Arnold-Jones Enters 1st Congressional District Race

Arnold-Jones Enters 1st Congressional District Race

Republican Seeks To Protect Federal Programs

There will be at least one Republican in the race for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones said Tuesday that she is running for the seat and has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

So why run in a district that is becoming more and more Democratic?

“I believe in New Mexico and believe that there are things that can be done that we have not done,” Arnold-Jones said. “One question that needs to be asked is how does a member of Congress make a difference? The first thing that a member of Congress has to do is show up for the committee meetings and be an advocate at every turn for the state of New Mexico.”

That involves protecting the state’s federal programs and dollars, Arnold-Jones said, adding that with New Mexico’s economy still in the tank it is no time to for the state to turn its back on the feds.

“We might not like the dependency on federal dollars but we can’t run away from federal money at this point. We have served this country well partly because we have the space to do it.”

Arnold-Jones said that health care will be another issue she’ll discuss.

“I’m tired of talking about insurance, I want to talk about medical care,” Arnold-Jones said. “The amount of layering we have [in the insurance industry] is a good jobs program, but the issue is what is keeping people from getting medical care? Those are very different.”

The Democratic race for the seat is already crowded. Candidates include former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland, Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, physicist Dennis Dinge, Edgewood Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams, former law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Damian Lara, president of the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association.

Arnold-Jones spent eight years in the state House of Representatives, first being elected in 2002. She ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, and in 2012 lost to Lujan Grisham in a race for the 1st Congressional District.

She also served as an Albuquerque city councilor in 2013, having appointed to the seat by Mayor Richard Berry, but lost the seat in a runoff election to Democrat Diane Gibson.

Arnold-Jones said she’ll spend the campaign asking tough questions about politics and government.

“I don’t always have the answers, but I have a lot of questions,” Arnold-Jones said. “We are not going to get good answers until we put all the questions out there.”

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at