Hector Balderas (D-NM-Senate)
Campaign links: Hector Balderas (D-NM-Senate)
Hector H. Balderas
Hector Balderas Senatorial Candidate New Mexico
Biography of Hector Balderas from Balderas for New Mexico
Hector Balderas was raised in the small village of Wagon Mound, New Mexico where he learned at an early age the values of accountability, respect for others, and creating opportunities for everyone. Never a stranger to tough challenges or hard work, he received his college degrees from New Mexico Highlands University and UNM Law School. Raised by a single mother in public housing, he is the first person from Wagon Mound to graduate from law school and become an attorney.
After working his way through law school, Hector decided against pursuing a career in the private sector and instead chose to follow his passion for public service. He accepted a job as an assistant district attorney and quickly earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for protecting and balancing the many diverse interests within the justice system. In December 2003, Hector moved back to his hometown of Wagon Mound with his wife and three young children to give back to his rural community.
At the age of 29, and with no prior political experience, he ran for a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Hector defeated the heavily favored incumbent in the Democratic primary by a two-to-one margin and ultimately prevailed over his Republican opponent in the general election. During his single term as State Representative, Hector brought Democrats and Republicans together to pass sweeping legislation to strengthen penalties for sexual predators; establish incentives for clean energy; invest in rural public schools; pass reforms to the criminal justice system; crack down on drunk drivers; and protect consumers from price gouging in times of emergency or disaster. His bipartisan work led to his being recognized by groups from the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce to the League of Conservation Voters.
After one term in the state legislature, Hector became frustrated with the lack of accountability he was seeing from too many local and state officials that were wasting and abusing taxpayer dollars. So, in November 2006, Hector sent shock waves through the political establishment when he was elected New Mexico State Auditor. His election marked a milestone for both New Mexico and the nation, as he became the youngest Hispanic statewide elected official in the country.
As New Mexico’s State Auditor, Hector inherited an office with regulatory oversight of over $60 billion dollars in governmental assets and 603 government entities. Even with a small budget and small staff, he set off on an aggressive agenda of restoring accountability and cracking down on fraud and abuse. As a result, his office began issuing subpoenas to public officials and contractors to provide full accounting of how they were spending taxpayer dollars, and saving money for New Mexico taxpayers by cracking down on agencies that were late in reporting audits.
Under his leadership, the Auditor’s office, for the first time, hired criminal investigators whose sole job it was to look into complaints of fraud in state and local government. As a result of these investigations, his office put an end to double-billing for expenses by a Grant County Commissioner;uncovered a $3.3 million embezzlement scheme at the Jemez Mountain Public School District, the largest such case in state history; stopped lavish travel spending by Angel Fire village officials; caught $10 million in illegal overbilling by the Las Vegas city utility company; exposed the New Mexico Housing Authority’s mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and Sandoval County’s multimillion dollar broadband boondoggle; and helped uncover the misuse of funds and corruption that led to the indictment of a former New Mexico Secretary of State on embezzlement and money-laundering.
Hector’s aggressive record of restoring accountability to state and local government is one of the reasons why, in a tough year for New Mexico Democrats, he was reelected statewide in 2010 with the overwhelming support of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Today, Hector lives in Albuquerque with his wife Denise and three children Hector Reyes, Jr, Mariola and Arianna.
Biography of Hector Balderas from the New Mexico Office of the State Auditor
Hector Balderas represents a new generation of leaders who are devoted to public service and are driving the country forward with innovation and a fresh perspective on governing. At the age of 33, Balderas sent shock waves through the political establishment when he was elected New Mexico State Auditor in November 2006. His election marked a milestone for both New Mexico and the nation, as Balderas became the youngest Hispanic statewide elected official in the country.
As New Mexico’s State Auditor, Balderas provides regulatory oversight to over $60 billion dollars in governmental assets and 603 government entities. As the state’s top government watchdog, Balderas has spent his first year in office aggressively combating fraud and financial abuse throughout New Mexico. Additionally, he has expanded the size and scope of the State Auditor’s office by hiring criminal investigators, developing a fraud hotline and expanding training and outreach operations. In 2007, Balderas was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business magazine. Balderas was honored by Caroline Kennedy as the Recipient of the 2010 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award as the top elected official in the nation under the age of 40.
Balderas was raised in Wagon Mound, New Mexico, a village of 310 residents that has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the nation. He is the son of a foreign born immigrant father from Mexico and a mother who was raised in Wagon Mound. Growing up with both rural and international roots provided Balderas with a deep respect for people, an upbringing he has carried with him throughout his career. He was raised in public housing, and was the first person in Wagon Mound history to become an attorney. Balderas graduated from New Mexico Highlands University and earned his law degree in 2001 from the University of New Mexico.
After working his way through law school, Balderas decided against pursuing a career in the private sector and instead chose to follow his passion for public service. He accepted a job as an assistant district attorney in Albuquerque and quickly earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for protecting and balancing the many diverse interests within the justice system. In December 2003, Balderas moved back to his hometown of Wagon Mound with his wife and three young children to give back to his rural community. At the age of 29, and with no prior political experience, he ran for a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Balderas defeated the heavily favored incumbent in the Democratic primary by a two-to-one margin and ultimately prevailed over his Republican opponent in the general election.
In his first term as a State Representative, Balderas passed sweeping legislation to strengthen penalties for sexual predators, 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. In recognition of his legislative accomplishments, Balderas was named Rookie-Leader-of-the-Year by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and Outstanding Rookie by the League of Conservation Voters.
Also Balderas led the effort to amend the New Mexico Criminal Code to reflect consistency and parity in sentencing. He also advocated for DUI reform and led the fight to protect consumers from price gouging in times of emergency or disaster. The New Mexico State Bar Association acknowledged Balderas for his achievements by naming him Outstanding Young Lawyer of New Mexico.
Before completing his first legislative term, Balderas would go on to win statewide election for State Auditor. Balderas has traveled to Pakistan as a selected delegate for the American Council of Young Political Leaders. While in Pakistan, Balderas met with the country’s Foreign Minister and leaders from all political parties to discuss developing better international relations and cooperation. In New Mexico, Balderas has hosted leadership delegations from China, Czech Republic, and several African nations to promote greater transparency and accountability in government.