Sanchez-Gagne: Why I Am Running To Be Your DA

By MARIA SANCHEZ-GAGNE
Democratic Candidate
District Attorney

I am a native Santa Fean and life-long Democrat. I have worked as a career prosecutor for 20 years, having prosecuted hundreds of cases including violent crimes of child abuse, human trafficking and sexual assaults. I wrote New Mexico’s human trafficking law and prosecuted the first cases of human trafficking. Victims, regardless of their immigration status, are now able to receive benefits and resources to start a new life. I am responsible for the first state international extradition from Mexico. I have developed and implemented innovative strategies to promote offender accountability and obtain justice. My unique and extensive experience makes me the most qualified candidate.

I have the experience and passion to work tirelessly to make our community safer–to stop public corruption, stop repeat violent offenders, fix our DWI problem and find treatment/mental health services for those who need it so desperately, to ensure they never enter the criminal justice system again.

As DA, I would develop better relationships with law enforcement to improve investigations and prosecutions. I would establish an open-door policy and provide legal update trainings on a regular/consistent basis. I will provide training for staff assistant DA’s to support them. I have trained hundreds of law enforcement and prosecutors throughout New Mexico – I know this strategy works. I will re-establish multidisciplinary teams for child abuse cases and other violent crimes.

Collaboration with community service providers is key in supporting victims and improving the quality of prosecutions. This is critical to stopping the revolving door of repeat offenders. The criminal justice system, treatment providers, education and the business community must work together for solutions to reduce recidivism. Reducing recidivism for juveniles is a primary concern. Many juveniles who enter the criminal justice system need services and support to address any mental health or substance abuse issues so they are able to complete their education and secure employment. Adults must receive drug and mental health treatment, education and job skills training following first offenses to reduce recidivism. We are in dire need of these services, more now than ever, following the Governor’s behavioral health ‘shake up’ which cut medicaid funding to 15 established behavioral health providers.

I will collaborate with federal and local law enforcement to develop financial investigations related to drug arrests to ‘follow the money’ to disrupt larger drug organizations. Often the prosecution stops with the arrest of the drug-abuser. However, we can do a better job targeting the traffickers and those who victimize our families. As Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Border Violence Division, I secured approximately $7 million in grant funding to establish anti-money laundering investigation and prosecution units in NM. 

I am most proud that my entire career has been helping the victims – from seeking justice, to seeking closure, to beginning a new life. Behind every crime and every criminal, there is a victim and a family they hurt. As a life-long prosecutor, I am proud that all my efforts have been to be their advocate – often when no one else would. Visit www.Maria4DA.com.

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