As a citizen legislator, my priority is to work with you to create a state government that puts people before politics and guarantees you have a voice in the Roundhouse. The accomplishments we talk about on this page are not mine — they’re ours, directly shaped by your calls, emails and ideas. Together we have made real progress on the issues that directly affect our lives and community.

As you know, our district is an unusual one — split approximately evenly between Progressive Democrats and more conservative voters. This past session, many of you emailed me asking for action on net neutrality, immigration and social justice issues, and environmental protection, and I heard you loud and clear. Many of you also emailed me asking for action on economic issues, water rights and more socially conservative issues like parental consent. As a citizen representative, my job is to represent all of you, and with a split district, that can be challenging, but it’s a challenge I welcome — even though I do have a few more gray hairs now than I did when I got elected!

Environmental Protection & Renewable Energy

One of our shared priorities as a community is to protect our environment. Our water, our air, our wilderness and wildlife are key to our health and our future, and we have an ethical and moral responsibility to protect them, to be stewards of the planet for the sake of our communities and our children’s future.

Renewable energy has always been a top priority for me. Every session, I have proposed tax credits for investments in renewable energy and sustainable building and I will keep doing this until we get it through. This year, I have two bills to increase tax credits for solar system installations and water conservation. HB 87 restores the 10% tax credit for roof-top solar to help incentivize renewable energy in NM. HB 238 is a bill to provide tax incentives for outdoor water conservation. The House version didn’t pass, but as chairman of Taxation and Revenue, I was able to expedite the senate bill through and it’s waiting for the governor’s signature (which I am guessing she will veto) — but I will keep trying.

We must encourage sustainable development with strong green building practices that are specific to the needs of our community. 68% of homes in New Mexico were built prior to 1990 when building codes didn’t emphasize energy efficiency and water conservation. “Building green” can have significant up-front costs and can price a lot of people out of home ownership. During the 2014 session, our Campaign for Change sponsored HB124, which would have offered tax credits of up to $3800 for homeowners who wanted to expand, renovate, or simply make their homes more energy and water efficient. And during the 2013 session, Sen. Peter Wirth and I co-sponsored the Sustainable Green Building Tax Credit (SB14), which extended the sustainable energy tax credit for homeowners. SB14 has been so successful that $15 million of the allocated funds was spent in the first year. During the 2013 session, we also sponsored a request for cleanup of Area G at LANL (HJM5). This clean-up request, which was approved by the House, will help to safeguard our water supply and our environment while creating sustainable local jobs.

Economic Opportunity

As a materials science researcher, I’ve seen firsthand how high-tech jobs and businesses can grow a sustainable, vibrant economy like almost nothing else. With the presence of multiple major scientific research institutions here in our state, a great climate and a unique way of life, northern New Mexico has long been ideally positioned to become the Silicon Valley of the Southwest.

But despite all the potential we have here, I don’t have to tell most of you that our economy is still struggling. Too many of your young people are forced to move out of state to find good jobs. HB 200 is the high wage tax credit encourages employers in both urban and rural areas to create high wage jobs. HB 201 will attract outside investment to NM to help start-up companies, an important part of diversifying and modernizing our economy.

In continuing to protect NM families, I sponsored House Bill 367 (HB367). The Republican Federal Tax Reform bill raises taxes on single parent households. HB367 allows these families to claim their exemptions on their state income tax returns, thus restoring about 30 million dollars to these often at-risk NM families.

Over the course of the last few sessions including this current one, we heard multiple proposals to reinstate the food tax. I view this as one of the most regressive forms of taxation a state can impose on New Mexico families. As vice-chairman of Tax and Revenue Committee, I have been the single vote that has stopped the food tax.

In 2013, I successfully sponsored HB401, which makes it easier for high tech industries like software development & renewable energy storage to relocate to New Mexico.  These clean, sustainable businesses grow our economy, bring good paying jobs to our communities, and protect our environment at the same time.In addition, during the 2013 session, in a bipartisan effort supported by Think New Mexico, Rep. Tom Taylor and our Campaign for Change successfully co-sponsored and passed HB194, a bill that makes it easier for start-ups who want to provide more energy efficient and innovative transportation alternatives by removing the current monopoly enjoyed by taxicab companies throughout the state.


Of course, if we’re going to create more high tech jobs here in New Mexico, we need to prepare people to succeed at those jobs.

Despite the short session, we’re also the closest we have been in a long time to finally increasing teacher salaries and allow New Mexicans the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to use a portion of the Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education for all children.

In 2013 we successfully sponsored HB17, which provides funding for programs that offer our high school students additional access to programs that develop their computing and science job skills.

Maintaining college opportunities for our New Mexico students is important to many of us. This is why I sponsored HB237 this year to utilize a portion of the excise tax collected on liquor sales to supplement the Lottery Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for New Mexico students attending NM Universities, and to increase distributions of the local DWI grant fund. Despite it not passing, I remain committed to finding a solution that addresses student tuition assistance falling from 90% to 60% financial support. Educational is key to our success and I pledge to find sustainability to our lottery scholarship fund.

Women’s Rights & Reproductive Access

I’ve never had a section on my website specifically labeled “women’s” anything, because I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of labeling women as a special interest group or a minority when in fact, women are the majority in our country and their issues are — and ought to be — everyone’s issues. As Hillary Clinton said, “women’s rights are human rights.” That said, I do recognize that there are issues that are of particular interest to women, including equal pay for equal work, access to health care, childcare and contraception and issues of reproductive freedom.

Even though women are the majority, they are still too often underpaid for the same work as a man does, and that’s unacceptable, period. That’s why in 2013, I supported the Fair Pay for Women Act to help remedy this outdated and inexcusable injustice.

We also need to get many more women into sciences and technology. My wife, Ellen, is a brilliant and accomplished scientist, and I’ve seen firsthand the struggle that it is for women to get their ideas heard when men outnumber women by 10 to 1.

I also supported HB284, which mandates that any insurance company doing business in New Mexico is required to cover 12 months of contraception for a woman and vasectomies for a man, regardless of the political views of the employer. I voted for HB179 both times it came up — in 2015 and 2017 — which mandates minimum requirements for maternity leave. Governor Martinez vetoed it both times.

Domestic violence remains a huge problem here in New Mexico and although domestic abuse affects both genders, women are still affected by it more than men are. In 2018, I  sponsored HB 159, which asks for additional funding for statewide domestic violence services.

I’ve voted for every reproductive choice bill that’s come up, with one exception — HB390, which limited abortions after 20 weeks (five months). Not everyone agreed with that vote, obviously, and you may not agree, either.  Here is why I voted as I did:

As you may know, we live in one of the most diverse districts in the state — about evenly split between Progressives and more conservative Democrats. As a citizen legislator, it’s my responsibility to represent this district, to be your voice in the Roundhouse, and that means doing my best to find ways to be the voice for two very different groups of people in our community who often disagree passionately on deeply personal issues.  And there is no issue more deeply felt and personal to women than the issue of reproductive freedom and abortion.

During the 2015 session, both HB390, which would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks, and HB391, were both up for a floor vote. My office was flooded with emails, pro and con, from both “sides” of the district, and figuring out how to fairly represent everyone on an issue that meant so much to so many was one of the most difficult decisions of my career to date.

To resolve this issue as fairly as I could, I voted in favor of HB390 and against HB391. Here is why: HB390 meant a great deal to the more conservative part of our district, and the limited nature of the bill — it specifically excluded any abortions that were to protect the health of the mother or where the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, as well as the reality that 92% of women who seek an abortion do so before the 13th week (CDC) — meant that I felt comfortable that HB390 didn’t limit a women’s right to choose, which is deeply important to the Progressive half of the district.

HB391 would have limited access to abortion far more substantially, and put young women in potential jeopardy and/or forced them to give birth to a child conceived in a rape or incest situation, and so defeating that meant more to many more Progressive voters.

Obviously, you may agree and you may not agree, but I did my best to balance the deeply held convictions of a very diverse (and on this issue, divided) district.  I will continue to do so to the best of my ability.


We have a serious substance abuse problem in America, and it’s particularly severe in northern New Mexico. We need to support early prevention and mentorship programs that are tailored to fit the individual communities that are hardest hit by substance abuse. Prevention programs aren’t one size fits all, and what works in Albuquerque might not work in Espanola or Chimayo. During the 2014 session, our Campaign for Change successfully sponsored HB16, increasing the percentage of existing liquor tax revenue to DWI Grant Fund (an increase of 6.5 million dollars over the next three years), which assists counties with DWI education, prevention and intervention. Those businesses in our community who make a profit from selling alcohol need to be paying their fair share for the damage that drunk driving does to our communities.

During the 2018 session, I sponsored HB35, which will re-purpose monies collected from Liquor Excise Tax to Drug Court and increases to DWI fund to provide a long term sustainable funding source to help address the problem. HB35 was signed into law by the governor.

Animal Welfare

Many of you know that animal protection is and always will be a top issue for me. Companion animals are a big part of our lives, and they deserve better than 70,000 homeless dogs and cats killed in our shelters every year. This is why I sponsored HB 64, which would generate an estimated $700,000 annually through pet food retailers fees to fund statewide spay-neuter programs to stop this senseless killing. That means that low-income urban and rural New Mexicans would have access to 6,000-11,000 additional spay/neuter surgeries every year. HB64 made it to the governor’s desk, where it was vetoed despite overwhelming bipartisan support. Needless to say, a lot of people are disappointed and heartbroken by this, myself included, and I have already committed to sponsoring this bill again… and again… until it passes.  Our dogs and cats are the most vulnerable members of our community and I will continue to fight to protect them.

In 2017, I sponsored HB123, a bill that would have created a sustainable source for the low cost statewide dog and cat spay/neuter program.  The bill was a response to a report that our local governments and shelters spend more than $37 million annually on animal control and euthanize more than 70,000 dogs and cats statewide, annually.  The bill would have provided for 8,000 to 10,000 low cost dog and cat spay/neuters annually, thus helping control the animal population instead of euthanizing.

Click here to listen to a recent podcast where I discuss HB123 on Animal Talk:


During the 2013 session, we sponsored a mirror bill to Sen. Martinez’s bill that strengthened penalties for animal cruelty (HB224).  In addition, I signed on as an early supporter for a bill banning unfair one-size-fits-all breed-specific regulations (HB63), and spoke out against the creation of a Horse Slaughter Facility in southern New Mexico. I also joined my colleagues in both Houses in voting to provide police dogs with protective vests (SB141), allowing retired police dogs to be adopted by their handlers or to other good homes (SB139) and creating a horse shelter rescue fund (SB274).  These last three bills were all signed into law.

I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors for the Santa Fe Humane Society, and this past summer, we were honored to have our Campaign for Change named as a Protector of Animals by the Animal Protection Voters.


Too often, water rights are used as political bargaining chips and currency in backroom political sweetheart deals and favors — and when water is life, that kind of political game playing is dangerous and unacceptable in our community. It’s my fight to protect the people of my community from these sorts of political games that has spurred my opponents to call me “divisive,” and I suppose I am — if divisive means choosing the people over the corruption and cronyism of the political machine.

In 2013, we successfully sponsored a memorial requiring all governmental agencies to work together to install a proactive plan to protect the watersheds that feed the San Juan/Chama project (HJM24), which is the source of a significant amount of Santa Fe’s city water. A second successful memorial requests funding to heighten the Santa Cruz Dam to accommodate more water storage (SJM6, co-sponsored with Sen. Richard Martinez). Both of these memorials help our Congressional delegation secure federal dollars for these projects. We’ve also worked extensively with local acequias to create a fairer system for capital outlay funding that allocates money to each acequia in equal rotation. This system means that each acequia is treated equally and ends the political game playing with our local water system.

Net neutrality & internet access

The legislature has an obligation to New Mexicans to help provide a more sustainable place to live and work.  We are working to build a more robust broadband infrastructure with accessibility to high speed Internet, critical to tele-medicine, education, and business opportunities.  Sadly, New Mexico is currently fourth to last in Internet speeds in the nation, which is why I sponsored two bills during the 2017 Regular Session to help promote investment in broadband infrastructure in our state. HB60, known as the ‘dig once’ bill, will expedite new broadband infrastructure in both urban and rural areas.  The bill was one of the first signed into law by the Governor during the session.   Governor Martinez also signed HB57/SB53, which modernizes our Telecommunications Act, into law. The old law, originally passed in 1985, left New Mexico severely behind by creating barriers to investment in new technologies.

During the 2018 session, I co-sponsored SJM 17 which is a “Review FCC Net Neutrality Repeal.” I’m 100% with you that we need to protect Net Neutrality and while we were constrained by the limits of the 30-day session to budgetary items only, you can count on my support for this issue in the next session.

Gun Control

I’ve voted in favor of every piece of gun control legislation that’s come before me and have never and will never take a contribution from the NRA.
However, it’s also important to note here that gun control is one of the issues on which there is a sharp divide in our district.  There are many conservative Democrats, particularly in the more rural area of the district to the north, who own guns for the purpose of hunting and also for personal protection. These members of our community live in rural areas where a call to 911 could take a half hour or more to receive a response. I am aware that the Progressive community on the whole has a very different view on gun control, and I do my best to balance the strong feelings of each of these constituencies — both of which I have an ethical obligation as a citizen legislator to represent.
There are points of agreement between both halves of our district — most everyone in District 46 agrees that we need to ban the sale of assault weapons and bump stocks. These are military-grade weapons unnecessary for the purposes of hunting or personal protection and no civilian needs to own one of these weapons, and I concur. Most people in our district also agree that we should keep weapons out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill, and I concur with this as well. In addition, I think most people in the district including myself would agree that we need to set a minimum age for purchasing a gun, like we do for driving a car and buying alcohol and cigarettes.
Among the gun control bills I’ve voted in support of are SB259 (2017), which would have prohibited people subject to a restraining order due to domestic violence from possessing firearms, but was vetoed by Gov. Martinez, SB337 (2017) which would have banned guns in the State Capitol, and HB17 (2017) which would have increased penalties for felons possessing firearms.
A few of you have emailed with questions about HB50 (2017), which would have mandated stricter background checks on gun transfers. This bill was never brought to the floor for a vote, but I was in support of it. I did have a few questions about the definition of the exemption for “immediate family,” because both Hispanic and Native American cultures place a strong value on extended families and I was concerned that this narrow definition of “immediate family” was culturally biased against these communities.
LGBT Rights
I’m proud that the people of our district overwhelmingly support equal protection and equality for LGBT people. There haven’t been many bills, but I’ve voted for every bill that’s come before me protecting the rights of the LGBT community, including SB121 (2017), which bans the use of “conversion therapy” for children under 18, and fortunately, this bill is now law.


As a citizen legislator, a lot of my focus is on listening to and representing your priorities on the big issues of the day — education, the environment, and the economy – but it is also about investing directly into our community.

I’m honored to be able to invest a lot of time and resources in projects and legislation that strengthen our communities and make northern New Mexico a better place for all of us to live. One of the projects our Campaign for Change is most proud of is the purchase and the soon-to-be renovation of the youth sports fields in Pojoaque (formerly known as the Little League Fields). These fields were in a bad state of disrepair, making it difficult and unsafe for our kids to play on them. Working with the Pojoaque Valley School Board, Santa Fe County and the state, we were able to purchase the fields and finance the renovation of the fields so they can be used by our kids again. A very special thank you to Rep. Brian Egolf, Rep. Debbie Rodella and Sen. Carlos Sisneros for contributing a portion of their allocated capital outlay funds to make this happen. This is the kind of positive change that can happen when we all work together to make our community better.

During years when our budget has a surplus, representatives are fortunate to be able to award capital outlay funding to improve community infrastructure and services. This year, I am proud to have given $243,000 thousand to six different acequias in the communities of Chimayo, Pojoaque, Nambe, El Rancho, and Rio en Medio. I joined my fellow Legislators in Santa Fe in providing resources to fund projects at the Palace of the Governors and New Mexico Museum of Art, $250,000 to Kitchen Angels who work to get meals on wheels to our seniors, and $250,000 project for NDI dance barns, which provide physical and dance activities at our local school districts and preserve our unique culture and heritage.


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