Noreen Kelly entered the race late and has a steep hill to climb, but adding another indigenous woman’s voice to the Senate is a worthy goal. Plus, we add a slew of recommendations in down ballot races across the state.
Today,we offer an endorsement of Noreen Kelly — a very strong endorsement. Keep reading to learn why we feel strongly about electing Noreen Kelly. And in the right column (on phones at bottom of post), we offer a “Voters Guide” that captures recommendations on down ballot races, State House and Senate races, and several county races.
We just don’t have time to do the scale of research and writing to prepare endorsement statements for as many candidates as we would like. Yet, in 2018 our “Voters Guide” was one of our most appreciated posts. So, we are indebted to Progress Now for publishing their endorsements, where they identify advocacy groups who have endorsed each candidate, making it easy to see who our allies endorse.
Our Choice in District 4:
Noreen Kelly entered the race late, is running in a McKinley County district beset by a horrendous Covid outbreak, and is facing a formidable opponent in Senator George Muñoz. It will be a challenge for Noreen to win this race, but if she does, she will add another indigenous woman’s voice to the Senate, and she will be a fierce advocate for justice.
Positions On Priority Issues
Noreen’s choice of priority issues tells you a good deal about her candidacy.
Environmental Justice: She is an environmental activist and believes in the protection of Mother Earth and Father Sky. She strongly supports two environmental justice issues:
- Uranium is an issue that impacts the health of communities in McKinley County. She is from the community of Church Rock, and she has been a life-long advocate against Uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.
- She supports transitioning local school buses from fossil fuel to electric. In McKinley County, a recent Health Impact Assessment showed that McKinley has one of the highest asthma rates in the State of New Mexico.
Language Preservation & Early Childhood: Being fluent in the Diné/Navajo Language, she believes in the importance of culture and language preservation. She is a Board Member for Wingate School Board, and she believes that we need to invest in Early Childhood Funding, including Language Preservation for our Indigenous children in McKinley County.
Food Sovereignty: Food Sovereignty is the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food. She strongly believes that all people should have access to healthy and culturally appropriate foods. The term “food desert” is a familiar concept to those who live on the Navajo Nation and Pueblos. A food desert refers to a region where access to fresh food is limited. Noreen is in full support of providing better opportunities to access fresh food and local resources. Healthier food options will decrease the high diabetes rate as well as other health challenges. Please click here to learn about the importance of Food Sovereignty on the Navajo Nation.
Here are our recommendations gleaned from conversations with trusted allies. (See previous State Senate endorsements under “Election” in the top menu bar.)
NM State Senate:
- Dist. 3: Shannon Pinto
- Dist. 8: Connie Trujillo
- Dist. 17: Mimi Stewart
- Dist. 20: Rebecca “Puck” Stair
- Dist. 13: Patricia Roybal Caballero
- Dist. 17: Debbie Armstrong
- Dist. 40: Roger Montoya
- Dist. 42: Kristina Ortez
- Dist. 45: Linda Serrato
- Dist. 50: Matthew McQueen
- Dist. 65: Derek Lente
- Dist. 70: Anita Gonzalez
- Bernalillo County Treasurer: Nancy Bearce
- Bernalillo County Commission, Dist. 2: Frank Baca
- Bernalillo County Commission, Dist. 3: Adriann Barboa, a solid choice.
- Grant County Commission, Dist. 54: Harry Browne, strongly backed by Silver City activists.
- Santa Fe County Clerk: Katharine Clark
- Santa Fe County Commission, Dist. 5: Hank Hughes, Co-founder of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.
- Torrance County Commission, Dist 3: Augustine Montoya
Noreen Kelly has been active in McKinley County and the Diné Nation for many years, earning the respect of activists we know and trust. For example, this from Adriann Barboa:
“Noreen Kelly is a proven leader in McKinley county. Forward Together Action will work hard to help Noreen win because we know she will work hard in the Legislature to ensure our families have the rights, recognition, and resources to thrive.“Adriann Barboa, Forward Together Action, New Mexico Policy Director
- Working Families Party;
- Conservation Voters New Mexico
- Sierra Club
- Forward Together, Action
- Emily’s List
- Planned Parenthood
- Native Vote
- Progress Now
- Retake Our Democracy
Why We Oppose Sen. George Muñoz
You can tell a good deal about a candidate by examining how they have been rated by any number of supposedly non-partisan think tanks. Muñoz’s ratings include:
- NRA: 100%
- Conservation Voters NM: 48%
- Association of Commerce & Industry: 100%
- National Federation of Independent Business: 100%
- Animal Protection Voters: 57%
So, Senator Muñoz takes good care of gun owners, commerce, industry, and business, but not such good care of animals, the environment, or those seeking gun violence protection.
You can also tell a good deal from an elected representative’s voting record. And here, also, Sen. Muñoz’s record leaves much to be desired.
In 2019, Sen. George Muñoz, District 4, voted NO on the Senate Floor on:
- HB 51 Decriminalize Abortion
- SB 76 Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests
- SB 8 Firearm Sale Background Checks
In 2020, Sen. George Muñoz voted NO in Committee and/or on the Senate Floor on:
- SB 5 Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order
- SB 95 Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force
Senator Muñoz also voted YES on SB 274, which would have postponed by 5 years the implementation of a new top-income tax bracket of 5.9% set by 2019’s House Bill 6. Who would benefit from delaying the creation of this new top bracket? According to the Financial Impact Report, the bracket includes single filers with taxable incomes over $210,000, and married filing jointly and head-of-household filers with taxable incomes over $315,000. How much would this giveaway have cost the state? $200 million between now and 2026. And those funds would have benefited the wealthiest 3% of New Mexicans. The bill did not pass, but here is what $200M in revenue, according to NM Voices for Children, could support:
- A tax credit increase for more than 200,000 families, especially for those with young children;
- Hiring of 975 school teachers; or
- Enrolling an additional 5,000 3- and 4- year olds in full-day pre-K
Apparently, Muñoz felt that money would find a better use by giving wealthy New Mexicans a bit more to put in their savings or for their next catered affair. Guess who Sen. Muñoz sees as his real constituents?