Chandler And Shin Discuss Their Approaches To The Job Of State Representative At LWV Forum

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House District 43 Republican candidate Lisa Shin answers questions at the Oct. 3 League of Women Voters candidates’ forum at UNM-LA. Photo by Maire O’Neill/


House District 43 candidates Chris Chandler and Lisa Shin campaigned on their home turf again Oct. 3 before a capacity crowd at the League of Women Voters’ second candidates’ forum at UNM-LA.

Chandler chose to address how the skills she has honed during her service as a Los Alamos County Councilor and a member of various boards over the years while Shin stressed her 21 years as an optometrist and small business owner in Los Alamos.

Chandler said during the campaign she has focused on the issue – education, vocational training, healthcare, improving infrastructure and addressing the needs of the district but that evening she wanted to review herself performing “the actual job of representative” and what she considers to being effective.

“There are three skills or qualities that I think are most important. The ability to listen, interest in learning and studying an issue, and the ability to collaborate and compromise. I’ve worked to hone these skills as a councilor and a member of many civic boards in the community,” she said.

As a current example, she said when the code enforcement issue came up this year, she knew the Council needed to ensure that the concerns that were being raised were fairly addressed. She said her approach was that she met with a number of residents to hear their concerns their desired outcomes.

“I looked at a lot of relevant documents such as notices of violations and citations. I read codes from other cities and planning documents from other sources to try and have a better understanding of how we as a community might be approaching these things,” Chandler said. “I integrated all of these things into my thinking and analysis and I collaborated with other councilors and our residents to develop an alternative plan of action that balances the various views and interests.”

She said other examples of where she has been successful in using these skills is her study of the small modular nuclear reactor project and most recently an effort that she has led to make sure the County is managing the animal shelter well and in a way that enhances the community.

“The day to day work of a representative is not pushing an ideological agenda. It’s about listening to your constituents, doing your homework and compromising to reach agreement. These are not skills that you learn overnight. There’s a significant learning curve and I am continuing to learn. I look forward to representing you in District 43,” Chandler said.

Shin said she has been an optometrist in Los Alamos for the past 21 years but also a small business owner who built her practice from ground up.

“So my approach to an issue is largely fiscal. I ask, how can we use our hard-earned tax dollars in the most efficient and effective way possible, how will this legislation impact job creation, economic prosperity and opportunity. Securing a bright future for our kids depends on economic prosperity and financial security and Los Alamos perfectly demonstrates the direct between wealth, strong families, parental engagement, community involvement and successful kids,” Shin said.

“At the state legislature we need to look at wealth and economic prosperity and we need to look at policies that engage parents and community to have successful kids. Money management after is after all the primary duty of a lawmaker. My experience, knowledge and skills would be a huge asset to the state legislature and I have no record of mismanagement of public funds,” she said.

Shin said the state has $1.2 billion surplus thanks to oil and gas and now has to decide “how much and how we will spend on public schools, healthcare, mental health”.

“We need to invest in programs that give us the best return for our dollars. Early education will definitely be a legislative priority in the upcoming session and my guiding principle will apply. I think we ought to tackle some federally-funded programs like Head Start and we need to look at the pre-school development grants birth through five money that will give $1 billion to states over four years to help strengthen their early childhood programs. I think this will be tremendous for New Mexico,” she said.

Shin said two centers of excellence could drive the economy and education for the region.

“The Regional Partnership School is the first program in New Mexico that combines the Pojoaque Valley Schools, New Mexico Highlands University and our National Laboratories extensively benefiting our kids and our teachers alike. I believe in UNM-LA can also partner with Triad or our National Laboratory to also become a center of excellence to develop more programs to meet workforce needs and strengthen higher education for our district,” she said.