A UNM regent has decided to make a bid for a State House of Representatives seat in 2014.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, UNM Regent Conrad James announced Monday that he has decided to run for the House District 24 seat next year.
James said he decided to run for election to the House three or four weeks ago because he hopes to help fix some of the state’s more pressing issues.
“I think the state is facing some very critical times in terms of education, in terms of the state economy, employment — all of the issues that are near and dear to the hearts of many New Mexicans,” he said. “I think that the best and largest impact I can have is by, again, being in the legislature.”
A former Republican representative, James was previously elected to House District 24 in 2010, but lost his reelection in 2012 to Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Thompson.
James said he thinks the state government has made good progress on issues such as economic reform and developing employment opportunities for college graduates. He said he hopes to continue working on these issues should he be elected into the House.
“I think I’ll just continue the same process that I had before of collaborating with the stakeholders and working with both sides of the aisle, both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office to try to solve some of these issues,” he said.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez appointed James to the UNM Board of Regents earlier this year.
Should he get elected, James said he is not sure whether he’ll stay on the University’s Board of Regents.
“I’ll have to reevaluate that,” he said. “But I’m not really thinking about that at this point. I’ve got a very difficult road ahead of me just to run for office, and so I’m more focused on that right now.”
James said his experience as a UNM regent has affected his views on higher education and on the state economy.
“I think that my experience with looking at the University budget, understanding the revenue sources, understanding the challenges faced in academic institutions, will definitely help me in terms of understanding how to deal with these issues in the Legislature,” he said.
James said his thoughts about issues involving student success encouraged him to run for office again.
“I think that some of those issues simply can’t be solved at some of those individual institutions,” he said. “They really need a legislative solution. That’s one of the main reasons why I decided to run again.”
Despite not getting reelected in 2012, James said he will not make changes from his last election run.
“I think things ran really well,” he said. “I think I’ll continue with the same message of working to improve the economy, working to reform education, working to make sure that New Mexicans have the opportunity to succeed.”