Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Stansbury Highlights Time in Corrales, Placitas on Whistle Stop Tour


U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque) was in Corrales on Tuesday (Aug. 1) to kick off what she described as a “whistle stop tour” during a six-week break in Congress. She also mixed in a visit with her mother.

During an appearance before about 70 people packed into the retail space at Fancie’s Bakery and Modern Market, Stansbury let people know she’s a Corrales Elementary School graduate and her mother lives just a few blocks away.

She referred to the village as her “old stomping grounds” and “one of the communities that raised me.”

Speaking to a reporter after her talk, Stansbury recalled the names of her fourth- (Mrs. Kimble) and fifth-grade (Mr. Hair) teachers and growing up on Roma Road and later Hollywood Boulevard. She also said that before moving to Corrales her mother settled on property within the Placitas land grant.

“I grew up with Placitas being very much a part of my story,” she said. “Sandoval County raised me. The culture, the history, is why I am who I am.”

Her education at Corrales Elementary and Cibola High School helped shape her interests.

“As a kid, I was involved in outdoor education and environmental education,” she said.

Stansbury went on to earn a master’s degree in science at Cornell. A self-described “water nerd,” she began work as an ecology teacher, spending some time at Cochiti and Jemez pueblos. She turned her focus to water rights after being appointed policy advisor for the Council of Environmental Quality in the Obama administration. She then went to work as a staffer on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Stansbury, who also served in the New Mexico House, called her quick ascension in U.S. politics a “wild journey,” going from a staffer to a U.S. House representative in just five years, winning a special election in 2021 after Deb Haaland vacated the seat to become the country’s first Native American U.S. Secretary of Interior.

Only now does Stansbury represent the people of Corrales. Redrawn Congressional districts shifted the entire village into CD1 this year.

Hard at work

Stansbury told her new constituents about her accomplishments, and those of the Biden administration, during the two years she’s been in office.

She said despite a fractured Republican Party, the last 18 months has been one of the most productive periods in Congressional history. The Inflation Reduction Act; $65 billion infrastructure bill; PACT Act, which expanded benefits for veterans; legislation reducing prescription drug costs; funding for early childhood education; and the CHIPS and Science Act that provides funding for semiconductor manufacturing and benefit companies like Intel, were all signed into law by President Biden.

Stansbury touted her own work, noting that she helped channel more water-related legislation out of the House than anyone ever has. She also boasted about her staff, saying the case work her office does is sometimes the most impactful on people’s lives.

“We have been doing the work,” she said, adding that serving New Mexicans in Congress is a joy, challenge, and opportunity of a lifetime.

She said social issues, like public safety, crime, addiction, homelessness and food insecurity, are priorities. But she would always be committed to preserving New Mexico’s land, water and welfare.

“That is my responsibility as an elected official,” she said.

Stop the insanity

Stansbury also reported on the current state of affairs in Congress, which she said has gotten “a little chaotic” on the House side.

“I have a front row seat to the insanity every day,” she said of her position on the House Oversight Committee, which includes GOP firebrands Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert, Jim Jordan and is chaired by James Comer.

The party also has divisions over former president and thrice indicted Donald Trump, who despite his indiscretions is the GOP frontrunner in 2024. “The majority of Republicans are very divided and struggling to find common ground,” she said. “It’s very discouraging. It’s not good for our democracy.”

She said Trump’s influence on the party has created a “fragile time for democracy.”

“We’re living in a world shaped by the former president,” she said. “We don’t have a functioning Congress right now.”

After her talk, Stansbury fielded questions about a variety of issues. She had yet to see “Oppenheimer” but did see “Barbie.” She opposes investment into hydrogen as a clean energy source. She agreed that public safety and national security is compromised without a resilient power grid around vital infrastructure and military bases.

While gas and oil helps drive the state’s economy, Stansbury said New Mexico remains well positioned to capitalize on the movement to clean energy.

Mentioning the two national laboratories in the state and plans to build the largest wind farm in America in the northeastern part of the state, Stansbury said, “New Mexico is at the forefront of the energy revolution.”

After the question and answer period, Stansbury stuck around to greet her new constituents and answer their questions one-on-one.


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