January 15, 2015

A look at some new legislators

Roundhouse RotundaAfter the general election in 2014, New Mexico Republicans took control of the House with a 37-33 majority over Democrats. This doesn’t mean that there are not any new Democrats.  A total of seven Democrats won their respective races and will start their first terms as representatives.

There is one new state Senator, Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Democrat was named by the Bernalillo County Commission to replace Tim Keller, who won statewide election as state auditor. County commissioners chose Stephanie Maez, D-Albuquerque, to replace Stewart in the House.

New Mexico Political Report contacted the seven new Democratic representatives and asked them some questions about themselves and their new roles as legislators.

*Note – New Mexico Political Report tried to contact all of the new Democratic representatives. Some of them could not be reached. We will update this story as we reach them.

New Democrats

House of Representatives

Rep. Stephanie Maez, D-Albuquerque

What’s your day job?

Chief Executive Officer, Center for Civic Policy

 Why did seek the nomination for your position?

Our country, state and local communities are at a pivotal moment as we face serious social, economic and political challenges. Nevertheless, I believe out of these challenges are real opportunities to address – for the long-term – issues such as democracy and civic participation, fiscal equity, early childhood education and access to higher education, immigration and others.

In this new role I hope to help create a society that embraces differences, not fears them; that encourages civic participation for everyone regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status; and where the public discourse reflects the issues that impact historically disenfranchised communities to ensure a more fair and just society.  I also believe we must ensure that together, we make concrete improvements in the health, happiness and well-being of all New Mexico’s residents,  and worked toward developing a new way of acting in the world as a partner to democracy.

 What are your main goals for the 2015 session?

My policy priorities include increasing the minimum wage, addressing predatory lending, investing in early childhood education and identifying creative policy to invest in small business growth and development.

 Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo

What’s your day job?


 Why did you run for office?

A strong belief in community service

What are your main goals for the 2015 session?

Listen, learn, and do what I can for my district and my state


 Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque

 What’s your day job?

Being a state legislator. A state legislator’s job doesn’t stop when the session is over. I serve on multiple committees. I’m the vice-chair of the education committee at the National Conference of State Legislatures. I meet with constituents. I have an active constituent base. I usually spend some time, if not every day, several times a week doing legislative work.

 Why did you run for office?

I’ve been considering a move to the Senate for several years after discussing with my state senator, his desire to move on. Tim Keller considered running for mayor, considered running for governor. I was in conversation with him the last few years when he was looking at that decision. I like challenges and I’m a risk taker. I think the Senate, certainly this year, will be a place where there will be a lot of activity vis-á-vi the issues that I care about. I put my hat into the ring so I could make a difference for my constituents in a new role. The House district that I’ve served for 20 years is wholly contained within the Senate district. My constituents haven’t changed, I just added some others. It’s a bigger challenge and it’s a risk and I’m up for doing it.

What are your main goals for the 2015 session?

To try to put enough funding in the right place for the education community so they can continue to work on teaching to the best of their ability. To also learn the different ways the Senate addresses issues. To make my way through the labyrinth of ways that they have to do things differently than the House and to be a team player. To get to know the senators better and to try to make a difference in this larger way.

A previous version of this story listed Representative McQueen’s residence as Santa Fe when it should be Galisteo.


  • Andy Lyman

    Andy Lyman is an Albuquerque based reporter. He previously covered the New Mexico's legislative session for the New Mexico News Network and served as a reporter and host for numerous news outlets.