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Public lands commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard speaks at the Democratic watch party on election night at the Clyde Hotel on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Stephanie Garcia Richard to continue on as NM public lands commissioner

Democratic incumbent Stephanie Garcia Richard was reelected as New Mexico's commissioner of public lands. Garcia Richard was up against Republican Jefferson Bryd and Independent write-in Larry Marker.

Garcia Richard was the first woman to hold the position and oversaw the growth of the budget during her last term, acording to Garcia Richard’s website. She pushed for the use of solar and wind for energy, and she has served in the New Mexico House of Representatives for District 43, before becoming the public lands commissioner.

At the Democratic watch party in Albuquerque, Garcia Richard addressed the crowd before her race was called. She spoke about the public lands office's achievements and her excitement for Democrats in the state.

"Tonight is the night for us to celebrate, ladies and gentlemen. Think about all of your hard work: you never knew how it was going to turn out, but tonight you find out … Right away, we made billions of dollars for New Mexico schools; right away, we tripled renewable energy; right away, protected renewable resources … and all that work will pay off," Garcia Richard said.

In an interview with the Daily Lobo, Garcia Richard talked about oil and how public lands are working to introduce more renewable resources as a source for energy and income.

"Essentially it's how we fund schools in New Mexico, but we also know that it is contributing to climate change. We know that there is so many reasons — whether or not you think it is sustainable or not — it is a finite resource. So what we have been doing at the State Land office is looking for ways to diversify away from such a heavy reliance on one industry," Garcia Richard said.

She also talked about public lands' role in helping fight wildfires — her number one priority going into her second term.

"If you look at burn severity maps, you'll see that places where we properly thinned, where we maintained the forest, the fire actually burned less hot … On public lands, it's about maintaining the resource wisely, wise stewardship, wise land management … Priority number one is — and it's not sexy — but is to insure all of the equipment we have on state land, no matter what it is … are property covered with insurance. So should the bottom blow out of that economy, we aren't all holding the bill," Garcia Richard said.

Garcia Richard also talked about her enthusiasm going into a second term.

"I feel like we did so much already but I feel like I'm mid-stride and there is so much left to do," Garcia Richard said.

Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10

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