Candidate pledges transparency

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House candidate says she will hold herself accountable to the public

By Carol A. Clark

“New energy, new vision, new direction,” is the campaign slogan driving the Stephanie Richard race for a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

The educator is running for the state legislature, she said, because she believes in a citizens’ legislature; people from all walks of life coming together to discuss issues and policies to come up with what is the best plan for the people of this state.

“And I am running because I believe in New Mexico and in its people,” she said during an interview Thursday.

Richard, 35, was born in Tucumcari and raised in Silver City.

“It was there, that I learned from my mother and father the most important lesson in life; service to others is more valuable than service to self,” Richard said. “As the daughter of a Hispanic mother and Anglo father, I grew up in two worlds and understand much about the various cultures of the state and the diversity that makes our state and our district unique.”

Richard is a strong advocate for education. She describes education as vitally important to the future and the key to prosperity for this community and this state.

If elected, Richard said she will use her education experience to make sure education resources go to where they are most needed.

Richard worked in the New Mexico Legislature with the house majority analysts in 1997.

She has seen firsthand the process of policymaking, she said, adding that her experience working with the legislative analysts has given her an inside view of how policies that affect businesses and families are formed.

Richard advocates ethical leadership and transparent government.

“The best government is an open government. Every occurrence of public corruption New Mexico has witnessed over the past several years would have been easily detectible and preventable had we only had more information,” she said. “I will work to make government open and accountable to all our citizens.”

Richard also will work to provide a policy of transparency for all fiscal information, she said, and will work to create a strong ethics commission.

“Most importantly, I will hold myself accountable to the public,” she said.

Regarding jobs and economic development,

Richard said the district and state are fortunate to have Los Alamos National Laboratory as a resource, as well as beautiful wild spaces and a diverse mixture of cultures.

“We can use these resources to grow our economic base. I will work to create the foundation to support new industry and create an environment where small business can thrive,” she said.

Richard currently teaches third grade at Pablo Roybal Elementary School in Pojoaque.

“As a teacher and a mother, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of government policies on the children and families in the state. My experience of teaching at a BIA school, a charter school and in the public education system has shown me the various ways government can help people to stand up in life, or how inept policies will make things worse,” she said.

After high school, Richard went to college and graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York with a degree in political science. She later attended California State University at Los Angeles where she earned her teaching degree.

Richard followed her father into education and became a teacher. In 2004, after several years in which she and her husband, Eric Vasquez, taught abroad and in other states, the couple chose to return home to New Mexico to raise their family.

In 2008, they moved to White Rock with their daughters. Nica, 12, and Elia, 8, attend Piñon Elementary School.

The family shares their home with an Española Shih Tzu rescue dog Gizmo and three cats, Sugar, Spice and Chablis.

Richard is running against Pete Sheehey in the primary. Incumbent Jeannette Wallace is the sole Republican in the race.

For additional information on Richard and her campaign, visit www.stephanie