Urge to serve paves path for Sanchez
This November, Republican incumbent John Sanchez hopes to win his second term as lieutenant governor of New Mexico. And his prospects look good. Sanchez’s fate is tied to that of his running mate, Gov. Susana Martinez, who is leading in the polls against the Democratic ticket of Gary King for governor and Deb Haaland for lieutenant governor.
A passion to empower people
Sanchez said he has always had a passion for helping people and wanting to make New Mexico a better place to live. He said it started as a desire to serve publicly after being a business owner for over 20 years.
“The run for lieutenant governor was just a continuation of my commitment and passion to really try to help our state and ultimately try to empower people in a state that has some challenges,” Sanchez said.
As a child, Sanchez said he had a dream to become mayor of Albuquerque. He decided not to run for mayor but instead he served in the New Mexico House of Representatives from 2000-2002.
“From a young boy, I just knew that I wanted to be, not a politician, but I really wanted to be a public servant.” Sanchez said. “I think that some people feel they are given certain gifts and responsibilities, and as a young boy I recognized that.”
Sanchez’s great-grandfather was a territorial legislator for San Miguel County in 1860.
“I was very influenced by his knowledge of the state, his conservative principles which I’m sure had a big influence on who I am today,” Sanchez said.
In 2011 Sanchez decided to run for an open U.S. Senate seat during his lieutenant governor term. He pulled out of the running because, he said, he worried intra-party fighting was splitting the Republican party.
University of New Mexico Professor of political science, Peter Kierst, said that he understands why Sanchez decided to run for the Senate, but also understands his reasoning for pulling out of the race.
“He may have felt that he could not defeat Heather Wilson for the nomination and decided to conserve his resources for another race,” Kierst said. “He may have preferred to stay in New Mexico and run for governor again when Governor Martinez leaves office. He would presumably be in a good position to do that after serving faithfully as lieutenant governor.”
Small business supporter
Sanchez and his wife Debra are owners of Right Way Roofing and have been awarded “Small Business of the Year” two times by the small business bureau.
He said small businesses around the state are the backbone of New Mexico’s economy. “Always has been, always will continue to be so,” he said.
Sanchez had his realtor’s license for almost 30 years. He acquired his license right after high school.
“I was known as the young punk in real estate school,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he did not get an opportunity to go to college but he was able to start his roofing business immediately after high school instead.
Sanchez said that one thing that always drives him is the opportunity New Mexico has as a state. He said he believes that with some reform, New Mexico could be an example for other states.
“New Mexico has the opportunity to be the biggest energy producer of any state in the country,” Sanchez said. “From that perspective, if we were able to leverage and be able to take advantage of all the energy, both traditional and renewable, we can be a model state. ”
He said hopes to open up job opportunities for small businesses around New Mexico in his time in office. Sanchez said that if New Mexicans continue to take advantage of their resources, there could be some high paying jobs that could be brought into the state.
When Sanchez is not working and meeting with people, he said he enjoys spending time with his family. He said that he is able to spend time with his daughters Demaree, 20, and Alex, 25, now that they are older and he is in office and form a relationship with them that he wasn’t able to previously.
Sanchez said that the moment he loses his drive and motivation, he will step down from being a political figure.
He said that once he retires, he wants to be active still in the community.
“The ability to, as an older person, maybe to look about mentoring and being able to pay back to the community and to really kind of be, hopefully, an influence to younger people,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said that he is keeping an open mind about possible public service in the future.
“If the need arises and I feel that I can do the job, then yeah it’s something I would consider down the road but for now my passions are about remaining lieutenant governor and would actually prefer to serve as governor, not senator.”[/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=”3288″][text_output]
Lieutenant governor at a glance
Description: Serve as governor when she or he is out of the state; preside over the Senate and vote in case of tie votes.
Term: four years
Incumbent: John Sanchez