Herrera, Chandler for two state House seats

The Journal North makes the following endorsements in two of our area’s legislative races in the Democratic primary:

HOUSE DISTRICT 41:

SUSAN HERRERA

Herrera has been involved with several crucial area nonprofits and was director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Foundation for 17 years, overseeing distribution of millions of dollars in scholarships. She helped launch the First Born Program, which now provides first-time mothers, as well as fathers and primary caregivers, with education, support and coordination of other services in 17 New Mexico counties.

Herrera is new to running for office, but also comes to this race with a strong political background — her New Mexico-born father was on the Pamona, Calif., City Council and in Washington, D.C., she served as assistant to a California House member, as director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and on the National Council of La Raza advocacy group.

Herrera’s positions reflect the strong Democratic tendencies of District 41, which includes much of Española and Rio Arriba County, a big chunk of Taos County and part of northern Santa Fe County. She would make a smart and competent representative for the area. The vote in the June 5 Democratic primary is decisive as there is no Republican candidate.

HOUSE DISTRICT 43:

CHRISTINE CHANDLER

Both candidates in this Los Alamos-area race — with small parts of adjacent counties also involved — have experience, impressive professional backgrounds and inspiring personal backgrounds.

Chandler, a long-time attorney at the lab who transitioned into private practice, gets the nod here in part because she already has behind-the-scenes experience at the Roundhouse, where she’s worked as a legislative analyst for the Senate Judiciary Committee for four legislative session. She says she’s seen how lawmakers have to work across the aisle and learn to compromise. As a staffer, she has worked to evaluate bills and improve the clarity, and assessed the legality of bills.

In recent months, Chandler — a member of the Los Alamos County Council — been an intelligent and independent voice on the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, now in limbo amid the group’s debilitating controversy over travel expense reimbursements.

Chandler chided the coalition director for suggesting that the community group that raised questions about the payments for booze, baseball tickets and other items be investigated. “I think it really sends a bad message when we receive a complaint about expenditure of funds and other issues, and our reaction is to request that the individuals making the complaint be investigated,” Chandler said. She also stood up to make sure the coalition board complied with the state Open Meetings Act over insufficient notice of what was to be considered.

The Democratic winner faces Republican Lisa Shin in the November general election.

This article provided by NewsEdge.