17/18

Voters who go to the polls on June 5, or those who vote early, beginning May 19 will have many choices if they are Democrats.

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Editorial - Our picks: Lujan Grisham, Morales, Colón, VeneKlasen

Posted

Voters who go to the polls on June 5, or those who vote early, beginning May 19 will have many choices if they are Democrats. Republican and Libertarian races, and some Democratic ones, are uncontested. In Northern New Mexico, most races are decided in the Democratic primary.

Here are The Taos News endorsements for statewide races, but the final choice is up to you – so get out and vote.

Governor

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham would bring years of experience in government to the office of governor. As Central New Mexico’s—Albuquerque’s — representative in Congress, she chairs the Hispanic caucus and serves on caucuses for women and Native Americans. She was director of the state’s Agency on Aging under three governors and secretary of the Department of Health under Gov. Bill Richardson.

She would work well with our state Legislature to build our economy, reverse the current governor’s depredations of the behavioral healthcare system, champion clean energy, fund early education and improve our public schools.

She is a 12th generation New Mexican, born in Los Alamos. She’s even a relative of former GOP U.S. Representative Manuel Lujan Jr., through a Romero great-grandmother.

For an experienced, compassionate governor vote for Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Lieutenant governor

Howie Morales of Silver City has served in New Mexico’s Senate for a decade. As lieutenant governor, not a powerful position under our state’s constitution, he would be president of the senate and chief executive if the governor is traveling or ill.

Lieutenant governors who support the governor can advance their joint agenda through cooperation with the legislature and in public appearances. They also serve as an ombudsman for the people, a role Morales plans to embrace by visiting communities throughout the state.

If elected, Morales plans to focus on education. He holds a master’s degree in bilingual education from Western New Mexico University and a doctorate from New Mexico State in education.

A member of our state senate’s Legislative Finance Committee, Morales understands our state budget, and could help acquire more funding for our state’s schools and universities. His background in Silver City, as small and remote as Taos, would help to balance any big-city leanings Lujan Grisham might have.

Vote Howie Morales for lieutenant governor.

State auditor

Albuquerque attorney Brian Colón served as New Mexico’s Democratic Party chairman for two years. He is seeking to be state auditor, a position where he would oversee the finances of state government entities, including agencies like the Department of Transportation, county and town governments, school systems and acequia commissions.

With a bachelor’s degree in finance from New Mexico State University and a law degree from the University of New Mexico, he is an attorney in civil practice at an Albuquerque law firm and has been a potent force as a volunteer, including on the board of the Spanish Colonial Art Society in Santa Fe.

Many candidates seek the position of auditor as a stepping-stone to higher office. This might be the case for Colón, but he is well-qualified for the job, and has New Mexico’s best interests at heart.

Brian Colón earns our endorsement for state auditor.

New Mexico commissioner of public lands

Garrett VeneKlasen, running for New Mexico commissioner of public lands, has served as executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.

As commissioner, he would administer 9 million acres of surface and 13 million acres of subsurface estate. He would oversee royalty payments to the Land Grant Permanent Fund from oil, gas and mineral extraction. The office also manages grazing and commercial leases, as well as utility right-of-way payments, that go to the state’s Land Maintenance Fund. The money from these funds helps support schools and universities in New Mexico.

Not beholden to the oil, mining or ranching industries, VeneKlasen hopes to increase revenues that flow from them to our education system.

A member of an enthusiastic skiing family, he is backed by a wide range of environmental organizations.

His platform is to increase recreational access to state lands, encourage renewable energy and work for economic development in rural areas. Garrett VeneKlasen is our choice for commissioner of public lands.

It is important for voters to read about and listen to all the candidates. Then be sure and cast your ballot.

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