Before she was elected to the state House of Representatives, Rep. Elizabeth Thomson had no idea how many issues she would have to work on as an elected official.
In her first term, Thomson introduced 21 bills on behalf of people in her district.
“I didn’t realize how big this job would be,” said Thomson. “A lot of the fun that I had this first term was learning about all these things that I didn’t even know I was interested in, but I’m finding out that I’m really interested in them.”
She’s interested enough to run again for House District 24, which covers a large section of eastern Albuquerque.
One of the issues that Thomson is focused on is creating more jobs for New Mexicans. She said the solution is creating a better educated workforce.
While she said she is in favor of the jobs that the movie and television industry have brought into New Mexico, she would like to create more high paying and permanent jobs locally.
Thomson said there would be more desire for people to start and move businesses into New Mexico if local workers were better educated.
“The biggest job creator, in the long run, is education,” she said.
As a parent, Thomson has an interest in the education system. She said she is in favor of raising the wages for educators, reducing class sizes, and providing early childhood education. She believes that, with so many styles of learning, children need more individual attention in order to succeed in school.
“I think with anything in education it’s got to be individualized,” Thomson said.
One of the most controversial issues during Thomson’s first term was same-sex marriage, which was approved by the State Supreme Court in December 2013. Thomson said she feels that marriage is a legal contract while the wedding ceremony is the more religious part. She says she believes that churches have the right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings but that it is not okay for the government to refuse what is, essentially, a civil right.
“I’m in favor of civil rights for everyone. I don’t think discrimination is appropriate anywhere and I feel like that’s just discrimination,” Thomson said. “We need to protect all classes of people.”
This election year, Thomson is running against Conrad James, the former representative whom Thomson defeated in the 2012 election.
Although she was new to the political scene two years ago, she said she feels more qualified now to continue in her political work.
“I look at bills and I think about how they’re going to affect New Mexicans, how they’re going to affect the budget, who’s the winner and the loser in this — so I feel a whole lot more qualified than I did two years ago,” Thomson said. “I just think I’m a better fit. I’m more in line with the people of my district.”
Of the 21 bills Thomson introduced during her first term only six passed, but she is not discouraged.
“I like to ask the hard questions in committees and on the floor,” Thomson said.
“I had the passion and the desire two years ago, I still have the passion and the desire now, I have a lot of knowledge and I feel like I’m a better fit for my district because I’ve been active in the community for many years.”