More Dems seek nominations

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By Katy Korkos


When the Democratic Party of Los Alamos held its candidates forum on Wednesday evening in Fuller Lodge, 17 candidates seeking delegates to promote their causes at the March 15 state convention appeared. Six of those seeking the Third Congressional District nomination from their party for a spot on the June 3 primary ballot, along with candidates for Los Alamos County Council and Sen. Carlos Cisneros, candidate for the New Mexico Senate, were profiled in a Monitor article on Thursday.Candidates for the Public Regulation Commission and for District Attorney in the First Judicial District who came to Los Alamos on Wednesday are profiled below.The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has five commissioners, and the candidates who appeared Wednesday are vying for a seat representing the 3rd District, which covers the northeast portion of the state. Congressional candidate Ben Ray Lujan, whose term as commissioner expires at the end of 2008, currently occupies the seat.The PRC regulates the utilities, telecommunications, motor carriers and insurance industries, and has responsibility for the fire marshal’s office, the firefighter training academy, pipeline safety and the registration of corporations doing business in New Mexico.Business owner and Rio Arriba County Assessor Arthur Rodarte, Santa Fe County Commissioner Paul Campos, Española Mayor Joseph Maestas and attorney Bruce Throne are all in the race for the nomination for PRC.Rodarte’s career as a business owner and public servant includes serving on the board of the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and as a New Mexico State Senator representing Los Alamos for four years.He said that he would run a publicly financed campaign and will not accept any money from corporations.Rodarte said that he would be successful as PRC commissioner because of his experience in the business, finance, telecommunication and utilities sectors.Paul Campos said the thing that excites him about serving on the PRC is that the commission can go a long way to creating a new energy economy. “Los Alamos can be in the very center of the energy revolution,” Campos said, adding that the PRC is the only entity that can come between the people and the big oil, gas and electric companies.Throne said that his more than 30 years of experience as an attorney working in the field of regulation of utilities, telecommunication service and Internet access would best qualify him for the position. He served as assistant Attorney General and director of the Energy and Utilities Unit under Jeff Bingaman when Sen. Bingaman was New Mexico’s Attorney General.Throne said that the PRC “is the most important single state agency affecting the lives of New Mexicans, setting the standards for energy efficiency, which unfortunately have been put in the hands of the utilities.”Maestas said that his background as a civil servant in the federal regulatory environment and as mayor provided him with experience his opponents did not have. He said that he sees the commission as not only responsible for regulating big companies, but also for handling consumer complaints.“You want somebody who understands working families,” Maestas said.The PRC candidates all replied to a question from the audience about how they would represent a change from “politics as usual”, given their impressive political backgrounds.“I’ve never run for public office before,” Throne said, adding that he was not seeking any further office after the PRC if he is elected.“I also have opted for public financing,” Rodarte said. “People’s interests come first. We’re the only electric co-op that has protested the rates of Tri-State.”“It’s the good old boy system, “ Campos said. “As a Democrat, I have always been independent. I can stand up to big business.”“I too have opted for public financing,” Maestas said. “There are no more sacred cows.”

District Attorney, First Judicial District

 The current district attorney for the First Judicial is Henry Valdez, whose district includes Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Los Alamos counties. Candidates competing for the Democratic nomination include Joe Campbell, Eliot Gould, Angela “Spence” Pacheco and A.J. Salazar. The candidates for district attorney did not engage in question and answer sessions, and were asked to limit their comments to five minutes.Gould said that he was interested in the position of district attorney to represent constitutional integrity in the diverse district, which includes a federal city, some of the highest poverty rates and the state capitol.He said that he would help prevent crime by working closely with the police and standing up for the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which provides due process and equal protection under the law.Pacheco said that her qualifications for the position include having worked as a prosecutor, a city and county attorney and a social worker. Pacheco described her candidacy as being about community service and a commitment to the people.Neither Salazar nor Campbell was able to attend Wednesday’s forum, but sent policy statements to be read. Both took the position that there should be a full-time office for the district attorney in Los Alamos.Campbell’s written statement chronicled his experience working in several different capacities within the district attorney’s office, from prosecuting DWI cases in Los Alamos to felony drug and murder prosecutions. He said that improving communication with the police agencies would be a primary goal if he were elected.Salazar serves as chief deputy district attorney in the Rio Arriba County office. In addition to working to bring a full-time sitting prosecutor’s office to Los Alamos, Salazar said that his vision is to work with law enforcement, communities and service providers for safer communities.The state's Democratic preprimary convention will be held on Saturday, March 15 in Rio Rancho; 1,919 delegates from around New Mexico will choose candidates for the June 3 primary ballot at that time.