Cindy Nava has put her hat in the ring for Senate District 9 primary, a seat in which Sen. Brenda McKenna recently announced she would not seek re-election for.

The Bernalillo resident was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and came to New Mexico as a child, raised between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. She is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who has since become a citizen of the United States.

“The day I received my U.S. citizenship was one of the proudest days I can remember,” Nava said. “It was the culmination of hard work and so many people’s dreams. That day, I pledged that I would always work to ensure others had the same opportunities and do all I could for my community.”

Nava’s experience includes serving as a senior policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, executive director of Transform Education New Mexico, executive leadership fellow at the Aspen Institute, and a fellow at the Richardson Center for Global Engagement. She also served as political director for Ben Ray Lujan’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Her volunteer work includes current membership on the boards of YDI, American Mexican Association and New Mexico United; she is also a former board member of Mentoring Kids Works and New Mexico Voices for Children. She has received the Millennial Leadership Award from the Hispano Roundtable of New Mexico, the MANA Del Norte Rising Woman Award, Rising Star Award from the New Mexico Democratic Party, and the UNM Raza Excellence Outstanding Student Award.

“New Mexico needs our own version of the American Dream — a state where every child gets a world-class education, everyone has a place they can call home, and every New Mexican has professional, affordable health care,” Nava said. “As someone who was undocumented, I know these building blocks must be in place to create success. I want to help build the New Mexico Dream for the families of Senate District 9.”