WILL BE HEARD"
About Frank Baca
Frank Baca was with the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s office from 2015 as a senior trial attorney until his retirement in March 2019. In January 2018, he was named Deputy District Attorney placing him in charge of all operations of the Valencia County office.
Frank was General Counsel of the New Mexico Gaming Control Board (NMGCB) from 2003 until 2015. His role was to advise the board on legal and policy-making matters, and to represent the Board in all legal matters related to gaming in New Mexico. Mr. Baca’s office administered the legal requirements of the tribal gaming compacts signed in December 2001 and the amended 2007 and 2015 compacts. In 2012, Frank also assumed the role of Executive Director of the NMGCB. He continued in the dual role of General Counsel and Executive Director for four (4) years.
For twenty-two years prior to his appointment to the NMGCB, he practiced criminal law as well as civil litigation law in the areas of business law, real estate and injury claims.
n 2009, Frank was named as one of the top 25 attorneys in New Mexico by New Mexico Business weekly. In 2016, he was named Prosecutor of the Year for the 13th Judicial District. In 1997, he was named a South Valley Outstanding Citizen.
Frank has a long history of involvement with community and economic development groups, including having served on the board of the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation for 12 years, ten years as president and on the board of the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Asssociation for six years, two (2) as president.
A native of New Mexico, Frank Baca graduated from Rio Grande High School, received a B.A. in history at Yale University in 1977, and earned a law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1981.
Lena K. Baca, Frank's mother, was raised on Santa Fe and Atlantic Avenues in the heart of Barelas; his father, Frank Sr., on Perry Road in the heart of the South Valley. The family home was situated on Isleta Blvd, near "Dead man's corner," a property still owned by the Baca family. Frank has three grown sons and eight grandchildren.
The primary responsibility of the office of county commissioner is to address the basic, infrastructural needs of the community: roads, traffic signals, police protection, weed and litter etc. It is crucial to determine those needs and priorities by inquiring and LISTENING to community members, as opposed to telling the community what it needs. The most effective way to accomplish this is to conduct individual surveys as the campaign progresses and afterwards. Also, open community forums is a great way to hear from community members regarding the issues that are important to them. The county commissioner should work to ensure the district receives its fair share of county expenditures for basic, infrastructural, needs.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
As a former prosecutor, I am very aware that there is a clear distinction between career criminals and those committing crimes due to medical issues such as depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse and alcoholism as well as those who resort to crime as a way out of poverty. Career criminals need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in order to promote safety. However, those who commit crimes that also endanger the community, but are due to mental health issues must be medically treated as a more cost-effective manner of reducing crime and keeping the community safe. Those programs must be made available while a person is incarcerated with required follow-up care. Poverty also forces individuals into crime in order to survive; educational and job programs as an alternative to incarceration, address this issue.
Education is the foundation of economic development and the most effective way to address social ills of substance abuse, poverty and other related issues. It is crucial to support education from financial incentives to developing a campaign to promote education and to develop a “culture of education.” In other words, a county commissioner can support education by developing a program that promotes the value of education as if one is selling a product. Much of the funding for this campaign can come from private sources. In addition, the commissioner can support initiatives of APS and other existing educational organizations.
People need jobs. Jobs close to one’s home promote a healthier life style. However, the nature and location of economic development is crucial to a dynamic and improved quality of life. Effort should be made to protect the Valley floor while allowing growth in a responsible and manageable fashion in appropriate commercial and industrial areas.
In the Southwest Mesa area, the door should be open to quality growth with proper controls in place to ensure availability of natural resources and to avoid the development of future blighted areas. The priority should be to make sure the needs of the current residents are met while new infrastructural projects are developed.
The South Valley and adjacent communities hold a unique place within the State due to the historical nature of the community and the confluence of semi-rural and urban environments. On one hand, it is important to acknowledge the uniqueness as a way to promote pride and self-respect, but on the other hand, over-promotion encourages gentrification which threatens that uniqueness and livability by increasing property taxes and threatening eviction of long-time residents. There are so many positive aspects of the community that need to be acknowledged from historical significance, agricultural and equestrian life-style to the family and social values of our community, including our focus on family and religion. At the same time, residents need to be informed of the true value of their property and to be assisted in finding ways of keeping property in their families.
It is important to support a common sense approach to legal immigration reform. Immigrants have long served an important role in our society, both economically and culturally. In the South Valley, immigrants have infused the community with their language, customs, food and music. Most immigrants contribute to the community by their work ethic, consumption of goods, job skills and payment of taxes. Acknowledging their contribution simply makes sense. I support treating ALL people with dignity and respect.
Whether a tax on property or gross receipts, increases are of concern to everyone. Government should be efficient and every governmental entity should be accountable and good stewards of the money it is entrusted with. There should be no substantial increase of ANY tax without consent of the electorate.