KUNM

Voices Behind the Vote

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Candidates in this year’s presidential election have been tight-lipped about the fight against an oil pipeline in North Dakota and how demonstrators there are being treated by police. That’s weighing on Sharon Chavez, who is Navajo and Hopi-Tewa. She’s a retired educator who’s lived in San Felipe Pueblo for 47 years. She talked with KUNM about what it means for her as a woman to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

Courtesy of Yesenia Luna

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has escalated the national battle over immigration and race in America with his views on Mexican immigrants and building a wall for border security. KUNM talked to Yesenia Luna, a pre-law student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, about how the national rhetoric affected her ballot.

The opioid epidemic is a national crisis, and in Northern New Mexico it’s a problem that’s been around for decades.

For the latest in our Voices Behind the Vote series, KUNM visited the home of an addiction counselor in Rio Arriba County to hear about her thoughts on substance abuse and the presidential race.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Mountainair is a small town in New Mexico about an hour and a half southeast of Albuquerque. It’s got one streetlight and one gas station. Pastor Darrell Roberts says he likes living out in the open where people look at things from a humble perspective and live a simpler—if usually less affluent—lifestyle.

As part of our Voices Behind The Vote series, KUNM talked with Pastor Roberts about what matters to him as Election Day comes down the tracks.

Ed Williams

Sexual assault, gender equality and women’s reproductive rights have taken center stage this election season, with controversial comments by Donald Trump galvanizing some voters’ support for Hillary Clinton.

KUNM met with one of those voters at a restaurant in Santa Fe to find out why she’s supporting the Democratic presidential ticket.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

If you live in a rural part of New Mexico where your nearest neighbor is miles away, it could be tempting to just tune out this year’s election. But David Doler says he can’t ignore things like Social Security, Medicare or any talk of infringing on a person’s right to keep and bear arms.

Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

New Mexico’s struggled to recover fully from the recession, and it can still be a real challenge to find steady work in the state. That’s central to how 18-year-old Quinton Valencia is casting his vote this year. KUNM tagged along with Valencia as he applied for a job at Target in Rio Rancho.

Sarah Trujillo

Several thousand supporters showed up at Donald Trump’s last-minute campaign stop on Sunday night in Albuquerque. KUNM chatted with them as they waited in line at the private hangar near the city's airport.

Neither major party presidential candidate has made public education a central theme of their campaign in this year’s election. Still, some voters in New Mexico see education as one of the most important issues in our country.

One of those voters is John Sena, a teacher at Española Valley High School. 

Ed Williams / KUNM/Public Health New Mexico

Many New Mexicans cast their ballot for the candidate who best represents their religious and moral beliefs. For Catholic voters, that can often mean the candidate who opposes abortion rights. One of those voters is Robert Wall, a computer technician who coaches a kids’ swim team in Albuquerque. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

For many voters, choosing who should be commander in chief includes weighing how the United States will relate to the rest of the world. KUNM hung out in the classroom with a soldier who’s also a college student at the University of New Mexico. Joshua Ramirez is voting for the first time in 2016 because foreign affairs and national security are his top concerns.

Elaine Baumgartel/KUNM

Thousands of Donald Trump supporters lined up outside the Albuquerque Convention Center Tuesday to hear the apparent Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, speak. Here’s a bit of what some of them had to say about why they plan to vote for him.

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Courtesy of Amber Royster

Amber Royster is a sixth-generation New Mexican and Navy veteran who served in the Iraq War and was deployed twice overseas. She said Bernalillo County’s advisory mental health ballot question and the secretary of state’s race are her main interests this year.

She’s a registered Green Party member, and said she generally prefers to vote on issues instead of candidates. She’s voting for Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver for secretary of state because that office can allow direct issues-based questions onto the polls.

Rita Daniels

 

Rodrigo Aguilera of Carlsbad spent decades working as a lab technician, first in the potash mines and then at a natural gas plant. A registered Democrat, he prides himself on not voting the party line.

One of the issues in this year's gubernatorial campaign is how much to raise the state minimum wage. Republican Governor Susana Martinez doesn’t want as big of an increase as her democratic challenger Gary King.

Ed Williams-KUNM

KUNM Public Health Reporter Ed Williams met with Julie Martinez in the courtyard of Holy Cross Hospital in Taos. Martinez manages the hospital’s substance abuse prevention program and works on drug issues with local youth for the non-profit Taos Alive.

Martinez wouldn’t say who she was voting for because of her work. She did explain that the entrenched problems of addiction and substance abuse in her community are shaping her views of candidates this year.

Olympia School District, State of Washington

 

Jo Ann Goodwin lives in Carrizozo where she says she follows politics year round. Even though she's a registered Republican she has not been pleased with the initiatives of Education Secretary-Designate Hannah Skandera.

Goodwin is a special education teacher and she says the student testing and new teacher evaluation system is ridiculous and has her questioning who to vote for.

Denicia Cadena

Christina Dominguez is a single mother of three kids in Albuquerque. Her primary interest in the election is the mental health poll question on the ballot in Bernalillo County. The question is only advisory, which means it wouldn’t become a law if passed, but it’s intended to allow the public to weigh in on mental health funding.

eggrole via Flickr

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Robert Pack is a fourth generation cotton and alfalfa farmer from Eddy County. Although a registered Democrat, Pack says he has never voted party line in his life.

Pack says he's not thrilled with either gubernatorial candidate. But he is a medical marijuana patient and is basing his vote on the fact that Republican Gov. Susana Martinez said she would shut down the state's medical cannabis program when she was campaigning four years ago.

Courtesy of Pete Comstock

Veteran Pete Comstock was wounded in Vietnam—once by a hand grenade and once by an AK-47—and he’s recovered physically. “I have some combat trauma issues that I had to deal with as I was recovering coming back. But today, most days I’m pretty normal.”

Comstock, a Republican from Cedar Crest, relies on VA health services and said he zeroes in on issues affecting veterans during every election cycle. In particular, he wants to ensure candidates will commit funding and support to medical care for returning soldiers, address military sexual trauma and work to stop the wars.

Rosemarie Sanchez and her 39-year-old daughter Nannie are disability rights advocates and hard-line Democrats. Rosemarie adopted Nannie, a child born with Down syndrome, when she was an infant. KUNM Public Health New Mexico reporter Marisa Demarco caught up with them at their home in Albuquerque’s Clayton Heights to talk about how their lives and their politics intertwine. 

Both women are concerned about changes to the developmental disability waiver in New Mexico.

Rita Daniels

 

On location at a film shoot in the Lincoln National Forest, KUNM's Rita Daniels caught up with independent filmmaker Jacob Roebuck. The self-described social conservative moved to Roswell from Los Angeles four years ago and has benefited from the state's film production tax credit

Ed Williams-KUNM

KUNM public health reporter Ed Williams traveled north to Taos County where he met with Marty Michael, a conservative voter in Questa. Michael is an active member of the community, and has worked with the county on water issues. 

“Drought, global warming’s affecting it, lack of rainfall, mother nature. It’s something that can’t be measured," Michael said. "The conservatives are interested in keeping our water here. No more water transfers.”  

Check out the other Voices Behind The Vote profiles!

Ed Williams-KUNM

KUNM public health reporter Ed Williams spoke with Santa Fe resident Allegra Love, a former public school teacher who now works as a lawyer for ADELANTE, a Santa Fe Public Schools program that provides help for families experiencing homelessness.

Love is also an immigration attorney. Since this summer she’s been working on asylum cases for refugees held in the federal immigrant detention center in Artesia. 

This election year, we’ve heard from New Mexico families in KUNM’s Voices Behind the Vote series.

In our final installment, we meet an Albuquerque  man who is a vigorous defender of 2nd amendment gun rights and believes these rights are connected to other rights in a democracy.  He also makes a distinction between issues of the head and issues of the heart.

Tom Tomasi is a bit soft spoken but he has strong opinions about politics. He spends most days working for the federal government, but he also runs his own business as a firearms instructor in Albuquerque.

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, the KUNM News team has been exploring the lives and politics of  New Mexicans- in frank and intimate conversations.

This next installment in the KUNM Voices Behind the Vote series took us to visit with a couple in Rio Rancho.  Marriage equality for same-sex couples is the number one issue for them this year.

When Mary Houdeck and Norma Vazquez went on their first date in the late 1980s marriage for same sex couples was like a fantasy dream for many in the gay and lesbian community. 

Voices Behind the Vote - Part 10: Gut Instinct

Oct 30, 2012

As we close in on the last few days of the election season, the KUNM News Team has been hitting the streets, trying to get a sense of what's propelling New Mexicans to cast their votes.

“My name's Romeo Rocha…”

Romeo says when his mom was pregnant with him, his dad took her to see Romeo and Juliet, hence the name.

Romeo: “Yeah when you are younger and everyone is making fun with you it seems like a curse but after awhile you get used to it.”

Carol Lovato was born in Chicago. Her father was in the military so the family moved around a lot – to New Mexico, California, and Germany.

When it came time for her to choose a place to live as an adult, she went to the place where she felt the happiest as a child – Albuquerque. And she found a job that was just right for her.

CAROL: I was a history teacher at bulldog city, Albuquerque high for 30 years.

Elaine Baumgartel

The KUNM Voices Behind the Vote series features intimate conversations with New Mexicans about the issues they care about most this election season. On a recent Friday morning, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel met up with Abdu Wakil Cyeef Din and headed to a Motor Vehicle Division office in Albuquerque. 

Voices Behind the Vote - Part 7: Romney's the One

Oct 23, 2012

Richard and Elaine Evans moved from Michigan to New Mexico for one...ok maybe two reasons. Aside from their grandchildren:

It was the flying that brought us to New Mexico. You have beautiful skies, and you can fly almost everyday. Richard and I had both flown, for years, small airplanes. And it's just been our passion.

Sarah Gustavus

Brianne Bigej has been really busy the past few years. She just finished law school at the University of New Mexico. Her partner, Eric Tomala is an academic advisor at UNM. He started a doctoral program in the Sociology department this fall. After work and school, Brianne and Eric try to squeeze in some time for fixing up a house they bought in Albuquerque in 2009.

BRIANNE: with all home projects, you have to have time and money…three years out will still have little bits and pieces left…laughing….

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