Our candidates

Our candidates

All of our candidates were successful at the general election on 3 November 2020.

Congratulations to our newly elected (and re-elected) officials!

United States Senate
Ben Ray Luján

Ben Ray Luján Ben Ray Luján is currently serving as U.S. Representative of N.M. District 3. Born and raised on a small family farm in Nambé, New Mexico, by a union ironworker and a public school employee, Ben Ray Luján learned the values of hard work and community service from a young age. He has dedicated his career to improving the lives of those in his community and his state, fighting to create good-paying jobs for hardworking New Mexicans, increase access to quality, affordable health care, and protect New Mexico’s natural resources. In 2018, Ben Ray successfully chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, leading the Democratic effort to take back the majority in the U.S. House while electing the most diverse and youngest Congress in history. As Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ben Ray is the highest-ranking Hispanic in Congress and has helped put forward a people-first legislative agenda that addresses disparities to help all Americans achieve equity, whether in access to clean water, criminal justice, lowering prescription drug prices, preventing gun violence, ensuring protections for our immigrant communities, or removing the influence of dark money in our politics. In his downtime, Ben Ray enjoys mountain biking and working on the family farm. He continues to live in Nambé.

United States House of Representatives
Teresa Leger Fernandez

Teresa Leger Fernandez Teresa Leger Fernandez wants every little girl and boy to have access to early childhood education and public schools that inspire their students to achieve their potential; wants our ranchers and farmers to stay on their land and help build a green rural economy; wants our country to invest in the 21st century infrastructure of broadband, transportation and clean energy that we need for our communities and businesses to prosper; wants to make sure New Mexico’s water does not disappear because we did not act to save our planet and build a strong renewable energy economy; wants our state to build a dynamic and innovative economy that creates fulfilling, well-paying jobs for all our kids here in New Mexico; wants every person to have affordable and accessible health care; wants to keep our public lands pristine and protected for generations to come. She is a proud daughter of Northern New Mexico, whose mother, Manuelita de Atocha (Mela) Lucero, was a bilingual education pioneer and father, Ray Leger, was a State Senator and educator.

New Mexico State Senate

Rio Arriba County includes parts of districts 5, 6, and 22.

District 5
Leo Jaramillo

Leo Jaramillo Leo Jaramillo is a native son of the Española Valley and a proud alumnus of Española Valley High School. Upon high school graduation, he attended the University of New Mexico. He worked as a news writer/producer for KRQE News 13 in Albuquerque and as a middle school teacher in Belen prior to returning to the Española Valley. Since 2003, he has been employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as a professional staff assistant, communication specialist, training specialist, recruiter, financial analyst, and most recently, chief of staff/administrative officer. He is currently a Rio Arriba County Commissioner representing District 2. As a commissioner, he has collaborated with City, Pueblo and State Leaders to work on finding solutions to issues including recovery, homelessness and housing, the lack of a senior citizen assisted living facility, and the need for behavioral/mental health care in our communities. Leo is running to fight back against the corruption that has stalled progress in New Mexico. This November, Republicans will not waste any chances getting their corporate candidates elected. We need your help to fight for northern New Mexicans.

See also our candidate profile of Leo Jaramillo.

District 6
Bobby Gonzales

Bobby Gonzales Roberto (Bobby) Jesse Gonzales served in the New Mexico House from 1995 until 2019, when he was appointed to the Senate to fill the Senate seat for District 6 after the death of Sen. Carlos Cisneros. He served in the House as vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee and in the Senate sits on the Senate Finance Committee.

District 22
Benny Shendo, Jr.

Benny Shendo, Jr. Benny Shendo, Jr., is a member of the Jemez Pueblo Tribe. He was over the course of many years served in various capacities of management and leadership in business, tribal, university, and state government, including service as a project director for the Native Community Foundation for New Mexico; a Mexico Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Indian Affairs; 1st and 2nd Lieutenant Governor, Pueblo of Jemez; and assistant dean of students at Stanford University. Mr. Shendo was selected as a Fellow by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s National Leadership Program from 1997-2000. In 2004, he received the Mary G. Ross Award from the Council of Energy Resource Tribes for professional achievements. In 2007, Mr. Shendo received the First American Public Advocate Award in recognition of Outstanding Leadership and Contributions made to American Indian economic and business development by The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. He started the first charter school in Jemez Pueblo (K-8) in 1999. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Business.

New Mexico State House of Representatives

Rio Arriba County includes parts of districts 40, 41, 43, and 65.

District 40
Roger Montoya

Roger Montoya Roger Montoya has lived in the rural farming community of Velarde, New Mexico, and has served the region’s children and youth for more than 30 years as an artist, educator and advocate. His life’s work has centered on the health and wellness of generations of young people and those in need. In 2008, he co-founded Moving Arts Española, an after-school program for children of all ages. CNN Heroes recognized his work with Moving Arts Española as a 2019 Hero in the Visionary category. He is running for political office because his ability to think creatively, and to galvanize and inspire people, is needed at this crucial time. When we are called to service, we rise. As an elected leader, he commits to doing everything possible to confront the realities we face — to support public health and wellness, to support and expand educational opportunities, to bring sustaining jobs to our region, and to foster and protect our land, water and air for future generations.

See also our candidate profile of Roger Montoya.

District 41
Susan Herrera

Susan Herrera Susan K. Herrera served as the founding executive director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation (LANLF). Susan built the foundation from a $3 million asset pool with an annual giving budget of $2 million to a major regional foundation with an endowment of $80 million and annual giving budget of $4 million in seventeen years. Susan has over forty-five years of experience in the non-profit and government sector. She served in Washington D.C. as legislative staff and was director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus before relocating to New Mexico. Prior to her work at the LANLF, Susan worked for the University of New Mexico, non-profit organizations including Siete del Norte and Child-Rite. She then founded the Northern New Mexico Community College Foundation To date the Northern Foundation has awarded $3 million to 1500 students in Northern New Mexico. She has extensive experience in legislation and strategic planning, program development and design, grantwriting, non-profit development and organizational management, as well as extensive experience in fundraising. She served as the President of the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers.

District 43
Christine Chandler

Christine Chandler Christine Chandler was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 2018. As a member of the influential House Taxation & Revenue committee she has worked to reform the tax code by eliminating tax loopholes, tax credits, and deductions that provide no public benefit. She is proud the legislature in its 2019 session lowered the tax burden on 70% of working New Mexico families. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, she has supported initiatives for criminal justice reform: tough enforcement against violent and repeat offenders, alternatives to incarceration for first-time non-violent offenders, treatment for drug-related offenders, and programs to facilitate the transition from prison to release for formerly incarcerated offenders. Her first-term legislative successes include the legislative enactments that protect workers from wage theft, ensure due process in the leasing of water rights, provide consumer protections for private post-secondary students, and offer retirement security for private sector workers. Other legislative priorities include continuing the fight to prohibit trapping on public lands and ensuring all workers have access to paid family and medical leave.

District 65
Derrick Lente

Derrik Lente Derrick J. Lente is a son of two Pueblos in New Mexico (Isleta & Sandia Pueblos). He was raised in a traditional Pueblo family, and his parents often worked two jobs to raise him and his two older brothers. Those examples would help mold his values of hard work, dedication, tradition and family. Derrick attended Bernalillo Public Schools, Central New Mexico Community College, the University of New Mexico, and the University of New Mexico School of Law. He was the first male from his Pueblo to earn a Juris Doctorate degree. Derrick was elected to the Board of Editors for the Tribal Law Journal and earned his certificate specializing in Federal Indian Law. He has served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2017 and is now Chairman for the House Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources. Derrick, his wife Kassandra, daughter Jade and sons Mostin & Easton make their home in Sandia Pueblo where he owns and operates his family farm, Lente Farms.