As the dust settles from the Albuquerque municipal election and federal candidates gear up for the 2020 elections, two friends are preparing to run against each other for a spot on the Bernalillo County Commission.
Adriann Barboa and Adrian Carver are progressive Democratic community activists and hope to replace County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, who will be termed out next year. With the primary election about six months away, the two have begun getting the word out about their campaigns.
Barboa is a mother of two who identifies as a queer chicana and was raised in a pocket of District 3 near the Albuquerque airport that she said is often overlooked by politicians. She said too often politicians with the best of intentions just do not understand overlooked and marginalized people and communities.
“When you haven’t had some of that lived experience you don’t get to see that nuance,” Barboa said.
The nuance in Barboa’s childhood included a politically engaged father who was also a “very functioning” heroin addict and alcoholic. She said her late father was the primary financial provider for the family and it wasn’t until she was 12 that she finally realized that he struggled with addiction. That life experience, she said, helped her when she worked as a Youth Development Incorporated case worker and community organizer—she was instrumental in organizing a push for mandatory sick leave.
“I truly believe our lived experience is policy expertise,” Barboa said.
Earlier this year when former state Senator Cisco McSorley was tapped to lead the Probation and Parole Division of the state Corrections Department, Barboa was one of many who sought to replace McSorley. One of her more vocal supporters is now her only competition for the primary election, so far.
Carver, a self identified “proud millennial” and queer Latino, said he and Barboa are simply “modeling the way democracy should work.”
“I love Adriann, I love Adriann’s family,” Carver said. “Two strong progressives who are representative of their community is an important thing for Albuquerque to see.”
Carver was also raised in the district and said his life-long drive to run for office came from watching his parents work hard to provide for their family while also teaching their children to challenge the status quo.
“I watched my mom be an education advocate all her life,” Carver said. “I learned from her to challenge power, systems and injustices.”
And even though Carver’s life experience is not the same as Barboa’s, he said watching his dad build houses that he couldn’t afford was an eye-opening experience.
“I slowly started to realize these homes that he was building looked very different than the home that we lived in,” Carver said. “I started to realize our family was different than these other families.”
Carver, who is the executive director of Equality New Mexico, said he will ensure to avoid any conflicts of interest if he were elected as his group of is often a vocal advocate for local and statewide issues. But more importantly, he said, he’ll be ready to work for the community from day one.
Hart Stebbins has held her commission spot since 2009.