By Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
New Mexico statehouse Democrats, as well as some Democratic members of Congress, are rallying around the candidacy of 37-year-old former Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez to be the party’s nominee for New Mexico’s Congressional District 2.
Both he and his opponent come from working-class immigrant backgrounds. Both are pushing progressive platforms that share a lot of overlap.
Each is touting career experience as relevant to the lives of everyday New Mexicans.
But Vasquez’ experience demonstrates a commitment to community leadership. He served one term on the Las Cruces City Council. He’s worked as an aide for U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. (who has endorsed him), executive director of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces and community outreach director for HECHO/National Wildlife Federation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from New Mexico State University.
“I believe strongly in the values of hard work, because I’ve lived them,” he wrote in his Journal Q&A. “I’ve written and passed policy at the local, state and federal level and have served my community as a public servant.”
Vasquez was born in El Paso but has lived on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I’ve seen the immense benefit that immigrant workers and families bring to our communities and economy,” he wrote on his campaign website. “But our immigration system is broken. … We must reform our immigration system to protect DREAMers and provide hard-working families with a permanent path to citizenship, while ensuring we have a safe and secure border.”
Vasquez the conservationist is pragmatic when it comes to oil and gas and transitioning to a green economy.
“Bureau of Land Management lands in New Mexico are governed by a multiple-use mandate, and we should continue to use our resources wisely to protect our energy independence, while looking toward the future of our rural economies by promoting uses of federal land that encourage renewable energy development,” he says.
Both Democrats are for common-sense gun reforms, comprehensive immigration reform, lower health-care and childcare costs and building an economy that strengthens the middle class.
But Vasquez’s endorsements from many notable New Mexico Democrats and his measured stance on energy make him the best candidate in the primary. The winner will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell in November’s general election.