- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The only contested seat on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission is pitting a Republican incumbent against a former Democratic commissioner who was once the panel’s chairman.

Ben Hall is seeking re-election to his District 5 seat on the powerful commission that regulates public utilities, telecommunications and insurance companies. He is facing a challenge from Democrat Sandy Jones.

Hall, a Ruidoso businessman, said he would continue to work to simplify commission rules and regulations and to reorganize the agency. He believes commissioners were “cleaning up” the governing body after a series of embarrassing scandals.

“We think we’re on the right track to cleaning things up,” Hall told the Alamogordo Daily News. “We’ve made a lot of changes. We’ve changed all the directors in every division.”

Jones, the retired owner of a construction company based out of Williamsburg, promises to help bring jobs to the state and push for the commission to regulate itself. He also said he would take the hard line to protect his constituents and the consumer.

“I fined one water company a million dollars for not taking care of its customers,” he said.

The Secretary of State’s Office told Hall in a letter this month that allowed uses of public campaign financing don’t include candidates paying themselves for time spent campaigning.

Hall had previously told the Albuquerque Journal (https://goo.gl/yCaCIl ) that he had used nearly $7,000 of his public campaign financing to pay himself and his fiancee for time they spent on campaign work.

District 5 stretches from Los Lunas south to Dona Ana County and west to Arizona.

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