Hector Balderas

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Hector Balderas
Hector Balderas Photo.jpg
31st Attorney General of New Mexico
Assumed office
January 1, 2015
Governor Susana Martinez
Preceded by Gary King
25th Auditor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 2007 – January 1, 2015
Governor Bill Richardson
Susana Martinez
Preceded by Domingo Martinez
Succeeded by Tim Keller
Personal details
Born (1973-08-16) August 16, 1973 (age 43)
Wagon Mound, New Mexico, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Denise Balderas
Children Hector
Arianna
Mariola
Alma mater New Mexico Highlands University
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Campaign website

Hector H. Balderas Jr. (born August 16, 1973) is an American attorney, former prosecutor, and politician who is currently serving as the New Mexico Attorney General. Balderas became the youngest statewide Hispanic elected official in the nation in 2006 when he won his first race for State Auditor at the age of 33.[1] Before being elected to the office of State Auditor, Balderas served as a State Representative in the New Mexico Legislature from 2004 to 2006. Balderas also serves as the elected Treasurer of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.[2]

In an article published November 17, 2014, Balderas was identified as one of seven Democratic state executive officials who could gain national prominence by leading a national comeback.[3]

The New Mexican wrote on May 16, 2015 that Balderas was the only Hispanic on the statewide Democratic ticket last year, who won his race for attorney general. He was the top vote-getter of all statewide candidates last year, getting 1,565 more votes than Governor Susana Martinez.[4]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Balderas was raised in Wagon Mound, New Mexico, a village in Mora County, New Mexico. He is the son of a Mexican father and was raised by his single mother in Wagon Mound. Balderas attended Wagon Mound High School and participated in TRIO Upward Bound, a federally funded college prep program.

While attending the University of New Mexico School of Law, Balderas served as the Council Chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Association.[5]

From 2002 to 2003 Balderas served as an Assistant District Attorney for Bernalillo County. Between 2003 and 2006 he was a special prosecutor for domestic violence cases in the 4th Judicial District of New Mexico.[6]

Political career[edit]

State Representative[edit]

Balderas ran for a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives in 2004, defeating the Democratic incumbent in the primary election and a Republican in the general election.

In his first term as a State Representative from District 68, Balderas passed sweeping legislation to strengthen penalties for sexual predators, worked to strengthen drug laws restricting methamphetamine and date rape drugs, establish investment incentives for clean energy and fund virtual education for rural public schools. Balderas also sponsored “truthful interrogations” legislation which gained national recognition as one of the most significant reforms to the criminal justice system. Balderas was nationally recognized alongside then State Senator Barack Obama of Illinois for passing legislation that requires police to record their in-house interrogations with suspected killers.

In recognition of his legislative accomplishments, Balderas was named Rookie-Leader-of-the-Year by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce for his work on energy development and Outstanding Rookie by the League of Conservation Voters.

State Auditor[edit]

During his first legislative term, he was chosen by the Democratic Party of New Mexico to replace Jeff Armijo on the ballot for State Auditor and with a shorter period to campaign, won the election with nearly 55% of the vote.[7] He was re-elected in 2010 and earned the second most number of votes for any of New Mexico’s Democratic statewide candidates.[8]

U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

Balderas was a candidate for the US Senate seat in 2012 held by retiring Democrat Jeff Bingaman. He lost the Democratic primary to Martin Heinrich.[9]

Other positions[edit]

  • Treasurer Board Member, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).[1] NALEO is a national nonpartisan organization with a network of more than 6,000 governmental, political, and business leaders who conduct civic projects, training and technical assistance for the Latino community. There are 24 members on the board of directors.

Honors and accolades[edit]

  • Recipient of the 2011 Conservation Voters New Mexico Sunshine Award. Balderas was recognized for his steadfast work as State Auditor in rooting out fraud and corruption, and shining sunlight on the operations of state government. According to CVNM, his hard work has resulted in millions of dollars of savings and the enforcement of key safeguards that protect New Mexico’s natural resources.[10]
  • Recipient of the 2010 recipient John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, which honors young Americans who are changing their community through a commitment to public service. He is the first New Mexican to receive the annual award. The award is presented annually to exceptional young Americans under the age of 40 whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.[11]
  • Recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine in 2007 as one of the nation’s 100 most influential Hispanics.[12] Balderas joined 2007 honorees including Eastman Kodak Company CEO and Chairman Antonio M. Perez, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Hillary Clinton for President Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle.
  • New Mexico State Bar Association 2006 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.[2]
  • In 2010, Hector Balderas was awarded the Liberty and Justice Award by the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association for his contributions to empowerment for Hispanics in education and the legal profession.

Personal life[edit]

Balderas and his wife Denise have three children, Hector III, Arianna and Mariola. Balderas is a special needs advocate and frequent participant in the New Mexico Special Olympics annual torch run; his daughter Arianna was born with down syndrome. He also has two siblings and is a practicing Catholic.

Electoral history[edit]

New Mexico House of Representatives 68th District Democratic Primary Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Hector Balderas 2,788 56.06
Democratic Bengie Regensberg (inc.) 1,427 28.69
Democratic Severiano Sisneros, Jr. 758 15.24
New Mexico House of Representatives 68th District Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Hector Balderas 6,655 61.76
Republican Roger Gonzales 4,120 38.24
New Mexico Auditor Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Hector Balderas 298,143 54.77
Republican Lorenzo Garcia 246,225 45.23
New Mexico Auditor Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Hector Balderas (inc.) 323,427 55.15
Republican Errol Chavez 263,008 44.85
New Mexico U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Martin Heinrich 83,432 58.94
Democratic Hector Balderas 58,128 41.06
New Mexico Attorney General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Hector Balderas 295,008 58.27
Republican Susan Riedel 211,303 41.73

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State Auditor Honored With JFK Award". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Hector Balderas, Democrat for State Auditor". The New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association. 
  3. ^ "These Democrats Could Be The Party's Ticket To A Comeback". Huffington Post. November 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ Terrell, Steve. "Hispanic voters are prize for both parties". The Santa Fe New Mexican. 
  5. ^ "The UNM Graduate and Professional Student Association". Archived from the original on August 22, 1007. 
  6. ^ Baker, Deborah. "Reform System Vs. 'Catch Bad Guy' Approach". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  7. ^ http://www.sos.state.nm.us/06GenResults/Statewide.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.sos.state.nm.us/10GenResults/SOSNMG10CAN.pdf
  9. ^ "Wilson, Heinrich win N.M. Senate primary". UPI. June 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ "State Auditor Hector Balderas Receives "Sunshine Award" from Conservation Voters New Mexico". Democracy for New Mexico. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "New Frontier Award". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Hispanic Business 100 Most Influential Hispanics" (PDF). Hispanic Business Magazine. Retrieved October 2007.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Domingo Martinez
New Mexico State Auditor
2007-2015
Succeeded by
Tim Keller
Legal offices
Preceded by
Gary King
Attorney General of New Mexico
2015–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent