By Ramon Montaño, Candidate for New Mexico House District 23, as told to June Anglin, Chair, Precinct 146, DPSC
A native New Mexican born and educated in Las Vegas, the Democratic candidate for House District 23 has a long history of public service with an emphasis on education including serving as a three-term board member of the Las Vegas City Schools Board of Education. In 2010 he was elected president of the New Mexico School Boards Association and after moving to Rio Rancho, he was elected to the Rio Rancho School Board.
Ramon’s two older children graduated from Rio Rancho High School, and his youngest child will be a student there this coming year. A strong supporter of youth sports, he has been a volunteer coach for basketball, Little League, and a girls’ tennis team.
Early in his career, Ramon worked in several capacities at the Las Vegas City Police Department. This led to his employment as Director of Security for a company that provides security for properties throughout the states of Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico.
On a beautiful day at the end of June, on a patio in Corrales, Judy Gordon and I sat down to visit with “Swoops,” also known as Ramon Montaño.
What first attracted you to politics and public service?
My father was a Reagan Republican who was able to communicate respectfully with both political parties. He could work with a Democrat like Bruce King as well as a Republican like Pete Domenici. He served as the director of the New Mexico Department of Labor.
I wanted to understand politics. My father not only let me stay up to watch the late night news with him, but he also let me attend government meetings with him. I grew up in Las Vegas, New Mexico. When a I wanted to understand politics. My father not only let me stay up to watch the late night news with him, but he also let me attend government meetings with him.
I grew up in Las Vegas, New Mexico. When a liquor store was built near my house, and the unruly patrons started bothering the little children, I discovered a liquor store required a 6-foot wall between it and nearby residences. At age 16, I went to a city council meeting to demand the wall.
By age 22, I was running for city council. I did not win that first race, but soon after, I ran for a position on the school board, and won.
What elected official do you admire most and why?
I admire elected officials who speak up to leadership, including the leadership of their own party. This includes Hector Balderas, current New Mexico Attorney General, when he was a young state representative and would question bad policy no matter which party put it forward. I also admired Pete Domenici who would talk to both sides of the aisle and treat Democrats with respect. These men motivated me and set the example that I followed in my work.
If you could change one thing about politics, what would it be?
I would like to go back to the days when we could communicate with each other, work together, and reach shared resolutions. If elected, I want to be able to stand apart from leadership and speak up for the good of the people in my district.
If elected, what would you like to accomplish in the New Mexico Legislature?
First, I am concerned with infrastructure. I want to ensure that my district gets what it needs to make improvements for roads, schools, public safety including first responders, the judiciary to prevent “catch and release” for criminals, and water quality and water availability for development.
We also need common sense bills for our people and money for education. Money needs to go into the class- rooms rather than to administrative staff.
The Ramon Montaño Campaign needs help canvassing, soliciting donations, and getting out the vote.