Jour­nal picks for Lt. Gov., au­di­tor and land com­mis­sioner

These are the Jour­nal’s rec­om­men­da­tions in con­tested statewide races for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, state au­di­tor and com­mis­sioner of pub­lic lands in the June 5 pri­mary.

Albuquerque Journal - - OPINION -

For com­plete elec­tion cov­er­age, in­clud­ing pre­vi­ous en­dorse­ments, pro­files and can­di­date ques­tion­naires, go to abqjour­nal.com and click on the Voter Guide tab. Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Rick Miera — Demo­crat

Rick Miera has been a ded­i­cated pub­lic ser­vant for decades, hav­ing served as a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive for 24 years. As a law­maker, he chaired the House Ed­u­ca­tion and La­bor and Hu­man Re­sources com­mit­tees, and he co-chaired the Leg­isla­tive Ed­u­ca­tion Study Com­mit­tee. He has also been a ther­a­pist, drug coun­selor and be­hav­ioral health ad­vo­cate for more than 40 years. He’s pledg­ing to use that ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence to ad­vo­cate for pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and ac­cess to men­tal health ser­vices.

The lieu­tenant gov­er­nor has sev­eral key re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. The in­di­vid­ual hold­ing the post serves as pres­i­dent of the state Sen­ate and steps in as act­ing gov­er­nor when the gov­er­nor is out of state. But the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor is also re­quired to serve as New Mex­ico’s om­buds­man, es­sen­tially the per­son who ad­vo­cates for in­di­vid­u­als hav­ing trou­ble with an­other state agency. Miera is ea­ger for the op­por­tu­nity to be a “strong voice of rea­son to help make our state gov­ern­ment more re­spon­sive to the peo­ple of New Mex­ico.” He prom­ises to work hard to pro­vide con­stituent ser­vices to peo­ple through­out the state.

“Peo­ple do not feel they’re be­ing lis­tened to,” he told the Jour­nal’s ed­i­to­rial board. “Peo­ple need to be lis­tened to and feel that their prob­lems are be­ing ad­dressed.”

Miera is fac­ing two op­po­nents in the pri­mary. If he pre­vails, he will face Re­pub­li­can Michelle Gar­cia Holmes in the Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tion.

The Jour­nal en­dorses Rick Miera for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor in the Demo­cratic pri­mary.

State Au­di­tor Brian Colón — Demo­crat

He’s never held pub­lic of­fice, but Brian Colón’s ed­u­ca­tion, ex­pe­ri­ence and drive make him a good choice for state au­di­tor. Per­haps more im­por­tantly, he un­der­stands the im­por­tant watch­dog role the of­fice plays in fer­ret­ing out waste, fraud and abuse.

Colón, an at­tor­ney, earned a fi­nance de­gree from New Mex­ico State Uni­ver­sity and a law de­gree from the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico’s School of Law. He has demon­strated deep com­mit­ment to our state through his lengthy list of vol­un­teer work, rang­ing from Big Brothers Big Sis­ters to the KiMo Theater Ad­vi­sory Board.

Colón says he wants to build on the im­pres­sive foun­da­tion built by for­mer state au­di­tors Tim Keller and Hec­tor Balderas. That in­cludes such projects as a trans­parency re­port on how much tax­pay­ers have forked out on con­tract buy­outs. But he’s also prac­ti­cal, re­al­iz­ing it’s crit­i­cal the of­fice main­tains its core mis­sion of en­sur­ing ac­count­abil­ity for ev­ery state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment agency in New Mex­ico. Colón has one op­po­nent in the pri­mary. If he pre­vails, he will face Re­pub­li­can Wayne John­son, who cur­rently holds the po­si­tion, in the gen­eral elec­tion.

The Jour­nal en­dorses Brian Colón for state au­di­tor in the Demo­cratic pri­mary.

Com­mis­sioner of Pub­lic Lands Ge­orge Muñoz — Demo­crat

It’s a vi­tal po­si­tion that over­sees 14,000 square miles of state trust lands, lever­ag­ing those re­sources to gen­er­ate mil­lions of dol­lars for pub­lic schools and other ben­e­fi­cia­ries each year.

Ge­orge Muñoz is a Gallup busi­ness­man, gen­eral con­trac­tor, real es­tate de­vel­oper, farmer and rancher who has served in the state Leg­is­la­ture for 10 years, play­ing a key role in such crit­i­cal leg­is­la­tion as pen­sion re­form. If elected land com­mis­sioner, he says, he would work ag­gres­sively to ex­pand re­new­able en­ergy projects, and with the Leg­is­la­ture to cre­ate a co­her­ent en­ergy pol­icy that lever­ages wind, so­lar, and trans­mis­sion and en­ergy stor­age to cre­ate new rev­enue streams for the state. Muñoz says New Mex­ico can sta­bi­lize its ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing and in­vest more in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion with the ex­pan­sion of re­new­ables.

“We have the land — we have the wind, and we have the sun; what we don’t have is the lead­er­ship to make New Mex­ico the re­new­able cap­i­tal of the coun­try,” he says.

Muñoz is fac­ing two op­po­nents in the pri­mary. The win­ner will face Re­pub­li­can Pa­trick Lyons, a mem­ber of the Pub­lic Reg­u­la­tion Com­mis­sion and for­mer land com­mis­sioner, and Lib­er­tar­ian Michael Lucero, a rancher, in the gen­eral elec­tion. The Jour­nal en­dorses Ge­orge Muñoz for com­mis­sioner of pub­lic lands in the Demo­cratic pri­mary.

JOUR­NAL

Early vot­ing be­gins May 19 for the June 5 pri­mary. In Ber­nalillo County, vot­ing con­ve­nience cen­ters will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through June 2. For a com­plete list of sites, go to bernco.gov

Ge­orge Muñoz

Rick Miera

Brian Colón

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