James brings scientific background to politics

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James brings scientific background to politics

Conrad James is a bit of a nerd.

He is a research engineer at Sandia National Laboratories and has worked on developing biosensors, which are living organisms such as enzymes that detect chemicals. He is also the vice president of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. And he is running for political office, again.

“One of the things I’d sort of always had concerns about was there weren’t a substantial amount of engineers and scientists in the political process,” James said.

James received his master’s and doctoral degrees in applied and engineering physics from Cornell University, he said.

“I think the way we solve problems using analytical methods is something that can directly apply to policy and that’s really what made me want to run for office,” James said.

Political race

James, a Republican, is running again for District 24 of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

The district spans across the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque. The bulk of the district runs along Lomas Boulevard, from Juan Tabo Boulevard to Wyoming Boulevard. According to 2010 Census data, the district has a population of 29,000 people. Around 30 percent of the population is Hispanic and more than half, around 60 percent, is Caucasian.

James held the position from 2011 to 2012, but was defeated in 2012 by Rep. Elizabeth Thomson. The two are battling again.

Running against the same opponent twice is an interesting experience, Thomson said. She said she hoped he would not run again.

“I feel like I am a better fit for my district because I’ve been active in the community for many years,” Thomson said.

“And I just feel like that really makes me more qualified than him and I think I am more in line with the people in my district. He’s got some pretty controversial ideas. ”

James said his priorities are the same as they were in 2011: education, economic policy and regulation.

“I think that our state is facing some very challenging times and we need a representative for this district that is laser focused on the economy,” he said.

James said he hopes to keep taxes “low, simple and predictable”  which will encourage home grown entrepreneurs and nationwide companies to establish their business in Albuquerque.

The community, he said, needs to continue its focus on the basics of education: reading comprehension, critical thinking and strong math.  James also supports charter schools.

“How do you get students ready for a particular area of interest that they have? Charter schools give students and parents the ability to do that, to tailor their education so they can meet the desires of their heart,” James said.  “One of the best things about schools is keeping students engaged whether its vocational or traditional academic, we need to have opportunities for students with different interest to further and develop those interests.”

Personal life

James stresses education in his personal life too. He challenges his three children to focus on personal development and encourage exploration of subjects they find interesting, he said.

“Continuing to challenge yourself and get outside your comfort zone is the best way to really broaden your mind and to improve your educational opportunities,” James said.

As a Christian, politician and a UNM Board of Regents member, life can be stressful, he said. His faith helps establish his purpose in politics.

“I think what (my faith) does is allows me to focus my intent and drive on service that’s what being a public servant is all about. It’s about helping the community . . . I think that mission of public service is really what my faith is all about,” he said.

The election process can be grueling for James’ family too, he said.

“I’ve got great support from the kids and from my wife. I think they all understand this is a temporary process and it will be over pretty soon,” he said.[/text_output][share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3443″][text_output]

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