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IN FOCUS: State Rep. Rubio Plans Bike Ride To Santa Fe Promoting Civic Engagement

Dec 28, 2018

District 35 NM State Representative Angelica Rubio (D) trains to make the journey to Santa Fe on her bicycle.
Credit Anthony Moreno

New Mexico State Representative Angelica Rubio plans to travel nearly 300 miles to Santa Fe by bicycle on her way to the upcoming sixty-day legislative session. She says she hopes this trip can create a discussion across southern New  Mexico communities about the work that is happening with the legislature.

“I’m going to be working with six other legislators to hold meet and greets and highlight the work that their doing in their communities, and just to be able to learn more about what’s happening in other places,” Rubio says.

Rubio, a Democrat says she hopes she can take the sense of community she’s found with area cyclists when she meets with members on both sides of the aisle on her trip.

“Here in the City of Las Cruces, in the biking community it’s where I found a lot of the community that I felt like I was sort of missing, especially because most of my work is around the legislature.”

Rubio says there’s no specific legislation tied to this ride. However, she says she plans to introduce legislation for an “Outdoor Equity Fund” which she says she hopes can be attached to a possible Outdoor Recreation Department in the state, saying more can be invested locally to get people outdoors.

“I also feel that low income and communities of color don’t get to access the public lands and other things that I think we should be able to be apart of, and so that’s part of the outdoor equity fund that I want to make sure is part of the Outdoor Recreation Office,” says Rubio.

Several friends have joined Rubio to train. Susan Singley is riding to Santa Fe with her. She says she enjoys bike touring and is excited to be involved.

“She (Rubio) expressed interest in combining bike-packing touring with advocacy and connecting communities to their government, and that just really struck a cord with me,” says Singley.

Hayley MacDonald also plans to join Rubio on the trip. She says that traveling by bike provides a great opportunity for people to meet the District 35 State Representative.

“When you're on a bike you can actually have face-to-face interaction while your moving and you see things that your normally wouldn’t see in a car,” MacDonald said.

Talking to people and creating a dialogue with representatives along with their communities all the way to Santa Fe is what Rubio says she hopes to achieve on this trip. It’s something she says she has been working on establishing in her own district located in the heart of Las Cruces.

Representative Rubio meets with community members in the Historic Mesquite District.
Credit Anthony Moreno

On a Saturday morning, Representative Rubio meets with community members at Beck’s Roasting House and Creamery in the Mesquite District of Las Cruces. She calls discussions “Spill the beans” where people can come together and voice concerns on issues in the community.

Arianna Parsons who owns the coffee shop with her husband stopped by to learn if capital outlay money will be available to help provide the historic neighborhood with better lighting and accessibility. Parsons says these discussions are great for business and the community.

“To just bring it down to that next level, to have it be an informal, comfortable atmosphere to really get in touch with your legislator and to find out what’s happening, I think it’s the best possible use for our space,” Parsons said.

As the event continues, more people show up and talk with Rubio about various issues ranging from recreation, financial education opportunities, immigration, and even her new tattoo…a buffalo riding a bicycle.

After the conversations end, Rubio exits towards the street facing Klein Park, the place where on January 5th she will embark on this two-wheel trip. A website (https://rubiosride.com/) has been created for anyone wanting to keep up with the ride. The site's slogan says, “Lend me your gears.” Representative Rubio says that in return she plans to lend the people of New Mexico her ears.