How We Build A Better New Mexico For ALL

With 15 years of experience writing laws, I’m the only candidate with the necessary skills to make the changes that will improve the lives of ALL New Mexican families!

I believe in a progressive and intersectional approach to public policy.

In Congress, I will write my own legislation — not by the lobbyists or special interests!  

- Damian Lara

Better Economy For All

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” Franklin D. Roosevelt  

Unfortunately, ever since the implementation of harmful “trickle-down” economic policies in the mid-1980s there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthiest people in this country. A truly fair and equitable tax code and economic system mitigates wealth inequality and improves the quality of life for ALL. Restoring upward mobility for ALL is my priority. We have a moral obligation to provide for our most vulnerable populations. Solidarity is paramount. When everyone pays their fair share, we all pay less.  

The budget and tax code has a tremendous ability to shape our identity and our national priorities. That is why I have spent my career in public service, focused on increasing income and wealth for ALL families. It doesn’t just take promises, it takes experience:

  • While working in Congress, I focused on the budget, appropriations, affordable housing, and the tax code.
  • In law school, I focused on corporate and franchise law, state and federal income tax, as well as the state gross receipts tax and property tax code. I know what it takes to protect small businesses and local shops.   
  • As the lead staff for the Revenues Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee and the senior drafter on economic development and tax code at the Legislative Council Service, I wrote legislation focused on fixing the New Mexico economy and creating long term growth for ALL, not just the 1%.  
  • As Deputy Assessor and Vice-Chair for the Assessor’s Affiliate for the New Mexico Association of Counties, I advocated for legislation that provided fair and equitable treatment for all property owners, no matter what their gender identity or race. I fixed inequities and provided practical solutions to long-standing problems that ultimately gave the New Mexico State Legislature the recognition of the International Association of Assessing Offices, which earned them a Property Tax Achievement Award.

I support and will fight for legislation that will:

  • Increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour and expand overtime and minimum wage protections to tip earners, people with disabilities and farmworkers;
  • Tie the federal minimum wage and the federal poverty guidelines to cost of living so we don’t have to have this fight every 5 years, it doesn't shock employers and ensures no full-time worker lives in poverty;
  • Provide refundable tax credits for small businesses, farmers and ranchers to pay livable wages, provide mandated sick leave for ALL, maternity and paternity leave, vacation and other benefits;
  • Protect Social Security, and remove the taxable income cap so that the 1% pay their fair share;
  • Eliminate the tax on Social Security income;
  • Increase cost-of-living adjustments to lift our seniors out of poverty;  
  • Restore fairness to the tax code and effectively balance the budget to ensure long term fiscal sustainability and growth;  
  • Eliminate tax loopholes that allow corporations to outsource jobs, take advantage of offshore tax havens, and inversions that are paid for on the backs of hardworking families. I will always put people before profits;  
  • Increase access to capital for small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs;  
  • Increase funding for, and access to, the Small Business Administration and Community Development Financial Institutions Fund while cutting the red tape and bureaucracy;  
  • Balance a budget that focuses resources on ending poverty for ALL Americans;  
  • Pay off the national debt by raising adequate revenue to meet budgetary needs, and making the 1% pay their fair share;  
  • Make necessary investments in infrastructure, smart electrical grids, broadband, environmentally safe batteries, waterways, and public safety, particularly in rural and urban America;
  • Make federal buildings energy neutral and provide block grants for counties, states, and municipalities to do the same for all government-owned buildings;
  • Provide incentive for builders and construction companies to make commercial and residential buildings green, as well as make buildings that are able to stand up to climate change and the resulting severe weather;
  • Diversify our energy economy immediately by providing employee training programs and employer/corporate incentives to move from fossil fuels to solar, wind and renewables.
  • End Citizens' United, as money has corrupted our election process for too long.

Better Criminal Justice System for All

We must address institutional racism in our criminal system. We need to end the militarization of police. We need to end private incarceration and detainment facilities.

I will ensure public safety and a truly just criminal system by fighting for legislation that will:

  • End the War on Drugs and decriminalize marijuana use and possession and treat all drug addiction as a public health issue. 80% of drug arrests are for possession only, and do not involve any violent offense. Drug use is a public health issue, not a criminal one.
  • End private prisons, private immigration detention centers, private juvenile detention centers, and all other private detainment and incarceration facilities;
  • End the militarization of our police forces, for their protection and the publics';
  • Ending the criminalization of the poor through stopping unfair bond practices and modern-day debtors' prisons;
  • End the unfair targeting of immigrants by ICE;
  • Ensure federal grants for Fire, Police, and Public Safety, including funding for appropriate training in de-escalation techniques, behavioral health issues, mental illness, and post-traumatic stress disorder; as well as crime prevention, intervention, and diversion;  
  • Stop unfunded mandates requiring local police to enforce federal civil immigration laws. We need our undocumented communities to feel safe to report crimes and testify without fear of deportation;
  • Restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated people (people with felonies). Revoking the right to vote only increases recidivism rates and prevents community participation. One person, one vote;
  • Restore voting rights by absentee ballot to people experiencing incarceration;
  • Dedicate funding and technical assistance for Indian Tribes, Nations, and Pueblos to exercise criminal or civil jurisdiction as they deem appropriate, particularly when the Federal Government is unable or unwilling to exercise said jurisdiction;  
  • Reform our federal prison system to focus on treatment and rehabilitation for nonviolent criminals rather than incarceration and providing grants and funding to state and local governments to do the same; and 
  • Ensure that Courts and Judges have the resources and training needed to recognize and mitigate implicit bias.

Better Health care for All

We need a single-payer health care system, right now.
I will advocate for Medicare for All, and other real health care solutions, by fighting for legislation that will:

  • Treat healthcare as a basic human right. I would make Medicare available to all Americans, including Native Americans and veterans served by the Indian Health Service, Tricare, and the VA health care systems, so that every citizen in the US can walk into any doctor’s office and get the best treatment available;  
  • Provide incentives for the healthcare industry to reduce administrative fees and focus on preventative and urgent care rather than emergency room services;
  • Prioritize a central record keeping system similar to the one in Great Britain. This would lower administrative costs, improve treatment speed, and allow continuity in all medical records.
  • End food deserts by incentivizing the availability of fresh foods in urban and rural communities;
  • Gain control over spiraling medical costs by expanding government single-payer programs to increase bargaining power, while pushing healthcare providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to compete;  
  • Incentivize the pharmaceutical industry to focus on curing diseases rather than symptom management; 
  • Keep drug prices low by certifying that low cost alternative supplies of drugs from international and generic producers are safe and made available to ALL Americans.
  • Treat the epidemic of gun violence in the US as a public health issue, and allowing the CDC to research gun violence;
  • Extend waiting times to buy a firearm, require universal background checks, and raising the minimum age to buy a firearm to 21;
  • Ban high capacity magazines, bump stocks, suppressors, and assault-style weapons;
  • Prevent sexually transmitted diseases and reduce teen pregnancies by having comprehensive sex education in all schools;
  • Promote public health by protecting programs like HIV PrEP.
  • Reinstate the medical device tax

I will fight for universal access to high-quality health care for women and communities of color!

The National Association of Community Healthcare Centers recognized me as an Outstanding Congressional Staffer for my work writing healthcare policy to increase access to healthcare for women and communities of color, and to control spiraling costs.  

Better Education System for all

Education is a human right. All Americans deserve the tools to determine their own futures. I will fight for debt-free college and higher education. I will fight for free Pre-K. I will fight the student debt crisis and improve outcomes for New Mexico's students and educators by advocating for legislation that will:  

  • Ensure Pre-K is available to all communities;
  • Protect Affirmative Action;
  • Focus Pre-K through 12 on 100% graduation rate, allocating resources for true equity across school districts and within school districts;  
  • Dedicate human as well as financial resources to the areas and schools that need it most;  
  • Prepare all students for higher education, whether traditional four-year university, two-year community college or a vocational or trade school, higher education should not come with a debt sentence;
  • Immediately increase funding for Pell Grants, work study, and Stafford Loans, and lower interest on all student loans, making higher education more affordable and accessible for all;  
  • Provide loan forgiveness programs and income tax incentives to graduates working in public interest professions or with underserved populations;
  • implement automatic voter registration at 18, and permit pre-registration at 16.
  • I stand by our unions.

Better Womens Rights and gender equality for all

I believe that women's rights are human rights.

As the youngest of four children to a single mother, I understand the policies that can make a difference in people's lives. Through progressive policy change, my mother was able to start her own small business. I will fight for legislation that will:

  • Advocate for and protect trans rights. Trans women are women;
  • End discrimination against women and girls in all spheres, public and private;
  • End child marriage in the USA.
  • Promote the full participation and equal opportunity of all women in the decision-making process and in leadership positions;
  • Protect the Americans with Disabilities Act in its entirety;
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and protect reproductive rights;
  • Protect a woman's right to abortion services;
  • Promote the adoption of enabling technology to mitigate the disparities affecting women and girls at all levels;
  • Eliminate the Congressional "hush" slush-fund used to pay off victims of sexual assault and abuse by members of Congress and their staff;
  • Create an independent ethics committee to investigate allegations of sexual harassment by members of Congress;
  • Expand labor protections and central reporting of sexual harassment across all industries;
  • Address the problem of the criminal justice system extorting families for contact with their loved ones, which disproportionally impacts women of color;
  • Amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. I will oppose any legislation that exempts religious employers or institutions from anti-discrimination laws; 
  • Ensure all federal grants for Fire, Police, and Public Safety include funding for appropriate training in de-escalation techniques, and prohibiting profiling practices against people of color and the LGBTQ community; 
  • Prohibit the use of redlining and other discrimination against the LGBTQ community by creditors and banks so that people will not be unfairly denied mortgages, credit cards, or student loans;
  • Ensure equal pay for equal work.
  • Ensure the use of gender-neutral language in public spheres.
  • I, Damian (He, Him, His.), am an ally to the LGBTQI+ community and I know that if you are unsure about a person's pronouns, ask.

Better Environment For All

New Mexicans have a right to clean air, water, and lands!

I have worked on environmental justice issues and have made mitigating climate change a top priority. I drafted legislation that secured funding to clean up abandoned uranium mines in New Mexico and the jet fuel leak in Bernalillo County. Many climate change issues disproportionately impact lower socioeconomic communities and communities of color, globally and locally. Climate change is a national security issue. We are in a climate crisis and must take a two-pronged approach to 1) prepare and adapt for the impact already underway, and 2) take major action to reduce emissions in order to minimize the effects of climate change, and interrupt the feedback cycle.  

I Will Defend the Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment by fighting for legislation that will:  

  • Ban fracking;
  • Put an end to all proposed fossil fuel exploration;
  • Reverse Republican efforts to undermine the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to reduce pollution fueling climate change, including rolling back, blocking, or delaying implementation of the Clean Power Plan, regulations on methane pollution, and other key executive branch climate change initiatives; 
  • End subsidies and tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry, and move them to the renewables industry;
  • Reduce carbon pollution by at least 28% by 2025 and 80% by 2050; 
  • Support the Paris Climate Agreement, including honoring our commitments to the Green Climate Fund; 
  • Increase federal investments in clean energy technologies, like increased storage capacity, and extend and expand clean energy incentives - like permanently extending the wind production tax credit (PTC) and the solar investment tax credit (ITC); 
  • Treat climate change as the national security crisis that it is and, allocate weapons funding to green technologies like environmentally safe batteries;
  • Protect and strengthen existing energy efficiency standards and add employee training incentives to shift our workforce from fossil fuels to renewable energy; 
  • Halt all new fossil fuel leasing on our public lands and in our waters
  • Shift current taxpayer subsidies for large fossil fuel companies and other giveaways to provide tax credits for programs that train employees to work in renewable energy industries and support investments made in renewable energy production and other clean energy initiatives, including clean car emissions; 
  • Close loopholes in our major environmental laws for the fracking industry, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; and
  • Protect our public lands. I will oppose all legislation and other policies that would allow our national forests, refuges, parks and other shared federal public lands to be turned over to state control.

    I will:
  • Oppose congressional interference with science-based Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions and support maintaining the strong protections of the ESA
  • Oppose all legislative efforts to undermine the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and oppose the executive order that seeks to undermine incorporating climate change into NEPA reviews; 
  • Support trade deals that result in real, enforceable progress on environmental and public health issues, including addressing the international crisis of climate change, excluding broad rights for multinational investors to sue governments in private tribunals, and negotiating in a transparent manner that allows for input and review from all interested stakeholders; 
  • Support reparations and services for communities affected by "Sacrifice Zones" and addressing the generational trauma resulting from environmental racism; and
  • Oppose all attempts to undermine our scientific community in the administrative rule-making process, intimidate scientists, and disregard or modify scientific findings to suit political and corporate interests.

Better Immigration Policy for ALL

Our immigration system needs to return to its roots and core values.

E pluribus unum

First, I am an immigrant from Mexico. My mother brought me to the United States when I could barely walk.

I am proposing an effective and efficient immigration system that allows people to come into this country safely and legally. I am against unauthorized immigration because I know what happens to unaccompanied minors who ride la bestia from the southern tip of our continent to our borders. I know what happens to young immigrants at the hands of coyotes. I know immigrants risk their lives to cross our borders. I know many die in the desert, and before that, they were dying in box cars. And these days, they are dying in big rigs left out in the Texas heat. 

I know the problem first-hand because I am an immigrant who has lived and navigated our broken immigration system. I know how to fight for solutions because I am an immigration attorney and former congressional staffer for the Hispanic Caucus. It is time to take the decision of who enters this country out of the hands of the drug cartels and put it back into the hands of the people. If the Federal Government hasn’t been able to secure the border by now, it’s time to change tactics and enact immigration laws that protect our economy, DREAMers, and family unity. We must give immigrants a legal, safe and realistic alternative to risking their lives crossing our borders and undercut the power of the drug cartels.

Unfortunately, this administration has taken the wrong approach to immigration policies using people as bargaining chips, and holding the lives of almost one million men, women and children hostage.

I would never allow a monument to racism to be built on the border.

I will fight for all immigrants and take the decision of who enters this country out of the hands of the drug cartels and back into the hands of the people - once and for all.


I will fix our broken immigration system by fighting for legislation that will: 

  • Increase the number of merit-based visas that accurately meet our labor needs,  and expand labor protections to these immigrants and ensure livable wages for all workers;
  • Require transparency for H1-B visas and other non-immigrant visas;
  • Increase the number of family-based visas to prioritize family unity and ensure families don’t have to wait 20 or 25 years to reunite with their loved ones;
  • Provide a path for those who qualify for DACA, DAPA and TPS toward Legal Permanent Residency and citizenship;
  • Create an effective and efficient way to process the millions of undocumented workers already in the United States by reauthorizing section 245(i) of the INA, staying deportation of eligible immigrants, and permanently eliminating the 10 year bar under section 212(a)(9)(C)(i) of the INA for law-abiding immigrants;
  • Include “sons and daughters” as qualifying relatives for waivers under sections 212(h), and 212(i) of the INA, as well as for ULP waivers; 
  • Provide undocumented workers with work authorization and establishing a tiered approach from deferred deportation, proper documentation and work authorization, then to Legal Permanent Residency and a path to citizenship that is on par with immigrants who have been waiting in line; and
  • Increase the number of refugees and those fleeing violence accepted by the US.

I believe that hard-working, contributing members of society should have an opportunity to achieve the American Dream - or at least live long enough to see their children live it. 

Join the #LaraTeam Today!