By Gregory Bennett, Candidate for County Commission District 3, as told to June Anglin, Chair, Precinct 146.1, DPSC
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Greg graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California State University, East Bay. He moved to Pullman, Washington, where he obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Washington State University. He spent nearly 30 years researching drug- and environment-induced birth defects at various institutions (University of Cincinnati, Texas A&M, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center). He also taught biology at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, for several years. After his recent retirement, he and his wife, Jeannie, moved to Rio Rancho. During the pandemic, he volunteered at several mass vaccination clinics in Albuquerque.
My wife and I first chose New Mexico for its scenic beauty and wonderful, open people. As we have lived here, we have enjoyed New Mexico’s progressive politics and how the government, including the governor, the legislature, and the pueblo and tribal governments, work so hard for the good of the people.
New Mexico’s progressive politics has been a breath of fresh air.
If elected, what skills would you bring to the Sandoval County Commission?
I listen. This skill enables me to work with others. My history as a biomedical researcher also helps me to work with diverse individuals with differing opinions. In my field, we had to collaborate to obtain grants. We had to be able to articulate clearly what we wanted to do and how we would achieve our goals.
I would like to bring this skill to Sandoval County not only to work through what already lies before the commission, but also to obtain federal grants. For example, I would like to obtain economic development grants to create small business development centers to help family businesses in Sandoval County survive and thrive.
What changes would you like to see in Sandoval County?
We need to invest millions in our aging infrastructure. We need to work on water conservation in ways large and small. I would like to see the expansion of broadband internet services throughout our County. I would like to see voter participation increase.
With more people involved in politics, we have a better chance at keeping more local business opportunities in Sandoval County. I envision Sandoval County being more than simply a bedroom community, a thriving county where people live, work, and recreate.
Additionally, my hope is that this county becomes attractive to young people so kids might want to stay here rather than move away.
Finally, we need a sustainable plan for growth. As an example, I’d like to see more venues for restaurants and music here in Sandoval County.
Why did young people become disengaged from politics and government?
Perhaps our failures to deal with guns and the climate have left them feeling cynical or sold out. Also, how politics has been conducted in the last five or six years has changed everything. The lies and the name calling may have caused kids to tune out.
Let’s be honest, we need young people to know that their votes count and that the local elections truly matter. We need to find young people who want to get involved and encourage them to participate. We need their voices to be heard.
We need to bring civics courses back into the schools so young people can better understand the American system of government. These courses also demonstrate why their involvement in the political process is vital to our democracy.
Finally, we need to pay our legislature and their staff year-round so that young people can afford to take these jobs and be involved.
What are your ideas on bridging the gap between Democrats and Republicans?
I agree that the gap should be bridged. We must do something about the polarization in our country, our state,and our county. On our best days, we all want to get things done for the people. We just disagree on how the job should be done.
But on our worst days, we forget the pressing needs of the people and the of our time to indulge in simple political grandstanding.
My promise to the people of Sandoval County is to work for the common good, not for one “side” or one “team.” Time is short and the needs are great. I will work, not play politics.
Visit http://gregorybennett4nm.com/ to learn about Greg!
Contact Greg at 505-705-7938 or Greg4NM@gmail.com
Find Greg on Facebook: Gregory Bennett 4 NM