Sometimes, you just know when you’re done.
After 11 years serving in the New Mexico House of Representatives, Alonzo Baldonado (R-8) says it’s “time to turn the page,” making today, Friday, Dec. 31, his last day as a legislator.
“It’s been a good run,” Baldonado said. “It’s time to pass the torch.”
Baldonado said on Thursday he was delivering his letters of resignation that day to the necessary offices in Santa Fe.
First elected in November 2010, Baldonado was sworn in to his first two-year term in 2011.
In his time in office representing Valencia County, Baldonado said he and the local delegation have racked up some significant accomplishments, including securing partial funding for a second Interstate 25 interchange in the village of Los Lunas.
“They’re expecting to see that break ground late next year, last I was told. We seem pretty well to the way to getting that accomplished and last week, there was the announcement for funding for a hospital,” he said. “Those are things we’ve worked on pretty much the whole time I’ve been here.”
Baldonado said he was always proud to be a part of securing capital outlay funds for local agencies whether it was for flood control or improving sports facilities.
“The day-to-day stuff that really benefited the people of Valencia County,” he said.
In terms of legislation he sponsored and helped carry, Baldonado said he was proudest of the laws that improved real estate licensing, made it easier for notaries to do business and made game hunting and fishing more accessible to all New Mexico residents.
“In the last few years of my tenure, there has been a cohesiveness to our delegation,” he said. “We have been able to show the public we can work together and that has been my biggest satisfaction. I know some people are keeping us in office because they see that cohesiveness. I don’t think it existed (prior to) the last few years.”
Baldonado was also proud he was able to work closely and well with the leadership in the four municipalities he represented and the county.
“I was able to work with the mayors and councils, and have good, open relationships. There were open communications and I talked regularly to all of them, which has been beneficial,” he said.
Baldonado said he would miss the friendships and relationships of the Round House.
“The politics can be very stressful, but after the session, you go have dinner with people,” he said. “That’s something I don’t think people know exists. They think, ‘Oh he’s a Republican and she’s a Democrat.’ We can get along. It’s not rocket science. It’s about personalities and relationships.”
Baldonado thanked the voters of District 8 for electing him six times.
“I want to thank them for trusting me. Representing them in Santa Fe in a voluntary role has been an absolute pleasure,” he said.
Moving forward, Baldonado said he will be putting time and energy into building his real estate business.
“Being in the legislature, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort,” he said. “Now I can put that energy and effort into my business, and continue to be a part of the community.”
With Baldonado stepping down from the District 8 seat, the Valencia County commissioners will appoint his replacement for the last year of his two-year term. If the appointee wants to keep the seat beyond 2022, they will need to run for election next year.
Asked if he was considering a run for elected office in the future, Baldonado said that was “a big, huge question mark. There are no plans now, but one never says never.”
The county commission will be accepting letters of interest from those interested in filling the seat until 5 p.m., Monday, Jan. 10. Letters can be sent by mail to County Manager Danny Monette at P.O. Box 1119, Los Lunas, NM, 87031; dropped off in person at the manager’s office, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas, or sent via email to the manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.