On Saturday morning, Linda Lopez, who has been in the New Mexico State Senate for 13 years, officially entered the already crowded race for Lieutenant Governor. She becomes the fourth woman to announce a campaign for a state office next year.
It appears, 2010 is truly shaping up to possibly be the "Year of the Woman" in New Mexico politics.
During her brief speech, Sen. Lopez told about 100 supporters, including most of the families of murdered women found buried this Spring on Albuquerque's West Mesa, that she's ready to be the state's next Lieutenant Governor on day one if elected.
Lopez said she has unique experiences that qualify her for the job. Lopez said her campaign will be about jobs for New Mexicans. She said many communities are in need and that she doesn't believe building prisons are economic development, instead she said they are becoming repositories for "our children."
Lopez noted more than half of the state's grandparents are raising their grandchildren. She said the state shouldn't be anywhere close to 54%. She recommends using technology to help teachers and families improve the education outcomes.
She also talked about Safe Coverage Initiative, which she described as a public health care option already in place in New Mexico. She said congress should pay attention to what is being done in New Mexico. She pledged to work on more access to health care and to work for medicare funding if she's elected Lieutenant Governor.
Lopez also promised to work closely on the governor's initiatives:
I'm not shy, two women at the head, we can create change, and we will.
With children playing in the park and others enjoying homemade breakfast burritos, Senator Lopez spent about five minutes outlining her vision and why she's running for Lieutenant Governor for us.
See what the Senator says about what she's been doing to help the murder victims in another video here. Also listen to her remarks on the state's budget crisis and her role, as the Senate Rules Chair since 2002, in reforming ethics laws in New Mexico in this video.
Eleanor Griego, the mother of a murdered woman, was at the announcement to support Lopez. She told 770KKOB News Radio why she is supporting Lopez' candidacy in this exclusive interview:
Griego said the children orphaned by the murders are doing well. The school aged children each got a $215 dollars for a "back to school" shopping spree after the group collected donations. Griego said having new clothes and gear for school helped their self esteem, but she's concerned some of them are still being teased at school.
Griego said one of her grandchildren's school mates insulted his mother, not knowing she was murdered, and that she's working with administrators to make sure the children are okay. She said many of the them are still getting counseling after attending six funerals this summer.
After announcing in Albuquerque in the morning, Sen. Lopez jumped on the Rail Runner and headed North to Santa for a 2nd announcement event on Saturday afternoon outside the REI store.
Her first fundraiser is scheduled for Wednesday evening at Fiesta's Restaurant in Albuquerque.
View a photo slideshow from the Lopez' announcement at Washington Middle School Park.
Blogger Mary Collins said in her "A Female New Mexican's Political Blog" post that the senator will have to answer some difficult questions before Democrats cast their votes. Collin and Lopez talked about violence toward women and childhood obesity, and pay parity in this video.