Billy Garrett to run for New Mexico lieutenant governor

Las Cruces Sun-News

By: Ali Linan

LAS CRUCES – Doña Ana County District 1 Commissioner Billy Garrett formally announced his run for New Mexico lieutenant governor Tuesday evening at Plaza de Mesilla .

Garrett is the fifth Democrat and sixth overall to announce their candidacy for the position. The other Democratic candidates are former Public Education Commissioner Jeff Carr, of Eagle Nest; David McTeigue, of Rio Rancho; former State Representative Rick Miera, of Albuquerque; and State Senator Michael Padilla, of Albuquerque. Former Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department Kelly Zunie, a member of Zuni Pueblo, is running on the Republican ticket.

“We all know that New Mexico is a special place; rich in natural beauty and history, distinguished by multicultural traditions and wonderful people. We also know New Mexico is in serious trouble,” Garrett said. “Our system of government depends on trust and that trust is being violated.”

Garrett said he intends to restore trust in the government, making it his top priority if elected.

Garrett is the only candidate who is actively involved in local government, which he said he believes is critical, and sets him apart from the other candidates. Garrett also said his past experiences will help him in the role.

“I have a much wider experience base in terms of working in government and the kinds of work that is actually done by a lieutenant governor,” Garrett said. “I want to use everything I’ve learned over the years to make this state government more responsive to New Mexico residents. And by doing so, strengthen our trust in our public sector.”

Garrett is a third-generation New Mexican who grew up in Las Cruces and attended Las Cruces High School. He has served as a county commissioner in Doña Ana County since 2010, a position in which he has worked to improve financial management and effectiveness in county government, according to his Facebook page.

Garrett said he has spent 35 years in public service, working at every level. He’s led regional planning efforts and championed the establishment of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, he said.

“I am running for lieutenant governor because that specific job is all about helping the governor and the Legislature improve public service,” Garrett said. “That is the kind of work I have done my whole life, and so, I know how to pull it off at that level.”

For now, Garrett said he will be focusing on the primary election and getting his name on the general election ballot. Until that happens, he said he will not publicly support a candidate for governor, adding that he would be happy to work with whomever ends up on the ticket.

In New Mexico, the lieutenant governor runs separately from the governor in the primary election. The respective primary winners are on the same ticket for the general election.

The primary will be held on June 5, 2018. The general election will be held Nov. 6, 2018.

Ali Linan can be reached at 575-541-5476, or @Ail__Linan on Twitter.