Susan Herrera, the founding director of the education-focused Los Alamos National Lab Foundation, is looking to unseat the current state representative for House District 41 and promises to put forth …
Susan Herrera, the founding director of the education-focused Los Alamos National Lab Foundation, is looking to unseat the current state representative for House District 41 and promises to put forth a robust Democratic platform she says has been missing from Northern New Mexico.
Herrera is from California, but her dad was from New Mexico, so when she and her husband decided in 1990 they didn't want to raise a son in Washington, D.C., they made the move back to the Land of Enchantment and settled in Embudo. She was one of the people who helped start the UNM-Taos campus in Taos.
Herrera is the first person in at least a decade to challenge Debbie Rodella, the politician who since 1993 has represented a handful of precincts in Taos County but most of Río Arriba County and part of Santa Fe County.
Herra told The Taos News she thinks Rodella is "a Democrat in name only" and does not represent the interests of people from "the North." Herrera was initially reluctant to throw herself into the primary race. She asked "people younger, smarter and better looking than me" if they would run, but "no one would do it."
"I'm not new to politics...but I've never been the candidate before," said Herrera, a former director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
When it comes to raising the prospects of the whole state, Herrera wants to reform the state's streams of revenue by restoring tax levels on individuals and corporations to the previous thresholds, a move she says could add $650 million more to the state's coffers.
On the environment front, Herrera proposed commissioning a comprehensive study of the struggles of small domestic water systems across the state. Taos County has more than two dozen such systems. It's only after the state assesses those issues that state lawmakers can work with Congress to bring the systems "up to this century's standards."
"Knowledge will lead the path. It's when you don't even know the depth and breadth of the problem [that] you really have a problem," said Herrera.
Herrera also said she would support legislation to create an independent commission to handle redistricting, a power currently held by elected legislators.
According to the most recent round of campaign finance reports, Herrera's largest contributions came from residents in Dixon and Embudo.
- Cody Hooks
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