PREVIEW: District 18 state house candidates on upcoming elections

Different candidates' campaign signs are posted up along the side of the road. Photo by Mackenzie Schwartz/ Daily Lobo

By Maddie Pukite/ Daily Lobo

The state House of Representatives seat for District 18, in which the University of New Mexico resides, is up for election this November. The two candidates vying for the seat are incumbent Gail Chasey (D), and opponent Scott Cannon (R). The Daily Lobo reached out to both candidates: Chasey agreed to an interview, but Cannon refused to comment after multiple attempts to contact him.

Cannon is a small business owner in the fire sprinkler systems trade, and according to his campaign website, he supports lower government spending and support for small business owners.

“Scott believes that we should put an end to the financial waste and put money back into the pockets of the hard-working New Mexicans,” his website reads. “ We must support business owners, cut taxes and fees, and let them truly thrive in order to build a stronger New Mexico.”

Cannon’s website also states he believes life begins at conception and is in full support of the second amendment as an Albuquerque Trap Club member and former State Shoot participant.

Chasey discussed what she has accomplished during her time in office and would hope to do if she was to be reelected.

“I’ve worked on education issues and criminal justice reform, and protecting reproductive health, for women … I was the primary sponsor of the bill to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Chasey said.

Funding education also remains one of her priorities as she wants to direct capital outlay funds toward infrastructure at UNM, her alma mater. Chasey also said she fully supports the Opportunity Scholarship, a statewide scholarship providing free undergraduate education to New Mexico residents.

“The Opportunity Scholarship is something that I’m a big supporter of … We’ve just heard some amazing statistics on that, and that is that the enrollment at all of our universities with all of our higher education institutions has finally started to increase again because it had started diminishing over the years,” Chasey said.

Cannon’s views on education, as stated on his website, include a more prominent role of every taxpayer.

“New Mexicans should be given the ability to pursue the knowledge and education they choose. If taxes are taken for education, you should be free to choose where it goes and have a say in what is taught within our classrooms,” the website reads.

When asked about her stance on rent control, which is currently banned at the state level in Law 8A, Chasey brought up a different law that had failed in a recent session.

“It would protect landlords from having to continue to rent to drug dealers, but at the same time, it would protect individuals who were genuinely trying to pay their bills and couldn’t afford it at the time,” Chasey said.

On abortion, Chasey says that she would want to push for more access across the state, as currently the only abortion providers are in Albuquerque.

“Some things that aren’t drafted yet but we’re in the works planning — that is to develop a full-service clinic in Las Cruces so that there’s not just Albuquerque as an area where there’s full service,” Chasey said.

Regarding criminal justice reform, Chasey said she wants to work to get legislation passed that makes it easier for those who were formerly incarcerated to vote, something she tried to do in the 2021 legislative session that died in the Senate.

“I’m going to be working on the probation parole reform bill, and I’m going to be working on providing independent oversight of the corrections system. We spend a lot of money on prison in this state, and we can do a much better job,” Chasey said. 

Louie’s Lounge, located on the bottom level of the Student Union Building on UNM’s main campus, will serve as a voting site until Nov. 8. Election results will begin to become available after polls close at 7 p.m. that night.

This story was originally published by the Daily Lobo

Maddie Pukite is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at managingeditor@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @maddogpukite