DATE: Thursday, October 13, 2022
Contact: Camille Ward
Rep. Sweetser Applauds the Development of Geothermal Energy
in Southwestern New Mexico
Experts Say Geothermal Energy is an Important Component of State’s
Clean Energy Transition
Deming, NM - Yesterday, Rep. Candie Sweetser (D-Deming) and other state legislators on the Economic Development and Policy Committee heard from experts about the potential economic and environmental benefits of further developing geothermal energy in New Mexico.
Geothermal energy, which is drawn from the heat below the earth’s crust, is a dispatchable, renewable, and clean energy source that is readily available in New Mexico, particularly in the state’s southwestern region. The deepest and hottest geothermal well in history is being drilled in Hidalgo County, and the state ranks sixth in the nation for its geothermal resources.
Experts, including geophysicist Shari Kelly, engineering professor Olga Lavrova, and electrical engineer Tom Solomon, urged lawmakers at yesterday’s meeting to consider legislation for the upcoming session that would expand existing geothermal resources and promote the longer-term development of advanced geothermal electricity.
“Geothermal has tremendous potential to provide us with clean and renewable energy, while strengthening and diversifying our economy and creating good paying jobs for New Mexicans,” said Representative Sweetser. “I am excited that our southwestern New Mexico region is poised to help our state become a leader in the development of geothermal energy, and I look forward to exploring how we can further develop our geothermal energy economy.”
Absentee ballots for the Tuesday, November 8, General Election in New Mexico are being mailed out this week. Your NRA-PVF has endorsed State Representative Candie Sweetser for re-election in House District 32.
Candie Sweetser has a proven record of fighting to protect our Second Amendment rights and needs your vote to win! Make sure you vote on or before November 8 to re-elect Candie Sweetser. Please encourage family, friends, and fellow gun owners to do the same.
Las Cruces Sun-News
New Mexico's southwestern state House District 32 will expand into the Hatch Valley in Doña Ana County in 2023, thanks to redistricting that followed the 2020 U.S. Census.
The seat in New Mexico's House of Representatives, representing Luna and Hidalgo counties as well as a swath of Grant County has long been a Democratic stronghold held by a Deming lawmaker.
First elected in 2016, incumbent Candie Sweetser is seeking her fourth term in the House. Her Republican challenger is Jenifer Jones, a registered nurse and first-time candidate.
Sweetser has a background in broadcast journalism, having been a managing partner of Deming radio stations KDEM-FM and KOTS-AM, as well as agriculture. From her first run for office, she has branded herself as a conservative Democrat and an advocate for small business owners and farms and ranches.
While the state Democratic party has seen an expansion of more progressive candidacies challenging more conservative incumbents within the party in recent election cycles, Sweetser said, "We have swung far left, and I think there will be a righting of that."
"Our area has a wonderful legacy of having very fiscally moderate people serving, regardless of what political party they've come from," she continued. "We come from a rural area that's very pragmatic. The people here have a high level of resiliency. ... I think that has produced lawmakers that give that same conscientious, practical approach to how we govern."
Sweetser's own household is politically diverse. She is married to John Sweetser, a Republican engineer and farmer who serves on the Luna County Board of Commissioners, and one of their adult children is a registered Libertarian.
In an interview, Sweetser said her surveys of constituents in the district indicated their key concerns were rising inflation and local economy, public education and crime. With the state seeing high revenue from oil and gas production, she spoke of the difficulty selecting the best investments, knowing that the flow of cash will eventually subside as the volatile petroleum market ebbs and flows.
As an example, she said she was wary of a proposed amendment to the state constitution increasing the percentage of money tapped from the state's Land Grant Permanent Fund to fund New Mexico schools, soon after establishing a new Early Child Trust Fund and boosting educators' salaries as well as a new free college tuition program. She was wary of possible tax hikes in the future.
One area she sees as ripe for investing while revenue is high is infrastructure. In part of her district, record monsoon rains in August and September damaged farms and aging canals and ditches, leading to emergency declarations for Hidalgo and Grant counties and elsewhere. She said the current windfall might well be put to use shoring up or upgrading overpasses, tunnels, wastewater systems and the like throughout New Mexico.
While abortion restrictions and protections have been a major issue in this year's gubernatorial match, Sweetser said voters she spoke with were not bringing it up often themselves. "I do think as a conservative district we are very much pro-life on all levels," she said. "I feel like my constituents want me to help protect life: Beginning life, end of life issues, education, early childhood, all those all those things that constitute a good and balanced life."
She did not elaborate on what restrictions she might support if brought to the Legislature under a possible Mark Ronchetti governorship. Ronchetti, the Republican challenging Democratic incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham, has proposed putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot regarding abortion and has advocated for banning the procedure after 15 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the mother's health.
Sweetser's campaign website, including contact information, is www.CandieSweetser.com.
For the Headlight - Published March 31, 2022
As a member of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, I was proud to work with my colleagues to pass a bipartisan budget in the recent legislative session that will put our unprecedented state revenues to work for New Mexicans.
Still, the needs of communities, especially smaller communities like ours, do not always rise to the level of the state budget. That’s where the “Junior Bill” comes in.
In years like this, when our state is able to sock away rainy day funds, make the investments we need in our schools, public safety, and economic development, and still have a budget surplus, the Junior Bill allows lawmakers to work with our constituents to make targeted investments in critical community programs.
This year, in response to concerns about recreational cannabis and its potential impact on our community, I propose investing $80,000 in a task force to ensure we are properly enforcing cannabis laws. And I propose investing $80,000 of our district’s Junior Bill funds in the children’s museum and library in Deming to expand recreational and enrichment activities for our children.
These are relatively small investments compared to the line items in the state budget, but they will go a long way toward making our community safer and helping children and families thrive. I look forward to advancing investments like this across our state in the upcoming special session.
State Representative Candie Sweetser (D-Deming) District 32 (Hidalgo, Grant and Luna counties)
Story and photos by JASON K. WATKINS / For the Herald
HIDALGO COUNTY - A ceremony to mark the bloody Battle of Chiricahua and the 33 men who were awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism drew nearly 200 people Saturday afternoon in Rodeo at the Chiricahua Desert Museum.
Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Bill Cavaliere introduced the speakers, which included members of the Chiricahua Apache tribe and elected officials from Arizona and New Mexico, before a casual luncheon and indoor presentation finished the event. Bill Tooahyaysay Bradford, attorney general of the Chiricahua Apache Nation, said the land where the battle took place is now sacred ground. “This was a battle like all of our battles,” Bradford said. “It was forced upon us. The U.S. was fighting a war of choice and a war of aggression ... This was not a war that we wanted.” People from all over, including Lordsburg, Douglas, Phoenix, and as far as Bend, Oregon, attended the dedication.
The Battle of Chiricahua took place on October 20, 1869 in a pass near the Arizona-New Mexico border when two army companies encountered 100 Apaches led by famed warrior Cochise. A 5-hour battle followed with an unknown number of casualties; 33 men would go on to receive Medals of Honor to mark their bravery in battle.
The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the United States for heroism. Only 66 living veterans have received the medal. In attendance at the event was Lordsburg war hero, Fred La Marca, who was awarded a Bronze Star, the nation’s fourth highest honor, for actions in Vietnam. The Chiricahua Desert Museum has displayed legendary Indian chief Geronimo’s bow and arrows. The Cochise County Historical Society sponsored the event.
House Budget Would Put Unprecedented State Revenues to Work for New Mexicans with Responsible Investments in Education, Public Safety, Clean Energy, and Economic Development
Santa Fe, NM- Today the New Mexico House of Representatives passed HB 2, the General Appropriations Act, with a vote of 56 to 13, demonstrating strong bipartisan support for the proposed state budget. The budget proposed for fiscal year 2023 totals $8.47 billion, up 13.8% from last year while maintaining a robust 30% reserve.
“Our unprecedented revenues mean we have the chance to make a real difference in the lives of New Mexicans, and people are counting on us to work together this session to deliver results,” said House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC) Chair, Representative Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup). “But we also have to do that smartly and responsibly. I am incredibly proud of the smart, responsible investments in this budget.”
The budget invests $3.87 billion in public schools and calls for 7% raises and other incentives to help our state recruit and retain talented teachers. It also includes $14.9 million for the Indian Education Fund and $43 million for culturally and linguistically appropriate instructional materials.
“This summer, as Co-Chair of the Education sub-committee I spent months listening to families, teachers, and administrators, and I am proud this budget reflects their priorities and concerns,” said Representative Candie Sweetser (D-Deming). “This is a historic investment in our future because it is a historic investment in our children.”
To make streets and communities safer across New Mexico the budget includes funding for a multifaceted approach to addressing crime, including 16% raises for state police, $4.89 million for police training, and big investments in behavioral health and violence intervention programs to address the root causes of crime.
“This year’s budget improves public safety by prioritizing treatment and prevention, ensuring justice for serious violent crime, and responding to the needs of victims and communities who have suffered from the failure of the existing criminal justice system,” said Representative Meredith Dixon (D-Albuquerque).
The budget invests in job training programs and local businesses, including $6 million in the Job Training Incentive Program and $25 million in funding for the Local Economic Development Act, to help attract business and create jobs statewide.
Additionally, the budget supports the state’s transition to a clean energy future with environmental protections and by leveraging $125 million in federal funds for public private partnership hydrogen energy hubs, contingent upon passage of legislation during the session.
“Our budget aims to diversify our state’s economy and create good-paying sustainable jobs for New Mexicans, while also addressing the impacts of climate change and supporting our transition to a clean energy future,” said Representative Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), Vice-Chair of HAFC.
The House budget also includes major investments in infrastructure and healthcare, including fully funding Medicaid and eliminating the long waitlist for people with developmental disabilities to receive in-home care.
The Roundhouse is open to the public for the session. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required to enter the building. Members of the public can view floor sessions and committee meetings on the New Mexico legislature’s Webcasts tab, and provide comment via phone or Zoom as directed on the daily schedule.
Candie Sweetser, Representative for NM House Dist 32
January 27 ·
So proud to introduce three Deming High School SkillsUSA students and their advisor on the NM House floor this morning. Joining me (l-r) were Nayeli Chavez, Alissa Chavez, SkillsUSA NM President Alexis Trejo, and Mary Anderson, who received a standing ovation for her 46 years of teaching in Deming Public Schools. #nmleg #dist32rocks
Here's how Luna County races panned out in 2020 General Election
Here's how Luna County voted
DEMING – Luna County voters were out in force Tuesday for the 2020 General Election in Deming and Columbus, NM. A total of 8,160 turned in ballots from 12,889 registered voters.
Democratic incumbent Candie Sweetser and Republican incumbent John Sweetser presented an election dynamic in Luna County for the 2020 General Election. State Representative Candie Sweetser (D-Deming) won a second term in Santa Fe when she defeated candidate Scott Chandler (R-Deming) in a race that pitted two Deming residents on totally different platforms.
John Sweetser defeated challenger Ruben Javier Diaz to secure another term on the Luna County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat.
The Sweetser's are husband and wife who show that unity can work despite being on opposite sides from the two major political parties.
Candie Sweetser held steady in Luna County with a clear record of past accomplishments that directly benefited agriculture, education and water conservation in Luna County.
Chandler based his campaign on “change.” He planned to serve as a steward for turning the state “Red” (Republican) and viewed his challenge for State Representative as a key step in accomplishing his goal.
Candie took 53 percent of the Luna County vote to Chandler’s 47 percent, and that came in a county that voted “Red” in 2020.
Luna County’s testament to Red came in several key New Mexico races. Republican incumbent Donald J. Trump carried Luna County by 10 percentage points (54-44) over Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the Presidential Race. Biden won in New Mexico, 54 percent to 44 percent.
John S. Sweetser (R-Deming) held his District 3 seat on the Luna County Board of Commissioners by defeating Ruben Javier Diaz (D-Deming), a former county commissioner who served two terms from 2008-2016.
General Election is Nov. 3rd
DEMING – Two individuals familiar with one another are seeking your vote for the District 32 (Luna, most of Hidalgo and a precinct of Grant counties) seat as your state representative in the upcoming November 3rd General Election.
Incumbent Candie Sweetser (D-Deming) won the seat in 2016 and is planning for a second term in Santa Fe.
Scott Chandler (R-Deming) lost a close race in 2016 to Vicki Chavez during the Primary Election.
Chandler has hit the campaign trail hard in Luna County on a ticket of turning New Mexico “Red” by filling Republican seats in the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.
Who has a plan?
As member of the House Appropriations and Legislative Finance Interim committees, Sweetser has been deeply involved with the state’s budget during the New Mexico Legislative Special Session.
“We had decent money, good reserves, and were in really good shape when we left there in mid-February, and then two weeks later, we are starting to see the affects of the pandemic,” Sweetser said. “…Three weeks later, the world shut down.”
Sweetser returned to Santa Fe in special session to continue work on the reserves available to the budget. “Because we had really good reserves we didn’t have to make as deep of cuts as people may have feared,” Sweetser said. “I really want to give credit to Sen. John Arthur Smith for watching over that budget process.”
Chandler’s bid as a candidate came from what he has seen over the past two years. “This really wasn’t on the radar for me, but when I saw what was happening in our legislature – and in a big way – the progressive side in our state is affecting rural lifestyles as we know it,” Chandler stated.
By tossing his hat into the ring Chandler is hoping the Republican Party can take back the state and change what he sees as an extreme liberal pattern of decision-making in Santa Fe.
“I want more conservative values to lead this state,” Chandler said.
Oil & gas, and tourism
With the oil and gas industry and tourism taking a hit, Sweetser is happy to report both have rebounded a little – enough to avoid the deep cuts prognosticators anticipated. “My concern is next year’s budget without Sen. Smith shepherding that budget for reserves,” Sweetser said. “I Will be a strong advocate for keeping those reserves up.”
Rooted in Luna County farming, she views the committee work as hugely important. “Water is life in New Mexico, and we have so many lawsuits and pending lawsuits facing the water issues in our state because of our debts to Texas and concerns with Arizona and the Colorado River coming down, along with our drought conditions,” Sweetser explained. “Water is hugely important to my district.”
Chandler sees a different direction for both these industries as they pertain to Luna County. “Pro-rural communities need oil and gas and tourism to flourish but they are over-regulated with agendas out there that are suppressing us rather than helping us come up,” he said.
Jobs and water
Sweetser views economic development and employment as the most important issues facing the tri-county area. She is the vice-chair of the House Agriculture and Water Committee in Santa Fe and on the interim, she is also a member of the House Natural Resources and Water Committee – the two committees work hand-in-hand.
“The water issue is a close second because we have a lot of farmers that may be looking at hard times ahead with the water tables dropping and other issues,” she said.
“We have high levels of unemployment. We do have issues where people are making more on unemployment benefits,” Sweetser said. COVID-19 has also impacted the workforce in the tri-county area,” Sweetser added.
Chandler is rooted in ranching and has taken his campaign on the road with a series of Republican Party rolling rallies. His platform covers Second Amendment rights, economic development, jobs and agriculture.
“There has been a massive shift in the values of our state regarding these issues and I have a sense of urgency to bring our values back to the rural communities that depend on jobs, agriculture, water and the peace-of-mind regarding their Constitutional rights,” Chandler stated.
Education in New Mexico is a frustrating process in Santa Fe, according to Sweetser. “COVID has turned everything on its head. The Governor and PED (Public Education Department) Secretary had a lot of things they thought would be effective in raising the overall base scores in the state, and Deming was one of their star communities because they did K-5 Plus, and they did extended learning. COVID has put everything in turmoil.”
Chandler wants to see local school boards govern themselves. “I would love to see more power put back into the local school boards when it comes to public education in our state,” he said. “I think that over time, we have eroded that, and I think the closer we can get that back to the local school boards. Local communities know what is best for that community.
“That’s why you elect people at that level – to make decisions for what’s important for the schools, instead of having a state power making decisions for communities.”
Chandler sees securing the border in New Mexico is key for rural communities. “Deming and Luna County had challenges in 2019 with the influx of migrants that came across the border. I thought they handled it well. The only thing I would have done differently was to turn the spigot off.
Chandler used his influence as a board member for the nonprofit Adelante and helped secure $10,000 in a short time to aid the migrant shelters.
Trade issues are a big concern across the border. Chandler would like to see a level playing field when it comes to beef, and hay crossing the border and being packaged over New Mexico’s beef and hay. “This undermines our local agriculture industry,” he said.
Sweetser has a theory on the border. “I think Washington DC and Mexico City have no idea how the border operates,” Sweetser explained. “But for someone who has lived near the border for 30 years, I can see we have a wonderful relationship with people across the border. It has changed – gotten tense at times – but our communities co-exist, and I try and tell people that when I am in Santa Fe. If you let the border work on border issues, we would probably be fine.”
The General Election is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, 2020. Early voting is underway, and you can call the Luna County Clerk’s Office (575-546-0494) for times and days. The polls on Nov. 3rd will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at three Voter Convenience Center locations:
• Holy Family Parish Center (615 S. Copper St.)
• Mimbres Valley Learning Center (2300 E. Pine St.)
• Columbus Village Library (122 W. Broadway Ave. in Columbus, NM)
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (ext. 2606) or firstname.lastname@example.org.