Pop Quiz: 2024 Primary Election

Pop Quiz for Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners, District 2, June 4 primary election

This week, SFR continues with another edition of one of our favorite traditions: pop quizzing candidates about the offices they’re seeking and the communities they hope to represent. We’re making our way over to Santa Fe County District 2, which covers the majority of the western portion of Santa Fe County, including Agua Fría and a slice of Las Campanas.

As residents say goodbye to County Commissioner Anna Hansen—who reaches her two-term limit this year—three Democratic candidates have their sights set on filling the seat: attorney Scott Fuqua; educator and community activist Lisa Cacari Stone; and former County Assessor Benito Martinez Jr. No Republicans or Libertarians (the state’s two other major parties) are on the primary ballot.

Per SFR’s ground rules, the candidates agree to not use any sources besides their own knowledge to answer the quiz questions. SFR records the conversations and reports the answers verbatim. Early voting in the June election began May 7. Find voting locations and additional information at

County Commission District 2 questions:

  1. What was the median sales price for a single-family home in District 2 for Q1 of 2024, according to the Santa Fe Association of Realtors’ most recent statistics?
  2. How much daily water does the average Santa Fe County resident use?
  3. Name all of the elected offices in Santa Fe County government.
  4. What are Santa Fe County Health and Human Services Department’s plans for using new opioid settlement dollars? Bonus: Roughly how much did Santa Fe County budget for behavioral health services—many of which are related to growing opioid addiction—in 2023?
  5. According to the current Santa Fe County land use code, for what primary purposes shall proposed amendments to the land use text or map be considered?

Scott Fuqua, 48 (45/100)

Before lawyer Fuqua worked as a sole practitioner—his current job—he spent seven years at the state Attorney General’s Office, a portion of which he served as the director of the litigation division. He says his bid for Hansen’s seat will focus on water and land use issues.


  1. I think it was in the neighborhood of $480,000, but I may be thinking more broadly than District 2. (20/20)
  2. Per day? Uuf, uh, boy that’s hard to estimate. I would—My best guess is the average Santa Fe County resident in a single day probably uses somewhere in the neighborhood—It’s gonna be a pretty broad range—between 50 and maybe 120 gallons a day. (10/20)
  3. Well, there’s the county commission, there’s the county assessor, there’s the county clerk. Uh, that’s all I can come up with off the top of my head right now. (10/20)
  4. Ooh, I don’t know. That’s a very good question. I’d like to know the answer. (0/20) Bonus: I don’t know the answer to that question either. But I would be very interested to know the answer because I don’t understand that the county does a whole lot in that area. I’ve always understood that to be a state responsibility. (0/20)
  5. I don’t know the answer to that question either. I would be surprised if the land use code limits too strictly, at least in my experience, but that it doesn’t limit too strictly the purposes to which those can be amended. Though I’m sure there are goals that the county has in mind with both the land use code and the map. I’m sure amendments need to be consistent with those goals. (5/20)

Lisa Cacari Stone, 58 (45/100)

Cacari Stone, whose name represents both her Mexican and English/Irish backgrounds, works as a professor and the executive director and principal investigator of the Transdisciplinary Research, Equity and Engagement Center for Advancing Behavioral Health at the University of New Mexico. She is a first-generation college graduate and holds a PhD in social policy. Her campaign priorities include affordable housing and infrastructure.


  1. So I looked at the real estate section of the Santa Fe New Mexican and the average sale price was $604,000 for the entire county, and in our area it was around $525,000. (18/20)
  2. I just looked at this this morning. I think it was—It’s lower than the past—It’s like 91 or 94. (0/20)
  3. OK, well, you have the five county commissioners, and then you have the county clerk. I think the county assessor is a full-time position. Commissioners, five commissioners, the county clerk—I’m missing one. (7/20)
  4. Yes, I know that on the priority list of the health and community services benefits is substance abuse prevention and youth mental health, especially LGBTQ investments, also in senior services and substance abuse treatment. (10/20) Bonus: So the total budget now is about $470 million, about half of that goes to personnel. I would say that the behavioral health services probably, I would say, fall at about $20 million, I would hope. (0/20)
  5. For development, land use and water. (10/20)

Benito Martinez Jr., 61 (38/100)

Martinez Jr. served as the president of the New Mexico Association of Counties and the Santa Fe Boys and Girls Clubs. He previously served as county assessor from 1996 to 2006, and made an unsuccessful bid for the office again in 2010. Martinez Jr. notes health, public safety and infrastructure as some of his top priorities if elected.


  1. I don’t have the exact number but I’m going to say that it’s the range of $750,000 because District Two is quite interesting and unlike any district in the entire state, because we have Airport Road, you know, manufactured housing, trailer parks, you have apartments, and then you have traditional historic community of Agua Fría. And then you have Las Acequias, and you have Casa Alegre and then you have Las Campanas and Aldea. You have these subdivisions that are going to skew those and so mean, median, mode or average midpoint of the frequency distribution and then the most frequent occurrence, but median is average physical average, and I would say that that is going to be $750,000 because you’re bringing into the equation Las Campanas and Aldea and the like which are in the millions. Millions. So I don’t believe that it’s a good reflection, even though it is what the median price is, but you’re taking in the high ends and the low, you know. (0/20)
  2. First of all, regarding water, and in the county setting, traditional historic community of Agua Fría, and by the way, I’m aware that the land use code was developed in 1981 and created the traditional community’s three quarter acre minimum with three quarter acre of water to be used on an acre foot. An acre is 43,560 square feet. One foot deep of water is 388,000 gallons. And so if we simply divide that per day, I’m going to say 200 gallons. That includes irrigating, watering trees and the like. (0/20)
  3. OK: county assessor, five commissioners, probate judge, county clerk, sheriff. It should equate to 11 elected officials in county government Santa Fe County. (18/20)
  4. Well, it’s going to be health related, health and safety, and that’s going to be—and I have a tremendous amount of experience in these areas because I was past president of Santa Fe Boys and Girls Clubs and the Area Council, which is a statewide club and in terms of behavioral health, and it’s going to be expended on behavioral health and the sustainment that they’re in and then outreach to potential individuals that are affected by that including families. So I’m gonna say health-related outreach programs related to those types of substances. (5/20) Bonus: I don’t know that exact number, but I do know that—and I’ll think about that while I’m prefacing my answer—when I was county assessor, the budget countywide was $25-26 million, thereabouts. It is now $497 million, so it has grown substantially and exponentially, and I think that it needs to be examined. But behavioral health I’m going to put it—I did not look at the county budget for 2023 in that particular line item—but it should be in the millions of dollars, I believe. I’m going to say $1 million I would hope, and it’s probably substantially less than that, but I’m going to say it should be much greater than what it is. (0/20)
  5. Well, in preface to that question and my answer is that first of all, the land use director—I caught this just the other day in a forum—makes recommendations, not decisions. The sustainable land use development code was created just a few years ago, about five years ago, I believe. I don’t have the exact date. But it was created, and there are a lot of loose ends relative to it. The primary purposes are density and water conservation and in considering retention, for example, from nonporous surfaces—that is rooftops and the like—and I firmly believe that is primary and a major focus is that we collect it I believe, not to be required, but amendments that encourage with incentives, the collection of federal or precious resource, and I think that that should be as an incentive not required to put a cistern on every property in the county. That’s residential and non residential, for the collection thereof, and then, of course, conservation of our most valuable resource, which is water. So I think as an amendment, it’s going to be water conservation and sustainment for planned unit developments in the future. (15/20)

County Commission District 2 answers:

  1. $472,250.
  2. The average utility user in Santa Fe County uses 59 gallons of water per person per day, according to Santa Fe County’s water conservation website.
  3. The elected offices are: Assessor, Clerk, Board of County Commissioners, Probate Judge, Sheriff and Treasurer
  4. County Health and Human Services Department Director Rachel O’Connor told SFR late last year that officials plan to use opioid settlement funds to renovate the county jail and create a new medical unit to facilitate enhanced options in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs and increased detox services. Local entities first received money from national settlements in 2022 and later began receiving distributions from cases New Mexico fought alone in December 2023. Proceeds are expected to continue over a period of approximately 18 years. Santa Fe County already provides MAT at the county jail to both alcohol and opioid dependent inmates who agree to treatment. Over half of the people booked in the facility tested positive for fentanyl last year. Bonus: The county budgeted over $5 million in behavioral health services in 2023.
  5. Per the code, amendments to the land use text or accompanying map shall “promote compact development, economic, commercial and residential mixed uses, traditional neighborhood and transit oriented development, sustainable design and higher densities.” The code lists several specific examples of purposes of proposed amendments that fall under this language, including but not limited to: facilitating a greater amount of affordable housing; promoting non-residential economic and renewable energy development; and preserving open space.
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