Updated: August 28, 2020 10:47 AM
Created: August 28, 2020 10:19 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On a warm Sunday August morning, KOB 4 joined Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Mark Ronchetti for a hike along with his wife Krysty, his two daughters and their two dogs on top of a mountain near Angel Fire Resort.
The altitude there is around 10,800 feet. It’s also where Ronchetti built his second home.
New Mexicans got to see the construction of that home in a series of televised stories that aired on a different network when Ronchetti was still working in the news broadcast industry as a meteorologist.
KOB 4's Chris Ramirez sat down with him at that cabin for a conservation to explore who he is outside the worlds of meteorology or politics; the two worlds most New Mexicans have framed him.
A Conversation with Mark Ronchetti
Ramirez: Thank you for inviting us on that dog walk. Do you do that often?
Ronchetti: We do it all the time when we are up here. We take the dogs out and we go with the girls; Krysty and I and the girls. It's a great spot.
Ramirez: People know you as a guy who is in a suit and tie, but the connection you have with the mountains and trees up here is something that a lot of people don't know about you.
Ronchetti: You know part of this gets back to what my job was, which is — nothing is more exciting than mountain weather. It's the greatest because it's intense, it's fast and the visuals are incredible. That's where I first started this and I've always felt like being in the mountains is where I'm closest to God. I've always felt that sense here.
Ramirez: There were people surprised you had an interest in politics and surprised about your political belief system.
Ronchetti: People say I didn't know you had political beliefs, but it was my job to make sure you don't know that when I'm doing the weather. I don't slip in, "by the way, we need to make sure we get our spending under control or we need to protect Medicaid." I can't do that in the middle of a weather forecast. I've always had an interest, not necessarily in politics — I didn't get into this for politics, I got into this because I'm sick of politics.
Ronchetti: When you have days when you're really spun up or stressed out, how do ground yourself? How do you center yourself?
Ronchetti: I pray. I read the Bible every day. I write out a verse and I write out how it affects my life and what I can do moving forward. And then I pray. To me, I try to stay grounded in God because that is why I did this.
Ramirez: A lot of what you've been talking about on the campaign trail has centered on crime and your frustration for crime. I read recently something you wrote about your own personal experience about a home invasion.
Ronchetti: I was at Channel 13, it was 2011, and Krysty called me about 9:45. We were about to go on to the 10 o'clock show. She was sobbing; I could barely understand what she was saying. She was in the closet of our master bedroom with our two girls, a gun pointed at the door because there was someone downstairs walking around in our house.
Ramirez: There is nothing more important to you than your family — in those moments, how did you even think straight?
Ronchetti: You don't. I was speeding home just praying. Praying the whole time, "please God — don't let this be what it could be.” As I got home and the police were there, Krysty was there and I hugged her and I hugged the girls — it's indescribable. But it also drove home the point that Krysty was there protecting our family. She goes to bat for this family every single day. And I know mothers across the state are the same way — they go to bat and so we need to go to bat for them.
Ramirez: You're not from New Mexico, but when did you realize that this is a place that see you as home?
Ronchetti: I came here in 1998. The things that are amazing about New Mexico are the people and the culture. I came here it's like nothing I had ever seen. Year after year, I loved it and I enjoyed it. New Mexico is something that grows in you — it's who you are. I chose this state, there is no question about it. You have no say in where you are born, but you have a say in where you want to live and raise a family and I chose here.
Ramirez: From outward appearances — you’ve been on television, you come into people’s homes in a suit every day. How do you still ensure that you are able to connect with New Mexicans who have lived a really different experience than you?
Ronchetti: Yeah, I think that is a really good point. First of all, living in this state and connecting with as many people as I do — it’s one thing to have a conversation with someone, it’s another thing completely to sit down with them to really get where they are coming from. The fact they sit up and night and stare at the ceiling and wonder how am I going to make a payment here? How am I going to make this rent payment? And how do I get my child out of the circle that I haven’t been able to get out of necessarily. How can we get a better education? How can we get streets that they can go out and play on? We feel those same things. We’re going out and spending time with people and finding out what they are going through.
Ramirez: How do you find the empathy to empathize with that single mom raising three kids in Valencia County or the grandparents raising their grandchildren in Mora County? Where does that empathy come from?
Ronchetti: I think you empathize partly through your faith. It’s a huge part of it. If you read through the Bible, it talks constantly about humility and about how God loves us all.
KOB 4 has debates and future interviews planned to dig into the candidates' policy proposals and political ideology. To watch the personality profile KOB 4 aired about Ronchetti’s democratic opponent Ben Ray Lujan, click here.
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