In a bid to bring fresh perspectives and energy to local government, Beau Sandoval, a soon-to-be 24-year-old, has officially announced his candidacy for Sandoval County commissioner, District 2. 

Sandoval, a Rio Rancho High School alum and recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in political science, plans to address issues such as voter turnout, accessibility and collaboration in local politics.

Sandoval was born in Albuquerque and raised by his mother and grandmother. He moved to Rio Rancho in 2013, where he attended Rio Rancho Elementary School, Rio Rancho Middle School and graduated with honors from Rio Rancho High School in 2019. After completing his education in the Rio Rancho school system, he pursued higher education at Regis University in Denver before transferring to CU Boulder. Sandoval expressed a passion for public policy and government, emphasizing the role they play in shaping lives.

“I believe in a government that works for everyone, a government that provides for the poor, works for working families, makes sense for the middle class, stands up for senior citizens, innovates in the inner cities, strengthens suburban communities, helps the heartland and revitalizes rural America,” Sandoval said. “I also fervently believe in the strength of our diversity; while we may have come over to this country on different ships, we’re all in the same boat now. I want to heal our divisions and work to cultivate meaningful conversations so we can approach each other as neighbors and New Mexicans.”

Sandoval’s decision to enter the political arena was motivated by a concern for the lack of contested elections and the low voter turnout in Sandoval County. He noted that the 2022 county commission election saw a mere 11% turnout, leading him to take action and engage the younger demographic in the political process.

“It was the month of September when I decided to really get involved and reached out to try and see about the best way to get involved, having been involved in a few of the previous two election cycles working on campaigns,” Sandoval said. “I wanted to inquire about the possibility of running because in my first few opportunities to vote, I realized how many candidates in general elections are just totally uncontested. The lack of democratic voice that goes into that just seemed pretty appalling to me in our system of representative democracy where anybody who’s not a felon or such nature is able to run and participate.”

With a focus on issues affecting Sandoval County, particularly in rural areas, Sandoval aims to address challenges such as the lack of emergency services and accessibility to affordable internet and drinking water. He believes these issues can be resolved through bipartisan collaboration.

“In Sandoval County, there’s a good chunk of our folks in our rural community who lack access to emergency services in 2024. That’s just such a wildly unacceptable phenomenon that people can’t even call the fire services, EMS services, police services,” Sandoval said.

In District 2, which borders Bernalillo County, Sandoval plans to work on updating the road system in collaboration with Bernalillo County. He envisions this as a means to open up new economic opportunities in undeveloped areas, fostering small businesses and growth.

There’s a lot of undeveloped land right there that we think has the potential to be some of the basis for new small businesses and opportunities,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval acknowledges the potential criticism he may face due to his age. Instead of viewing it as a negative, he sees it as an advantage, emphasizing the need for diverse voices in the political landscape.

“I think we need voices from all demographics, all ages, folks who understand issues of their specific demographic,” Sandoval said. “People from all different demographics in a representative democracy make our system of government stronger.”

In his campaign, Sandoval aims to run on a vision of unity and collaboration, steering away from divisive politics that have characterized recent elections.

“I want this to be a campaign that really tries to run on a vision and not trying to sell more division. Especially in 2024, where I think it’s if you’re red, you’re bad. If you’re blue, you’re bad,” Sandoval said. “And at the end of the day, I think there’s a lot of common-sense policies that we can find agreement on without hating each other, despising our neighbors, and that’s really what I want my campaign to be about.”