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Local businessman Min Park calls Public Regulation Commission (PRC) candidate Joseph Maestas a “visionary” and “one of the best leaders Northern New Mexico has.”During his tenure on the Española city council between 2000-2006 and as mayor since that time, Maestas has accumulated a growing number of accomplishments.“Mayor Maestas has been proactive in forging partnerships with the Los Alamos business, government and science communities,” Park said during the March 13 campaign kickoff he hosted for Maestas at his Central Avenue Grill restaurant. “His involvement with Los Alamos County Council regarding economic development, his participation with our youth and his ability to get things done are characteristics he will bring to the PRC.” Having an engineering background and an advanced degree, Maestas said, will help him bring a “keen insight” into the PRC process. As mayor, he said he has gained executive experience in directing staff, developing efficient organizational structures, overseeing major budgets and in working at the state level with the Legislature. As an engineer, he said he looks at process and results and doesn’t get mired down.“I’m a trained and experienced problem solver – that’s what I do,” Maestas said. “As mayor, I’m already in a regulatory relationship with the utilities. As a franchise holder, we negotiate services.”The PRC regulates New Mexico utilities, telecommunications, motor carriers and insurance industries. The commission also oversees the state Fire Marshal’s Office, the Firefighter Training Academy, pipeline safety and the registration of all corporations doing business in New Mexico.Maestas is seeking the PRC seat fellow Democrat Ben Ray Lujan is vacating to run for Tom Udall’s congressional seat. Udall is running for the Senate seat Pete Domenici will vacate when he retires Dec. 31.Park described Maestas as “a great leader who will be very effective on the PRC for northern New Mexico.” “From communications to technology to renewable energy, he’ll bring fresh air in developing regional collaborations between Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and other communities within District 3,” Park said. During a recent meeting at the Monitor, Maestas discussed his progressive agenda for the PRC, his initiatives to stimulate Northern New Mexico’s economy through renewable energy research and development, and his involvement in starting the new Solar Energy Research Park and Academy at Northern New Mexico College, as well as his efforts toward implementation of a Renewable Energy Development and Deployment Institution (REDDI), to transfer high level energy storage research into market-ready technology.“As a public regulation commissioner, I will strive to increase programs for energy assistance, efficiency, and renewable energy development,” Maestas said. “I will also make consumer protection a top priority, fight to maintain fair and reasonable insurance and utility rates, and ensure strong corporate accountability and regulatory oversight.”If elected, Maestas said he intends to work to make telephone and broadband Internet service available to rural areas of the state and promises to be a staunch regulator of fire prevention and safety issues.Maestas worked for the federal government as an engineer, planner and program manager for 23 years, and is currently an engineering and management consultant.In addition to serving as mayor of Española, Maestas has held leadership positions in several organizations, including the National League of Cities and the New Mexico Municipal League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan association comprised of all 103 incorporated municipalities in the state. Last year, Gov. Bill Richardson appointed him to the New Mexico Economic Partnership board of directors.Maestas was born in Santa Fe and raised in Santa Cruz. He earned an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico and his master’s degree in civil engineering from Arizona State University.Maestas is married to Martha Vasquez, a federal district judge and has an 11-year old son, Joseph Fabian.Other candidates running in District 3 are Jerome Block Jr., son of former PRC member Jerome Block; Santa Fe County Commissioner Paul Campos; Louis Gallegos of Santa Fe who is a former member of the State Corporation Commission, which predated the PRC; former state Sen. Arthur Rodarte of Ojo Caliente; and attorney Bruce Throne of Santa Fe, who is a former assistant attorney general.For more information about Maestas, access www.jmaestas.com.