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Yvonne Quintana is a recent widow and mother of two children, Nicolette, 9, and Enrique, 6. She is a native New Mexican who lives in Española and describes her life and professional experiences as making her “uniquely qualified” to serve the community as judge for the First Judicial District Court.
“If I get to be judge, I think that will be a good thing because I believe it’s a natural progression in my career and I think I can add a lot to the community in that position,” Quintana said. “The hardships and difficulties that life brings us contribute to our work and I think my life experiences will serve me well in this capacity.”
Quintana explained that she began working at the age of 14 and put herself through college. She studied engineering for three years but had to take time off from school to earn more money for her tuition. She returned home and got a job as a legal secretary.
“I knew within six months I would never be an engineer – I found my calling by accident,” she said. “I love what I do and when I approached being a lawyer I knew I wanted to be a generalist because you can make a bigger difference in the community. At the end of the day, I always feel I am making a difference in people’s lives.”
Quintana has been in the news regarding a probate dispute with her deceased husband’s family.
“The litigation was settled confirming my marriage and the adoption of my children as valid and establishing me as the legal heir,” she said.
Quintana also explained that she has filed an amended report clearing up a complaint filed against her for a discrepancy in her campaign reporting.
“Through May 3, I received zero contributions and reported zero contributions,” she said. “I’m not asking for contributions because I think that’s inappropriate for judges to solicit contributions from people. I provided all monies spent through May 3, which was about $4,000-5,000 for signs, campaign literature and that sort of thing.”
Quintana works on average between 60 and 80 hours a week as an attorney, she said, and as a judge, her work weeks will likely run closer to 40 hours.
“I’m running for judge for my family and also because it’s about unfinished business for me,” she said. “My husband used to talk about my being a judge before he died in January 2009. I fill a niche for the needy and we talked about how in the capacity of judge I could provide a valuable service to even more people in the community.”
Quintana explained that she has demonstrated her compassion and commitment for providing equal access to justice for all, through her personal service in providing pro bono services within her community.
“I treat all of my clients with the same dignity and respect,” she said. “I make sure that everybody who leaves my courtroom – win or lose – feels that they were treated fairly and that they were heard and that they had a fair shot.”
Quintana is going door-to-door in Los Alamos and White Rock despite the fact that people have told her to ignore these communities because they won’t make a difference to the outcome of the race.
“I don’t agree – there are 5,000 votes up here and I think Los Alamos is important,” she said.
Quintana was born and raised in Santa Fe. She earned both her undergraduate and Juris Doctor degrees at the University of New Mexico.
In recognition of her pro bono service, Quintana has received the State of New Mexico Supreme Court Certification of Appreciation and the Margaret Keiper Dailey Award in Law.