KRWG

Strong Night for Doña Ana County Democrats in New Mexico Midterms

Nov 7, 2018

It was a pivotal night for Democrats state and nationwide as they regained control of the U.S. House of Represenatives while Republicans held on to the Senate.

Locally, Democratic candidates running in various state legislative, commission and county races in Doña Ana gathered at the Las Cruces Convention Center for an election watch party hosted by Democrat Xochitl Torres Small's campaign.

Election results for the Second Congressional District race between Torres Small and Republican Yvette Herrell are still pending.

District 33 State Representative Democrat Micaela Lara Cadena gives a victory speech as she's joined by other newly-elected and incumbent Democrats on stage at the Las Cruces Convention Center.
Credit Michael Hernandez

KRWG Public Media spoke with some of the night's winners including Public Regulation Commission District 5 Democrat Steve Fischmann, Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners District 5 Democrat Karen Trujillo and District 37 State Representative Joanne Ferrary. 

Fischmann said he thinks the most critical issue over the next 10 years will be transitioning to a cleaner and cheaper economy through renewable energy while managing utilities to lower costs for consumers.

Fischmann said he supports newly-elected governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

“I think it’s terrific that we have Governor Lujan Grisham. I think she understands energy issues and broadband issues that are regulated by the Public Regulation Commission," Fischmann said. "If Stephanie Garcia Richard wins her seat, I think that’ll be tremendous. She’ll be a great, great partner working with state lands to help get where we need both environmentally and from an energy standpoint. So, I look at this election as a potential bellwether to turn us from the ‘fall behind’ state to the ‘get ahead’ state.”

The five-member Public Regulation Commission manages consumer issues including utilities, telecommunications, transportation and pipelines among others

Trujillo will replace Hakes, who was appointed to the Board of County Commissioners in February after Democrat John Vasquez resigned for making inappropriate comments on social media.

Trujillo said her number one priority as the District 5 Commissioner is to go out and learn the needs of the community.

“What I don’t want to be is someone who comes into the smaller communities in District 5 and think that I know what’s best for them. I really want to listen to the voices of the people, figure out what it is that they think their needs are and be their advocate and be their voice," Trujillo said. "You know the Hatch Valley and the northern part of the county really do need to have someone that stands up for them and their needs and I’m excited to be that for them. Access to education, access to transportation and really using the community centers to the best of their ability to bring services to the people is really what I’m standing for.”

Trujillo joins two other newly-elected Democrats on the board, District 3 Commissioner Shannon Reynolds and District 1 Commissioner Lynn Ellins.

Ferrary has been re-elected to represent District 37 in Las Cruces and she said there’s a lot to take care of during her second term.

“So many things in healthcare that we need to work on, especially disabilities rights and making sure that we have no one on the DD Waiver lists. Also on education, especially early childhood education. We need to make it so that we have childcare centers that have trained and certified teachers, master teachers and also prenatal and home-visiting so we can identify early any problems and get the resources to our kids. And also train parents on how to talk to their kids, how to read to them, how to help them to learn at the different stages," Ferrary said.

Ferrary said she looks forward to working with governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham along with other members of the New Mexico Legislature.