New Mexico lawmakers focus on crime ahead of election

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Crime is perhaps the biggest issue as we ramp up the November election.

KOB 4 heard from House Republican hopefuls who say they have a plan to make neighborhoods safer but that goal is not partisan. New Mexico’s top Democrat says we are taking steps forward and agrees there’s more to do.

“These are not just events that happen and they’re gone. We wake up every morning and see another murder, what do they say? ‘Oh there’s another murder in Albuquerque’ while they’re having coffee like it’s no big deal, it is a big deal, those are our children. When I have a special event when I have a holiday, do you know where I’m at? I’m at a cemetery looking at a headstone with my son’s picture on it,” said Nicole Chavez.

Chavez is an advocate-turned-candidate for House District 28. After years of not-so-successful legislation, she’s determined to be that change.

“Crime is not Republican and it’s not just Democrat, it’s happening to all of us,” said Chavez. 

She joined a group of hopefuls, along with long-time lawmakers — Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert and Rep. Bill Rehm — rolling out a safe communities plan: closing the revolving door, targeting organized crime, while increasing funding for crime victims.

They say not enough was done to address crime in the last session — or others before.

“I’ve introduced ending the statute of limitations on second-degree murder the last 15 years, we finally got that. The big crime bill we could go through that and I will in the future and show you where it actually reduces penalties,” said Rehm. 

New Mexico’s top Democrat, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, says we are taking steps forward. 

“We had a very effective crime session to address crime and the accountability even though it was a budget session,” said Lujan Grisham. 

She says bail reform and keeping violent criminals in jail are on the to-do list.

“I’m going to ask for the same kind of system the federal government uses which is a presumption the DA and PD have to come together to get you out, but not to keep you in,” Lujan Grisham said. 

The big message Monday was for voters to be informed and to understand the issues that impact people, and which candidates have plans in place to address them.