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.


We have a deep moral responsibility to be good stewards of our planet, so environmental protection and renewable energy will always be at the top of my priority list.

  • Every session, I’ve proposed tax credits for investments in renewable energy and sustainable building and I will keep doing this until we get it through.
  • This past session, I sponsored HB87, which restores the 10% tax credit for roof-top solar to help incentivize renewable energy in NM.
  • I also sponsored HB 238, to provide tax incentives for outdoor water conservation.
  • In 2015, I 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. 68% of homes in New Mexico were built prior to 1990 when building codes didn’t emphasize energy efficiency and water conservation, but “building green” can have significant up-front costs and can price a lot of people out of home ownership.
  • During the 2013 session, Sen. Peter Wirth and I successfully co-sponsored the Sustainable Green Building Tax Credit (SB14 and SB279), which extended the sustainable energy tax credit for homeowners. As a result, New Mexico is the leader nationally in green built homes.
  • I sponsored HJM24, which brought all the stakeholders in our water issues together as part of being proactive instead of reactive  in managing our watersheds and increasing our opportunities for water sustainability.
  • I’m also a homebuilder who builds solar homes for families in our community.

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.

  • I sponsored HB 200, the high wage tax credit, to encourage employers in both urban and rural areas to create high wage jobs.
  • I sponsored HB 201 to attract outside investment to NM to help start-up companies, an important part of diversifying and modernizing our economy.
  • To help protect New Mexican families from the cruel new Republican Federal Tax Reform bill, which raises taxes on single parent households, I sponsored HB367, which these families to claim their exemptions on their state income tax returns, thus restoring about 10 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.
  • I’ve twice sponsored/passe HB202, the “remote sellers” tax bill, which would keep an additional 50-60 million dollars in New Mexico, while helping to level the playing field for New Mexico businesses against the tax breaks given to humongous online retailers like Amazon.



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, and education must be a top priority. New Mexico is still at the bottom of too many lists when it comes to educational quality. I’ve seen firsthand how good teachers change lives — I’m proud that James H Rodriguez Elementary School in Espanola is named after my grandfather, who was a school teacher for 42 years in the school district.

  • This past session, we were the closest we have been in a long time to finally increasing teacher salaries and allowing 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, both of which I fully support
  • In 2013 I 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.
  • This session, I sponsored HB237 to direct 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.
  • I also think it’s crucial that we revitalize vocational education and trade schools, so that students of all ages have an alternative to the traditional four-year college track, which is appropriate for some but not for all.

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.

My wife Ellen is a brilliant, accomplished woman, and being married to her, I get a front row seat to the struggles that women have in our society — to be fully heard, to be taken seriously, to be paid equally. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a woman in our culture, but I know what it’s like to love one, and to want to do everything I can to be an ally in the continuing struggle for full equality.

  • 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.
  • 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 allocated multiple capital outlet grants totaling well over $100,000 for Women’s Health Services, which provides low cost and sliding scale healthcare for women.
  • I voted against HB391, which would have required parental consent for minors seeking abortions.

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 composed of traditional Democrats, conservative Democrats, Progressive Democrats, independents, third parties and yes, even a few Republicans. That means that no worldview in our district has a clear majority.  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 many 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.

The vast majority of Americans believe that late-term abortion is wrong, and while the definition of “late” certainly varies, I think we can all agree that 20 weeks falls comfortably into that category.  While our campaign has insufficient resource for polling, I’m taking an educated guess that a majority of my district, including many pro-choice voters, shares this view, because I received many, many eloquent and heartfelt emails from women in my district asking me to vote for this bill — far more emails than I received asking me to oppose it.

I believe I have an ethical responsibility to vote as the people of my district want me to on issues like this, and so I voted in favor of HB390 (which did not pass). 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.

Substance Abuse Prevention

We have a serious substance abuse problem in America, and it’s particularly severe in northern New Mexico. I have firsthand experience with several family members who struggle with addiction. 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, I 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. Drug Court has proven that it reduces recidivism rates, and it’s a big part of why New Mexico has become a leader nationally in programs to combat opioid abuse. I was proud to receive a thank you letter for the New Mexico Chief Justice for my work on this issue.

Animal Welfare

I’m an animal lover.  Our family includes three rescue dogs, two rescue cats, and a rescue rabbit. I serve on the Board of the Santa Fe Humane Society and I fight hard in the legislature to protect animals — the most vulnerable & voiceless members of our community.  I’m proud to serve on the Board of Directors for the Santa Fe Humane Society, and I am honored to be named as a Champion for Animals by the Animal Protection Voters.

  • Every year, more 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 was vetoed despite overwhelming bipartisan support, but I have already committed to sponsoring this bill again… and again… until it passes.
  • 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 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.
  • During the 2013 session, I sponsored HB224, a mirror bill to Sen. Martinez’s bill that strengthened penalties for animal cruelty.
  • Also in 2013, I signed on as an early supporter of HB63, a bill banning unfair one-size-fits-all breed-specific regulations (BSL).
  • I have also spoken out against the creation of a Horse Slaughter Facility in southern New Mexico, and 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.

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



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.

  • Outside of my formal legislative work, I’ve invested a lot of time and resources into helping the people of my district navigate the complexities of their water rights in the wake of the AAMODT settlement.
  • I sponsored HB 238, to provide tax incentives for outdoor water conservation.
  • In 2015, I 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.
  • I sponsored HJM24, which brought all the stakeholders in our water issues together as part of being proactive instead of reactive  in managing our watersheds and increasing our opportunities for water sustainability.
  • I’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 & broadband access

New Mexico ranks among the worst states in the nation for broadband access. This is a huge problem because broadband access is key to creating educational and economic opportunity  in rural areas.

  • During the 2017 Regular Session, I sponsored HB60, known as the “Dig Once” bill, which helps  promote investment in broadband infrastructure in our state. The bill was one of the first signed into law by the Governor during the session.   
  • I also successfully sponsored HB57, which modernizes our Telecommunications Act. 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 those who believe that we need to protect Net Neutrality and, 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. Every other amendment in the Bill of Rights is subject to reasonable, common sense limits, and there is no reason to make an exception for the 2nd Amendment. As such, I’ve voted in favor of every piece of gun control legislation that’s come before me, though there haven’t been many as most of them don’t make it out their respective committees.
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.
  • In 2017, I voted in support of SB259, which would have prohibited people subject to a restraining order due to domestic violence from possessing firearms.
  • Also in 2017, I voted for SB337, which would have banned guns in the State Capitol.
  • And also in 2017, I voted for HB17, which would have increased penalties for felons possessing firearms.

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. It’s also common sense that we should keep weapons out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill. 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.

 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 my 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.

Capital Outlay Projects

As you probably know, 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. Here are some highlights of the money I’ve allocated:

    • Between $600-700,000 to the 24 acequias in District 45 (I rotate every year to make sure no one is left out.)
    • A million and a half dollars to the city of Santa Fe Airport to redo their parking lot
    • $150,000.00 to second phase of the City of Santa Fe police station
    • 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
    • More than $100,000 project for NDI dance barns, which provide physical and dance activities at our local school districts and preserve our unique culture and heritage.
    • Multiple grants of over $100,000 total for Women’s Health Services, which provides low cost and sliding scale healthcare for women
    • $30,000 to put shade covers over children’s equipment in parks 
    • I led the 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.


As a citizen legislator, a lot of my focus is on listening to and representing the people of my district in the legislature, but I also invest a great deal of time in projects that strengthen our community.

  • I’ve held more than 40 town halls and listening meetings
  • I’ve sat at countless kitchen tables with members of my district, helping them to go over issues with the AAMODT settlement and road easements, as well as helping with other issues they’ve had interacting with local, state and federal government agencies.
  • When Santa Fe County Democratic Chair Susan Popovich was killed in a head-on collision, she left behind two orphaned cats, Boots and Jazzy. No one else came forward to save them, so my wife Ellen and I adopted them and they are now beloved members of our family.
  • I’m a long-time board member of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter
  •  I’m a volunteer youth sports coach — little league baseball, basketball, and football. As a coach, I work hard to make sure that the game is fair and that
  • everyone gets to play. Our district is a diverse one and no worldview has the clear majority. That means when I vote, no one gets their way 100% of the time, but everyone’s voice gets heard some of the time. I think that’s the way it should be in a democracy.
  • My priority is to represent the people. I routinely publicize my direct cell phone #, answer my emails personally and make every effort to be available and accessible to anyone with a concern, regardless of their political affiliation.






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