Luke Jungmann has thrown his hat into the political ring, announcing his candidacy for New Mexico House District 60.

Jungmann, a 28-year-old software engineer, is a New Mexico native, born and raised in Albuquerque, now living in Rio Rancho with his wife, Dany Alfaro, their cats and their dog Arie.

Jungmann received a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from New Mexico Tech and a master’s in robotics engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He works as a software engineer for a startup called Mapware, where he works on the user interface for a photogrammetry engine, which he has done for close to six years.

Jungmann hopes to bring his knowledge and experience to the public sector, with the intent to benefit New Mexico’s economy, environment and people. As a young millennial, he says he understands the challenges facing the state and wants to make New Mexico better for his generation and the generations to follow. Jungmann acknowledged that some might view his age as a negative, but he sees it as an opportunity to bring fresh ideas and different perspectives to the table.

“Let’s get some young people in here to think differently, people who are willing to try something,” Jungmann said.

District 60 is currently represented by Joshua Hernandez and runs from Westside Blvd. to Paseo del Volcan and from Unser to Georgia O’Keefe Street.

Among Jungmann’s key issues are safeguarding the right to choose in the New Mexico Constitution.

“Countrywide, abortion rights are under attack, and thankfully New Mexico has laws in place to protect those rights,” Jungmann said. “However, we must also enshrine the right for a pregnant person to choose permanently in the State’s Constitution. We also must safeguard the anonymity of anyone traveling to New Mexico to get an abortion or anything else our state protects.”

Jungmann also expressed his concerns about health care. He emphasized the importance of improved health care access to ensure that no one is burdened with debt due to necessary medical procedures. Jungmann plans to work with the health care industry to create a system that will make health care free or affordable for all New Mexicans and must also cover teeth, eyes and mental health. Jungmann said he will fight to make New Mexico one of the first states to implement universal health care.

“There’s a lot of medical debt, a lot of people struggling and it’s tough. And so, I would love, especially because of the fact that we need to go to the doctor, we need a lot of other things, but going to the doctor, getting a checkup, getting surgery is something we need to do. And I believe that no one should ever have to go into debt,” Jungmann said. “My goal, which is a little bit lofty, is that no New Mexican will ever have medical debt. Through some magical means — I haven’t quite figured that out yet — but I’d love to see more Medicare expansion, universal health care, I’d love to see programs to relieve medical debt.”

Jungmann previously served in high school student government but admits he didn’t take it seriously at the time.

Jungmann’s decision to run for office was sparked by an incident last April involving the Tennessee House of Representatives voting to expel Democratic Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson for violating the chamber’s decorum rules.

Johnson, Jones and Pearson became known as the “Tennessee Three” after leading protests for gun reform on the House floor and joining demonstrators in the chamber’s public galleries during a legislative session three days after the 2023 Covenant School shooting in Nashville.

Jungmann deemed their removal as a violation of their fundamental First Amendment rights. The incident ignited a passion for political activism, leading him to attend local Democratic meetings and eventually being encouraged to run for office.

In addition to his national concerns, Jungmann highlighted specific issues within his district, including the need for infrastructure investment in Rio Rancho.

“We should invest in more local small businesses, food trucks, restaurants and more to give neighborhoods stronger and more unique identities,” Jungmann said. “We need more parks and natural areas to encourage activity and places for New Mexicans and their pets to enjoy themselves.”