Two familiar faces, newcomer are running for Public Regulation Commission seat

The Daily Times staff

FARMINGTON — The Democratic Party primary elections for the Public Regulation Commission include two familiar faces and one newcomer.

Lynda Lovejoy is the incumbent for District 4 and Theresa Becenti-Aguilar has also held the position. They will be running against Janene Yazzie.

District 4 comprises McKinley, Cibola, San Juan, Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, Socorro, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties.

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The Public Regulation Commission oversees privately-owned utilities that operate in New Mexico as well as taxis and non-emergency medical transport services. It also oversees telecommunication companies.

The PRC is currently hearing Public Service Company of New Mexico’s application to close the San Juan Generating Station.

There are no Republican or Libertarian candidates. 

Theresa Becenti-Aguilar speaks, Friday, March 21, 2014, during the Navajo and Minority Women Roundtable at San Juan College in Farmington.

Theresa A. Becenti-Aguilar

Becenti-Aguilar was appointed to the PRC in 2010 and won the election that same year. While on the PRC, Becenti-Aguilar was selected as the chairwoman. She ran for reelection in 2014, but lost to Lovejoy in the primary election.

She had an unsuccessful bid for Navajo Nation council delegate in 2016.

She attended New Mexico State University, but did not graduate. She has earned accounting and paralegal certificates from Santa Fe Business College and the University of New Mexico at Los Alamos.

Becenti-Aguilar has served as an executive assistant for the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General. She previously worked as a Native American liaison to the PRC.

Linda Lovejoy from a file photo from March 15, 2015.

Lynda M. Lovejoy

Before winning the 2014 election, Lovejoy served on the PRC from 1999 until 2006. She was elected to the state senate in 2007. Lovejoy served on the state senate until 2013. She served in the state House of Representatives for a decade before being elected to the PRC.

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She has an associate’s degree in elementary education from the University of New Mexico’s Gallup campus and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Northern Arizona University. Lovejoy is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.

Janene Yazzie

Janene Natasha Yazzie

Yazzie is a relative newcomer to the political sphere. While she has not held a public office, she has a variety of leadership experience, especially focused on water quality.

Yazzie co-founded a community-led watershed planning program known as the Little Colorado River Watershed Chapters Association. She has worked in the Four Corners area on subjects such as water and food security.

Yazzie studied international politics and human rights at Barnard College in New York and Columbia University in New York. She is currently continuing her education studying environmental science and sustainability.