20-year-old among Las Cruces mayoral candidates


Shane Buchanan

Mayoral candidate and former NMSU student, Jorge Sanchez in front of Corbett Center Student Union.

At 15, amid biology class and football practice, Jorge Sanchez dreamt of running for public office. At the age of 20, he is campaigning to make his dream a reality.  

Sanchez is currently the youngest candidate running in the November 5 municipal elections. If elected, he will claim the title as the youngest mayor in Las Cruces city history. 

When asked whether he believes his age will work for him or against him in the election, Sanchez emphasized his knowledge of the problems being faced by Las Cruces youth, having been among them only years before. 

I know the problems in public schools. I know the problems our youth face as we move towards the future. We are the generation that is inheriting climate change, with the most mental health problems, who have witnessed all these mass shootings on the news before heading to school,” Sanchez said. 

In his official announcement for candidacy on Facebook in August, Sanchez claimed that he intends to give life” to the Las Cruces economy through the prioritization of businesses and underrepresented populations.  

Sanchez expanded on this through email, citing the lack of opportunities and business-friendliness” in Las Cruces for recent college graduates.  

I love the college-educated residents and the current students. I plan on attracting businesses who provide more opportunities to our young talented group. After graduating, too many students have been forced to move out-of-state for jobs,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez currently works for Steinborn and Associates as a real estate agent, having earned his license prior to his withdrawal from New Mexico State University. Sanchez is also the owner of Speedy Tees, a customized t-shirt vendor.  

Though lacking political experience, Sanchez referred to his inheriting of a business and receiving his real estate license as providing him with the professional skills necessary for the position of mayor.  

As a business owner, Sanchez said that he has had to learn how to balance budgets and the best approaches for communicating with people. Being a real estate has also aided him in his negotiation skills and his understanding of the effects of long-term decisions. 

With older generations, Sanchez stated that he hopes to show voters that his generation has had to mature faster due to the issues they have been dealt. His primary concern, however, lies with the citys youth and improving the education system. 

I want everyone to know that this is our campaign. This is our future. We need to begin taking action now,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez will be facing nine other candidates in the municipal elections, including current mayor Ken Miyagishima, County Commissioner Isabella Solis and City Councilor Greg Smith. According to the Las Cruces Sun News, this years elections are set to feature the largest pool of mayoral candidates since 1991. 

Though passionate, students have questioned whether one of their peers has what it takes to run a city. Reagen Truex, a member of the NMSU College Republicans, said that Sanchez undertaking a large responsibility if elected mayor raises concern. 

 I applaud his ambition but am just not sure he has enough experience yet to do such a big job,” Truex said. 

Unlike Sanchez, certain candidates such as Solis have worked for years in the public sector. Solis in particular has worked in both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with nonprofits to help citizens find housing after disasters.  

Solis also expressed concern for the economy and the lack of retention among college graduates, declaring it to be the citys most pressing issue.  

We need to create a business-friendly environment that allows startups and established businesses alike to flourish and create well-paying jobs for our citizens,” Solis said. 

If elected, Solis plans to implement policies that would lower taxes, instill simpler and fairer regulations, and establish infrastructure projects that attract businesses instead of harming them.”  

In a meeting with Solis, President of the NMSU College Democrats Dante Archibeque stated that Solis advocated for greater dialogue between NMSU and the mayors office, citing opportunities such as shadowing programs for various positions within the city government. 

I applaud her for talking to us. Students are a growing voting block and taking the time to talk with us about our issues will be vital to any political campaign,” Archibeque said. 

Students may take part in early voting until Saturday, November 2. Those needing to update their information or register to vote for the first time can do so now on Election Day on November 5. The full list of mayoral candidates can be found below:

-Mayor Ken Miyagishima 

-City Councilor Greg Smith 

-Mike Tellez 

-Jorge Sanchez 

-Jesusita Dolores Lucero 

-Alexander Fresquez

-Bev Courtney 

-Bill Mattiace 

-County Comissioner Isabella Solis 

-Gina Ortega 

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