Early voting for the 2020 general election is underway through Oct. 31, and Election Day is Nov. 3. For more information, visit sandovalcountynm.gov and click on “2020 Election Information” under “Quick Links.”

The Observer asked candidates running for Sandoval County offices and state legislative seats representing southern Sandoval County to answer a list of questions. We share their answers here.

Answers were not edited, and were held to a strict word limit.

Susan Aguayo, Republican

Community of Residence: Rio Rancho

Susanna Aguayo

Education: Early Childhood, CHW, Business Administration, Certified Community Health Worker and Doula

Professional and Political experience:

• I am not a politician but I am heavily involved in the community regarding issues that many people in my community face, Some examples are mental health and education in which I am a strong advocate for and try to encourage others to do so as well at different levels.

• I am the Founder and CEO of Kassy’s Kause, a non-profit organization focused on breaking the silence of perinatal depression.

• Business owner with Mary Kay for 20 years

• Administration Assistant in the special service department of Comsewogue School District in New York

• Collection official for child protective services in Suffolk County, New York

Have you ever been charged with a felony or DWI? No

How can people reach you if they have questions? I can be reached through email [email protected] or by phone 505-603-2988.

1. What restrictions or requirements should the state government be allowed to enact in public-health emergencies, and what should be the procedure for enacting them?

The state should allow health appointments to be in person again. The control of mandatory mask wearing always is not a healthy decision that should have been decided on an individual basis. Our freedom of attending church, having gatherings should not be limited and people should just have been informed of the health risks and allow people to be adults to make that decision.

2. What, if any, changes should be made to funding and regulation for law enforcement in New Mexico?

Our police department is especially important for the safety of our state. Especially now when our state is high in crime rates. We should put in place some training programs on how to deal with psychiatric and hyped on narcotics individuals. How can we consider taking funding away now when we have police officers coming straight out of high school? They now no longer need college degrees. This will take away from the training the new officers would be needing. We need to help as a community for the future leaders.

3. What, if anything, should be done about the issues of racism and racial equality in New Mexico?

New Mexico is such a diverse state, which makes it so unique and why I have enjoyed raising my children and grandchildren here. We need to teach our children to respect one another and embrace others nationality and cultures. I believe this discussion should start at home, being a good role model for our children by treating others with respect. I believe schools should offer a cultural sensitivity class placed part of their curriculum.

4. What should be done to help New Mexico’s economy recover from the pandemic?

New Mexico must diversify its economy. First, we need a plan to support the family businesses that are a backbone to New Mexico’s economy. Then we need to advocate for deregulation so that businesses are attracted to our state and in return would help existing businesses to thrive.

5. What are your views on universal health care?

People should be allowed to choose the health care of their choice. What works for one do not particularly work for the other.

6. What would be your top priorities in the upcoming legislative session?

My top priorities are the economy, mental health, and education. We need to help businesses get back on their feet. We need more resources and facilities to assist with maternal mental health and other types of mental health. Also, we need to provide the students with the support they need to graduate High School and if they choose to continue their education or a job skill to work and be independent

Benny Shendo Jr., Democrat: Shendo did not return a questionnaire.