As the election grows near, voters want to know about the candidates. Over the next months the Observer will be posting Q and As as responses come in. These are the candidates in Sandoval County.
Jason Harper(R): candidate for Distric 57(Rio Rancho) State Representative
Observer: What is your background with politics, community, and your education?
Born and raised in Rio Rancho, I know and love this town like only a local can. I married my high school sweetheart, Mary, 23 years ago, during our college years at New Mexico Tech, where Mary earned a B.S. in Materials Engineering, and I earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. I later earned my Master of Science from Purdue University, and my Ph.D. from UNM, all in Chemical Engineering. But our proudest “engineering project” together has been our four kids, ages 12 to 20 years old, who we raised here in Rio Rancho, attending our excellent public schools. During those college years, I went overseas for two years to Budapest, Hungary, as a church volunteer, leading a team of 20 Americans and Hungarians. I returned home fluent in Hungarian, and with a deep appreciation of American freedoms and opportunities. I’ve worked at Sandia National Laboratories for 18 years now, developing devices to safeguard our soldiers from biological warfare. Popular Science magazine named my anthrax detector as one of the greatest innovations of 2016. For me, politics started in seventh grade, riding my bike door-to-door, handing out flyers for my dad, who served on the very first Rio Rancho School Board. Following that tradition of public service, I’ve continued to work hard for you as your State Rep these past 10 years, finding better solutions for a better New Mexico.
Observer: Why are you running for this position in particular?
While I love this state and my hometown, it’s clear that we have a number of challenges. And as a Ph.D. research scientist, I know how to analyze problems and find practical solutions. I’m not a politician. I’m a husband, a dad, and a neighbor who will always put people ahead of petty politics and special interests. My record proves this, as I’ve been called “the bridge between both parties,” as a testament to my working together with anyone who wants to improve our state and our community, regardless of personal politics.
Observer: What do you plan to do in the first year (if you are elected)?
This next year, I’d like to build on the work that I’ve been able to do the past 10 years as your State Rep. That work has included introducing and sponsoring nearly three dozen bills that have passed and been signed into law by two different governors, from differing political parties. These new laws have positively impacted things from education to healthcare, from the great outdoors to taxes, and from small businesses to jobs for New Mexicans. You can learn more about my working for you at HarperNM.com.
My next priorities are:
(1) Keeping more of your own money in your own pocket! I’ll keep fighting against policies that lead to inflation—you shouldn’t need a loan to buy groceries or fill up your car—and to reform NM’s outdated tax code, lowering taxes for all and leading to a secure economy.
(2) Creating more jobs in Rio Rancho! For that, businesses need another major road into our city. Working with other legislators, we secured 20 million dollars for rights-of-way to connect Paseo del Volcan to I 40. Then, another 30 million dollars to start construction, paving PDV from Unser to Rainbow.
(3) Securing fair school funding! Rio Rancho students’ performance is near the top, but we’re near the bottom in state funding. This must stop. The current “equalization” formula is anything but!
Thanks for taking the time to get informed. And if you have any problems with state government, please reach out to me. Helping my constituents is my favorite part of this job. My email is [email protected] and my personal cell is (505) 554-7970 (texts are often best).