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Event shows support for the Department of Peacebuilding Act

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FARMINGTON — While Democratic presidential candidates debated this week, two candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional District 3 seat campaigned in Farmington.

The candidates — Marco Serna and Victor Snover — attended a San Juan County Federation of Democratic Women event urging Congress to pass the Department of Peacebuilding Act sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California.

The bill would put aside one percent of the federal budget annually for a Department of Peacebuilding.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, attended the event as well. Luján is one of the congressmen and women who supports the bill.

Luján currently represents Congressional District 3, however he is running for U.S. Senate rather than seeking reelection.

He spoke about the importance of voting. Luján said in October 2016 people did not think Donald Trump would win the presidential election.

“We can’t let that complacency set in,” he said.

Serna and Snover both spoke about their campaigns after Luján’s speech.

Serna says he will work to address drug addiction if elected

Serna is a district attorney representing New Mexico's First Judicial District, which includes Rio Arriba, Los Alamos and Santa Fe counties. 

He said he won the position as district attorney on a promise to address drug addiction.

"The opioid addiction is huge in our rural communities," Serna said. "It's keeping our children from going to school. It's keeping parents from going to work and we have to address it head on."

Serna said meth and alcohol are also addictions that need to be addressed in the northern part of New Mexico.

"We can't arrest our way out of it ... we need to make sure that we treat people like people," Serna said. "This is an addiction, it's not a crime. We need to make sure that we get them the services that they need and I'm going to do that as your future congressman."

As district attorney, Serna has focused on intervention and treatment for nonviolent offenders, including implementing an addiction treatment program that does not require strict abstinence. He explained that participants receive regular drug tests but are not kicked out of the program if they test positive for drugs.

“I am confident that we’re making a difference,” Serna said.

He said he will continue to focus on compassionate approaches to treating drug addiction if elected to Congress. He also highlighted economic development and veterans’ health care as areas he would focus on if elected.

Snover touts experience as a veteran

Snover is a newcomer to the political world. He broke through in 2018 when he was elected to Aztec City Commission in an unopposed race. After the election, the City Commission appointed him mayor.

He touts his experience as a veteran and a JROTC teacher. Snover emphasized the need for improving care for veterans.

"We have a lot of work to do and our current administration and the folks who are running our Senate right now are doing their best to ... send our young men and women off to war and when then they bring them back you're basically on your own and that needs to change," Snover said. "I feel like I'm uniquely qualified for some of these issues that we have."

Snover said many of the Democratic candidates share the same positions.

"What's going to have to happen is you're going to have to decide who you think is the right fit for this district and for your personal needs," Snover said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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