October 7, 2020

2020 Elections: U.S. House candidates on environmental issues


The U.S. Capitol.

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change.

First Congressional District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland is running for reelection against Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes.

Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, was one of the first two indigenous women to be elected to Congress when she won her election in 2018. Prior to that, Haaland served as chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017. In 2014, Haaland ran for Lieutenant Governor on former state Attorney General Gary King’s gubernatorial ticket, but ultimately lost to Republican Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez. Haaland also served on then-president Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign as New Mexico’s vote director for Native Americans. You can read our interview with Haaland here.

Garcia Holmes responded to inquiries made by NM Political Report for participating in this Q&A but refused a phone interview.

Second Congressional District: Democratic incumbent Xochitl Torres Small is running for reelection against two candidates: Republican challenger Yvette Herrell, who narrowly lost to Torres Small in the 2018 midterm elections; and Independent candidate Steve Jones. 

Jones is a retired energy executive, and has experience as a business consultant and TV producer. You can read our interview with him here.

Torres Small scheduled an interview with NM Political Report twice for this Q&A but had to cancel both times due to schedule conflicts related to the House of Representatives’ voting schedule. Herrell did not respond to requests for an interview.

Third Congressional District: Two candidates are competing for the open U.S. House seat for the state’s third congressional district. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján. Luján is running for the open U.S. Senate seat. Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez is running against Republican and political newcomer Alexis Johnson. 

Leger Fernandez runs the Santa Fe-based social impact law firm Leger Law and Strategy. She was appointed as vice chair to the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation under President Barack Obama’s administration. She was also appointed as a White House Fellow by President Bill Clinton. Leger Fernandez also served as a commissioner on the Las Acequias de Chupadero. You can read our interview with her here.

Johnson is an environmental engineer and rancher. She worked at the Midland, Texas-based environmental consulting firm Larson & Associates. You can read our interview with Johnson here.