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NM State Representative District 16

Represents a district in the New Mexico House of Representatives, which has 70 members. In odd-numbered years, the legislature meets for 60 days; in even-numbered years, it meets for 30 days. The Governor may call for special sessions. Representatives sponsor and vote on “reasonable and appropriate laws,” represent the constituents of their districts, and serve on legislative committees. Positions are unpaid, except for per diem expenses. Elected for a two-year term.

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    Leland Benwood H Bohannon

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    Marsella Duarte

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    Yanira Gurrola Valenzuela

Biographical Information

What abilities do you have that qualify you for this office?

What is your top priority, and how do you plan to address it?

What additional water policies and actions, if any, are needed in New Mexico?

What, if anything, should be done to improve public safety?

What programs or actions, if any, would you support to provide more affordable housing?

How can New Mexico diversify its economy?

Should legislators be paid a salary? Why or why not?

Campaign Phone 660-624-1236
Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Occupation Combat Veteran and former USAF Pilot
A 25-year career in the US Air Force, commanding at various levels, has taught me what it means lead with conviction, learn from others, and follow through. I have learned it takes a team to accomplish the most important things for a community. My ability to listen well and collaborate with others even when we don’t see eye to eye is something that can bring new and better answers to our Legislature for the problems we face.
It’s the economy—prices at the grocery store, low wages, and overtaxation have hobbled economic growth. We can change that by electing people to office who will reform the tax structure to bolster small businesses and encourage big business investment. We can foster entrepreneurship, drive down prices, and boost job creation by reforming the gross receipts tax; attracting Fortune 500’s to anchor innovative start-ups; and focusing education for in-demand skills.
Water, Power and the Economy are linked. Follow El Paso’s lead in mapping deep underground brackish aquifers for untapped water sources. Plan investment for desalination to provide water for advanced manufacturing (new jobs). The current administration wants to divert water for hydrogen production for electrical power generation. Balance it with building/installing small modular nuclear reactors—a stable, safe, reliable, zero-carbon power source and emerging industry sector.
Mental health and drug abuse are major underlying drivers for non-violent crime—it’s a statewide problem that needs private/public partnerships to solve. Better training and resourcing to expedite the end of the APD DOJ consent decree. Judicial reform to end catch-and-release laws and reestablish bail for repeat offenders. In 2023 ABQ had the highest fatality rate per miles traveled. More police presence is needed to stop reckless drivers from killing innocent New Mexicans.
There are numerous programs in place today that provide tax credits to developers, rental caps, project-based rental assistance, as well as free housing for people with significant and long-term disabilities. My problem is not with a lack of programs. I take issue with how they are implemented. In most, there is a lack of resident accountability and little focus given to long-term recovery with the goal of personal independence.
Ask any small business—reform the State’s gross receipts tax and corporate tax load and focus on growing/attracting a work force to meet the demand for the fastest growing industries—healthcare management, artificial intelligence and robotics, big data management, IT security, and software development. If we don’t have the workforce we need today, we need to attract them with quality of life, safe neighborhoods, good schools, and tax incentives to those who move and stay here for 5+ years.
NM is the only state in the union that does not pay a salary to its legislators. Paying legislators a part time salary for part time work seems reasonable. Even more important--paying a professional staff to oversee the execution of legislation and stay in touch with constituents. This seems wise and is a logical way to improve the management of our state where it is lacking.
Campaign Phone 505-417-5349
Twitter @marsellafornm
Campaign Website
Occupation Community School Coordinator
My background in the legal field and education, complemented by firsthand legislative experience as a Committee Assistant in House Appropriations and Finance and House Labor, Veterans' and Military Affairs Committee. My deep understanding of the legislative process, from bill drafting to enactment, equips me to effectively advocate for our district's needs and drive impactful change.
My top priorities are public safety, education, infrastructure and economic development.
Investment in water infrastructure; Water reuse and recycling; Collaborative water management. Bringing together stakeholders, including government agencies, communities, and industries, to encourage development of integrated water management plans that address the needs of all users while protecting the environment.
Public safety is a top priority for me. I believe we need to invest in community policing, implementing crime prevention programs, enhancing emergency response systems, addressing underlying social issues like poverty and inequality. In order to be successful we must take a multifaceted approach that includes collaboration between law enforcement, government agencies, community organizations, and citizens.
I believe implementing affordable housing tax incentives in which the government offers tax incentives to developers and investors who build or rehabilitate affordable housing. These incentives can include tax credits, exemptions, or reduced property taxes to encourage the creation of affordable housing units.
Identify and promote new industries; Encourage investment and provide incentives for these industries to grow. Foster a culture of entrepreneurship by providing training, mentorship, and access to funding. Invest in education and skills development: Enhance education systems to equip students with the skills needed for emerging industries and trades. Develop infrastructure. Support small and medium-sized enterprises; Implement policies and programs to support their grow.
Full-time Commitment; Attracting Qualified Candidates; Reducing Corruption and Influence of Money; Professionalism and Accountability. Transparency in setting and reviewing legislative salaries is crucial to maintain public trust and ensure that the compensation is reasonable and justifiable.
Campaign Mailing Address PO Box 26716
Albuquerque, NM 87125
Campaign Phone 505-289-1201
Campaign Email Yanirahd16@gmail.con
Twitter @Yanira4NM
Occupation Education consultant
I am a career educator and spent the majority of my years teaching math in an APS Title I public school, where I was also a Department Chair and union leader. Before I immigrated to Albuquerque, I was an engineer in Mexico. I have lived on the Westside for more than 15 years, and bought my home in the district in 2008. I have served in the State Legislature since 2023 where my background and skills are a benefit, especially as we strive to diversify our economy and strengthen STEM education.
From what voters tell me, reducing crime, gun violence, and homelessness are top priorities. I support proven strategies to prevent crime: neighborhood policing, drug treatment, and more police officers; and I will champion gun safety legislation like regulating “ghost guns”. To reduce homelessness, we must continue to invest in evidence based mental health and substance abuse programs to address some of the root causes of homelessness and commit to creating more affordable housing.
We live in a desert and have been experiencing decades long drought. We must plan now for our water future. Following up on a legislation that I sponsored last session, I'm working with organizations and issue experts to develop water legislation focused on harvesting and conservation, including the use of gray water. We need to invest in infrastructure for rainwater capture, promote drought-resistant landscaping, and encourage water-saving technologies.
Improving public safety is a priority for me. I support and I have worked for increasing funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment, implementing evidence-based crime prevention strategies, and strengthening gun safety laws. We need to improve coordination between law enforcement, community organizations, and local government.
We know there’s a housing shortage in Albuquerque—for all income levels. During the past session, I prioritized affordable housing for capital outlay funding. We need to incentivize affordable housing construction, expand housing voucher programs, provide homeownership assistance, update zoning policies, and support homeless services.
In order to have a more resilient and sustainable economy, we need to continue to invest in renewable energy, support local agriculture and food production, and prop up our small businesses. Additionally, strong investments in education will help build up a skilled workforce.
Yes, legislators should be paid a salary. Serving as a legislator requires significant time, and without a salary, right now only those who can afford to serve without compensation are best suited for office, limiting diversity and representation.