Editor's Note: All information about the candidate's individual platforms come via their respected campaign websites, unless otherwise stated.
U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)
Incumbent for New Mexico’s First Congressional District
Lujan Grisham is serving her second term as U.S. representative of New Mexico’s First Congressional District. Her family has been in New Mexico for 12 generations.
She is known to put her constituents first and helps build a strong economy for New Mexico residents. Lujan Grisham has experience working with veterans, helping with environmental causes, investing in the preservation of the Sandia Mountains and has been involved in legislation to bring funding back to public schools.
She is also a former small business owner, Bernalillo County commissioner, secretary of health, and secretary of Aging & Long-Term Services.
Rep. Lujan Grisham currently serves on three committees in the U.S. House of Representatives: Budget, Agriculture, and Oversight and Government Reform. She was also selected by her colleagues to serve as 1st Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Campaign Finance Reform
Lujan Grisham supports overturning Citizens United and believes that government, corporations and donors are taking advantage of the current system.
Education serves as a way for New Mexico’s future generations to compete in the global market. Investments in education and retaining students in New Mexico public universities will help grow new business and industry within the state.
As the Whip of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, she has worked hard to keep families together, providing an earned pathway to citizenship. Lujan Grisham also supports enhanced border security, growing the economy and developing policies that are in line with core American values.
Lujan Grisham supports the right to abortion and is a supporter of women’s reproductive rights. She stands against legislation that limits the right to choose, and opposes cutting funding to Planned Parenthood.
Jobs and the Economy
Grisham is a supporter of small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises that serve as key components in New Mexico’s economic recovery. She works with corporate citizens to create an economy that provides good-paying jobs and sets the path for a prosperous economic future.
U.S. Representative Candidate Richard Priem (R)
Candidate for New Mexico’s First Congressional District
Priem served in the U.S. military for 21 years and considers himself an “expert in combating terrorism.” During his Army career, he worked as provost marshal, as an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy and as inspector general at the Department of the Army.
Priem holds a degree in radio, television and film from the University of Texas, a Master of Education degree in educational media from the University of Georgia and has completed coursework in a psychology doctoral program at the College of William and Mary.
Before his service in the Army, Priem worked as a news reporter and disk jockey on several radio stations in Texas.
U.S. Representative Steve Pearce (R)
Incumbent for New Mexico’s Second Congressional District
Steve attended New Mexico public schools, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from New Mexico State University and an MBA from Eastern New Mexico University.
He served as a combat pilot during the Vietnam War, logging over 518 hours of combat flight and 77 hours of combat support. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals, as well as seven other military medals and four exceptional service awards.
Pearce attained the rank of Captain and continued service at Blytheville Air Force Base in Arkansas.
Pearce serves on the House Committee on Financial Services, and as chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus. His goal is to continue helping create jobs in southern New Mexico.
As an owner and operator of Lea Fishing Tools, an oilfield services company in Hobbs, he considers himself a small businessman. This made him aware of the regulations and taxes on small-business owners. He feels that small businesses in southern New Mexico form the backbone for job creation and economic growth.
Pearce wants every school to face tough scrutiny, raise standards and push for the best in each of its students. Competition through choice would be a catalyst for improvements in public schools performing below standards, including those serving low-income students.
He has worked to strengthen teacher training and increase student loan forgiveness for highly qualified teachers. He wants to ensure that New Mexico school districts have the flexibility necessary to educate students of all backgrounds.
Jobs and the Economy
Pearce says taxes and regulations have killed jobs across America. Regulatory balance is needed with solutions that do not cost a single job. He has previously introduced legislation to restore jobs in the state’s logging industry.
While working on the Financial Services Committee, he was committed to holding Wall Street accountable and helping rebuild the small businesses of southern New Mexico. He supports policies that allow economic opportunity and job creation. Pearce believes bringing manufacturers back to America will help create and protect jobs.
On his campaign website, Pearce called the mission of stopping the “violence, drug and weapons smuggling, and human trafficking on the border” a complex issue. He believes everyone must be involved in creating strong border security policy, and believes Washington has ignored local needs in this regard for too long.
U.S. Representative Candidate Merrie Lee Soules (D)
Candidate for New Mexico’s Second Congressional District
A graduate of Las Cruces High School, Soules earned a Bachelor’s of Electrical Engineering from Cleveland State University, and went on to earn a Master’s of Business Administration at Harvard.
She served as Chair of two Las Cruces Public Schools redistricting committees, and is currently a member of the American Association of University Women. Soules was also a past chair of the Doña Ana County Labor Management Relations Board.
She worked for 30 years with General Motors’ Packard Electric Division leading financial, technical and strategic business.
Soules believes the U.S. does not have a functioning process to provide immigrants with legal documented status. She wants Congress to approve a pathway to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants who have contributed positively to their communities.
The same should be done for U.S.-raised children of undocumented immigrants, she states on her website. Legal counsel should be guaranteed to unaccompanied children whose cases are heard in immigration courts.
Soules opposes Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
As outlined on her website, Soules believes the decision of “whether or not to terminate a pregnancy belongs between a woman and her doctor, a woman and her family, a woman and her faith leader and, ultimately, between a woman and God.”
She believes government shouldn’t have a say in the decision.
Soules sees the need to continue developing a quality education system. Public schools need to be strengthened to guide students in life, and provide them with skills needed to have a high quality of life. Education is pivotal to economic prosperity, and she believes teachers and school administrators are key to an effective educational system.
Fiscal Policy and the National Debt
Soules wants responsible spending, and to take the opportunity to eliminate wasteful government spending. Seniors and children should not be burdened with the national debt, her website states.
She supports efficient investments in the nation’s infrastructure, public health, universities and research centers. She also supports spending that generates a strong return on investment and is an effective way to reduce national debt. She sees across-the-board cuts as depriving the nation of strong sources of economic growth, and will increase future debt burdens if elected.
Ben Ray Lujan (D)
Incumbent for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District.
Lujan went to New Mexico Highlands University to study business administration. He served as the chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, where he represented North Eastern, North Central and Central New Mexico.
Before his election to the PRC, he served as the New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department’s director of administrative services and chief financial officer. He also served as deputy state treasurer. Lujan considers himself a “leading voice in the House in the fight against climate change.”
Lujan supported Wall Street reform and an amendment to help end big banks from merging with nonbanks that could create market monopolies.
Lujan voted to invest in clean energy and move the country away from dependence on foreign oil. He considers himself a leader in the fight for a renewable energy standard, and sees New Mexico as a natural leader in renewable energy development.
According to his website, Lujan also believes that promoting renewable energy can be good not only for the environment, but for the economy as well.
Lujan introduced legislation to protect the Sabinoso Wilderness and the Rio Grande del Norte conservation area. He advocated for land grants so that New Mexico’s traditions are preserved.
Lujan made himself available through hundreds of public meetings and by traveling thousands of miles across one of the largest districts in the nation (47,000 square miles). Lujan also voted against an automatic pay raise for members of Congress.
Michael Romero (R)
Candidate for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District
Romero is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He served as Deputy Sheriff in Taos county for two years, as a Las Vegas, Nevada police officer for 14 years and as a resident officer for an additional nine years.
He is running for Congress because he believes that his background, values and direction in life would benefit all New Mexicans, according to his website.
Romero believes that a government mandate to increase wages will not help improve poverty, according to his website, and GDP improvement will help poverty in New Mexico. His platform states that he believes people stay in poor economic conditions without business growth, and that natural resources should be used to attract new industry and business.
Romero believes that New Mexico’s borders should be secured, and existing laws enforced. Foreign nationals should be properly documented, and state issued licenses for documented immigrants should only be recognized within the state.
Romero sees unemployment benefits as removing the motivation to work. He believes there should be a requirement that people return to work after a set time period of unemployment, as these benefits are hurting New Mexico’s economy.
Nikole McKibben is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nmckibben92.