VRLA WOMEN TO WATCH 2024

New Mexico, meet your candidates

New Mexico’s primary election day is Tuesday, June 4th.

These women are running to bring new perspectives and real progressive change to communities throughout the state, so find your district and see who’s running.

State Senate Candidates

Songtree Pioche

Senate District 2

Songtree proudly identifies as Taos Pueblo and Oglala Lakota, and through marriage, a proud member of the Navajo Nation. A mother, educator and community leader, Songtree wears many hats; including her journey as a nontraditional student and an educator, Songtree intends to use her deep love of community to make a positive impact on New Mexico.

Shannon Pinto

Senate District 3

A member of Navajo Nation, Shannon was born and raised in Tohatchi. After the death of her grandfather, Shannon was appointed to fill his vacant seat in the New Mexico Senate. The district, Senate District 3, is largely rural and predominantly Native American; it stretches from Gallup to Shiprock.

Cindy Nava

Senate District 9

Cindy is a proud immigrant and lifelong policy advocate running for Senate 9. Cindy became the first in her family to graduate from college, and the first Dreamer (DACA recipient) in the country to be appointed by the White House, where she focused on housing. Cindy also possesses expertise in education, bringing a robust experience to the New Mexico Senate.

Katy Duhigg

Senate District 10

Katy was born and raised in Senate District 10, a place her family called home – serving as local attorneys, doctors, physician assistants, and nurses, and instilling in her the same drive. Katy was elected in the 2020 election, holding leadership roles and championing election reform, voting rights protections, and ensuring access to the ballot for New Mexicans.

Linda Lopez

Senate District 11

Since first being elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1996, Senator Lopez has served Senate District 11 in Southwest Albuquerque, with passion and an uncompromised work ethic. She has a strong presence in the senate, a supporter of education, especially in the areas of special education and early childhood services.

Heather Berghmans

Senate District 15

Heather was born in Albuquerque and grew up in the East Mountains. Despite living elsewhere for several years, her heart never strayed far from her New Mexican roots and lead her back to her beloved state and Senate District 15. Heather has played an instrumental role in the successful passage of critical bills in recent years, and is ready to take on the upper chamber.

Natalie Figueroa

State Senate - District 18

Natalie is a 33-year public high school Spanish teacher who is serving her third term in the State House. As a legislator, Natalie has fought for education, broadband expansion, good government, and public safety. She is a graduate with distinction of Stanford University, and has an master’s degree in education from UCLA.

Anna Hansen

Senate District 24

As the daughter of an immigrant and a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Anna’s family instilled the values of common sense, hard work and perseverance. She is the first in her family to obtain a master’s degree. Anna has lived in Santa Fe for more than 40 years, working on a number of initiatives, and now serves on the county commission.

Veronica Krupnick

Senate District 24

Veronica is a Native New Mexican, raised on green chile, arroyo walks, and watermelon sunsets – her roots to the community are vast. She is a young Indigenous leader, and as an alumna of the foster care system, has dedicated her life to one mission: protecting children, young people, and families. She is running for an open senate seat to turn these values into policy.

Linda Trujillo

Senate District 24

Linda is running for Senate 24 in Santa Fe, where she has served as a state representative and school board member. As a former Head Start teacher and the first person in her family to graduate from college, Linda knows firsthand the impact education makes on a person’s life. If elected, Linda’s priorities will range from protecting reproductive rights to enacting common sense gun laws.

Angel Charley

Senate District 30

Angel is a dedicated advocate and community leader focused on improving the lives of rural and Native communities. Her work in enhancing the representation of Native people, and her deep involvement in political activism, are kinds of experience and perspective that would be valuable in the New Mexico State Senate.

Carrie Hamblen

Senate District 38

Carrie serves Senate District 38, where she started her career in news radio, and now serves as an advocate for protecting open spaces and local businesses. Since 2020, she has focused on economic and rural development and conservation. In the community, she proudly serves on the PFLAG and Southern New Mexico PRIDE boards of directors.

Liz Stefanics

State Senate - District 39

Liz is in her third term, working on issues that focus on health and human services; services to families; the spectrum of education support – children, teachers, staff, administration; the environment, water, and conservation; public finance; transparency; human rights; and a wide variety of other issues to improve the lives of New Mexicans.

State Representative Candidates

Doreen Wonda Johnson

House District 5

Doreen was elected in 2014, as a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives from the 5th district, representing the community she comes from, Navajo Nation. As chair of the Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs committee, she works toward advocating for further investments in improving the quality of life of New Mexico Tribes.

Patricia Roybal Caballero

House District 13

Patricia is a sixth-term Chicana/Latina/Indigenous legislator with valuable experience and a proven record of successfully sponsoring and passing impact legislation. Focusing on clean energy, paid sick leave, common sense gun safety, voting rights protection, a living salary and comprehensive benefits for all workers, Patricia is known as a steadfast social justice fighter for the people.

Dayan Hochman-Vigil

House District 15

Dayan was elected to the House in 2018, and has dedicated her time in the legislature to work on court reform, protections of the confidentiality of crime victims, and increased funding for sexual assault survivor services. Dayan represents District 15, which encompasses Albuquerque’s North Valley and NE Heights.

Yanira Gurrola

House District 16

Yanira serves District 16 in ABQ’s Westside, where she has resided for 16 years, after immigrating to this country in 2000. Leaving behind an engineering career, Yanira commits her life to education, and uplifting the lives of students and their parents. Yanira is a champion for education in the State House, grounded in her lived experiences and those of whom she teaches.

Marianna Anaya

House District 18

Born and raised in Albuquerque, Marianna brings lived experiences. The first in her family to attend college, Marianna helped them navigate a variety of systems – from homelessness and substance use, to medical care and the mass incarceration system. She is running to give back to the community that raised her and advocate for compassionate solutions for all New Mexico.

Anjali Taneja

House District 18

As the daughter of immigrants; a queer woman of color; a doctor with hands-on experience in reproductive health, spending her life caring for the underserved, Anjali understands the challenges faced by many. She sees her work as a bridge between healing and intersectional policy, expertise that will ground her as she develops solutions for a thriving future for all.

Janelle Anyanonu

House District 19

Janelle is the daughter of an immigrant and a proud Burqueña. Serving in the House, Janelle represents a rich and diverse community, focused on passing critical anti-discrimination legislation in order to build a fairer and more just New Mexico.

Meredith Dixon

House District 20

Meredith was elected as a New Mexico state representative for House District 20 (Albuquerque) in November 2020. At the beginning of her second term, she was appointed vice-chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC). In addition to her position on HAFC, she serves as a member of the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee.

Debbie Sariñana

House District 21

Debbie represents District 21 in ABQ, where she was raised and has the opportunity to raise her own family. Since 2017, Debbie, a veteran, has worked hard to make the Manzano high school area and East Central Gateway a safe and vibrant community for all families by ensuring a better-quality education for our kids, an end to gun violence, and passionately addressing the climate crisis.

Elizabeth Thomson

House District 24

Liz was first elected in 2012, lost in 2014, and returned to the House in 2016, where she has championed key pieces of legislation. Liz spent nearly 40 years as a physical therapist, almost exclusively in pediatrics, working with kids with disabilities. It was the diagnosis of autism in her own son, Eric, which moved her to deeper advocacy and becoming a leader in the House.

Cristina Parajón

House District 25

Cristina is the youngest person to serve in the House in almost 90 years. Coming from a long line of public servants, social workers, healthcare providers, pastors, and educators, Cristina is a proud Latina and Asian-American, working to address homelessness; making smart investments that fight climate change and support job opportunities for young people.

Eleanor Chavez

House District 26

Eleanor is a native northern New Mexican, raised in Santa Fe, and now serving district 26 in ABQ. Eleanor’s priorities include LGBTQ rights, access to reproductive justice and affordable healthcare, stable and secure housing, protecting the rights of workers to organize, and students’ rights to free speech. Eleanor is an all-around champion, grounded in the roots of those who came before her.

Pamelya Herndon

House District 28

Pamelya serves in the House working tirelessly on policy, specifically addressing gun violence. Born and raised in rural Texas, she attended Howard University, and later earned a law degree from University of Texas Law School, providing her the opportunity to lead a nonprofit that provides affordable legal representation to low- and middle-income New Mexicans.

Joy Garratt

House District 29

Joy is a lifelong teacher, who retired after 28 years to focus on the Legislature and champion key legislation. She is the granddaughter of homesteaders from Union County, with a passion for protecting the unique cultures and traditions of the state. Her priorities include championing economic development opportunities, apprenticeship expansion, and more.

Elizabeth Diane Torres Velasquez

House District 30

Elizabeth Diane believes in the core principles of equality, justice, and opportunity for all – and will fight tirelessly to uphold these values. That is why she is running for the House in District 30 in ABQ. As an associate professor, she firmly believes that education is the key to unlocking opportunity, and she will bring this urgency to the New Mexico Legislature.

Micaela Lara Cadena

House District 33

Micaela serves House 33, representing the Mesilla Valley. As a generational Chicana with deep roots in southern New Mexico, Micaela has a long history of leading efforts in policy and organizational development in nonprofit advocacy and state government. Her expertise has enriched the legislature during her tenure, through criminal justice reform and tax policy.

Angelica Rubio

House District 35

Angelica was elected to House 35 in 2016, where she has focused on addressing the climate crisis rooted in the principles of restorative economies, and leads the work to modernize the legislature to make it more inclusive for those with lived experiences. A bike commuter and cyclist, Angelica connects with her community on two wheels, making her a unique champion in the House and the streets.

Joanne Ferrary

House District 37

Joanne received her undergraduate and MBA degrees while raising two kids as a single mom. Her passion for public safety led her to a life of public and community service, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Elected in 2016, Joanne remains dedicated to expanding healthcare in New Mexico, fighting for women’s rights, and investing in public education.

Gabrielle Begay

House District 39

Gabrielle is a lifelong resident of southwest New Mexico, residing in Arenas Valley. As a first-grade teacher, Gabby understands the role teachers play as community leaders in a working-class community, and the role they can play as legislators advocating for public policy. Gabby hopes to empower, inspire, and educate future generations.

Susan Herrera

House District 41

Susan’s philanthropic experience brings results to communities in rural northern New Mexico’s district 51. She has championed water policy, building capacity in small communities to apply for federal funding, and regulating predatory commercial lending. Her unique ability to listen and understand problems is what drives her as a leader in the Legislature.

Kristina Ortez

House District 42

Kristina was elected to serve as State Representative for HD42 in 2020. She has spent her career dedicated to improving her community and protecting the environment, championing transformative legislation during her tenure in the House. When she’s not engaged in public service, Kristina loves to hang out with her family, reading, playing board games and watching MCU movies.

Christine Chandler

House District 43

Christine serves House 43, which encompasses northern New Mexico. Her grandparents were immigrants to this country, and while neither of her parents graduated from college, they encouraged Chris to pursue higher education. She feels fortunate to have had wonderful teacher-mentors, who helped with a career that prepared her to be a powerful leader in the Legislature.

Kathleen Cates

House District 44

Kathleen knows House District 44 well, as a homeowner, small business owner, nonprofit executive, civic leader, and as a parent. In raising both her children, she began participating in many local events and activities, grounding her understanding of the community’s goals and concerns which she now brings to the statehouse.

Linda Serrato

House District 45

As the daughter of a lifelong union worker, Linda knows that working together makes communities stronger and creates better futures for children. She has worked on policies ensuring that this future is bright for her two children, and for all New Mexican families. She and her family proudly live and serve in Santa Fe.

Andrea Romero

House District 46

Andrea is a daughter of northern New Mexico. After attending Santa Fe Public Schools, Andrea graduated from Stanford and received her law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law. She has dedicated herself to the growth of New Mexico’s community, economic, and environmental vitality. Andrea currently serves as a volunteer State Legislator for House District 46.

Reena Szczepanski

House District 47

Reena is a mom, experienced leader, and longtime resident of Santa Fe. She was elected in 2022, to represent House 47 and serves as the majority whip. She is the daughter of immigrants and the first Asian American to serve in leadership. While raising two young boys with her husband, Reena stands strong for New Mexico’s working people and families.

Tara Lujan

House District 48

Born and raised in Santa Fe, Tara is a mother of two, and was appointed to the New Mexico legislature in 2020. Through her lived experiences, Tara brings expertise in ensuring reproductive rights and affordable healthcare access to all. Additionally, she focuses on diversifying New Mexico’s economy, and protecting quality and accessible education for every New Mexican.

Doreen Gallegos

House District 52

Doreen was elected in 2012, and proudly serves District 52, which encompasses much of Dona Ana County, including New Mexico State University. As a social worker who has the privilege of leading the Mesilla Valley Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program, she has the expertise to be a formidable leader in the legislature.

Michelle Sandoval

House District 57

Michelle was born in Las Cruces, and raised in Rio Rancho, where she is now devoted to learning the ins and outs of government as she works to win her election. Employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, she also volunteers in the community, including starting a nonprofit called the Eco-Warriors that works to empower high school students to volunteer cleaning up polluted areas of our community.

Charlotte Little

House District 68

Charlotte serves the west side of Alburquerque. She is a small business owner, and has served in roles with the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Originally from San Felipe Pueblo, Charlotte has been married to her husband Joseph for over 29 years, and together they have a blended family with three grown children and nine grandchildren.

Michelle Abeyta

House District 69

Michelle “Paulene” Abeyta is a member of the Navajo Nation and is from To’hajiilee, New Mexico and continues to reside there today with her husband Chad and their children. She is running for a House seat to represent her community. Paulene’s passion for helping others and advocating for their best interest, stems from the cultural teachings passed on to her by her maternal grandmother.

Anita Gonzales

House District 70

Anita is a proud mother, and multi-generational Northern New Mexican, running for House 70. She has spent over 20 years working with STEM leaders, students, teachers, industry partners, and higher education institutions to transform the lives of rural small towns. That area is the ideal launching pad to represent her community in the Roundhouse.

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