Democrat Announces Run For New Mexico Land Commissioner

May 27, 2017

Commentary: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Longtime advocate for public lands, wildlife and New Mexico’s natural environment, Garrett VeneKlasen, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Public Lands at a press conference in Albuquerque this morning.

“Our State Land Office is leaving millions of dollars on the table by not investing more in solar energy,” said VeneKlasen. “As Land Commissioner I will recruit solar companies to build solar projects in New Mexico to create jobs for New Mexicans, boost rural economies and make sure we have world-class schools for our kids.”

A Santa Fe native, VeneKlasen said his professional experience advocating for the conservation of state and national public lands has given him an outsider’s perspective about how to leverage the State Land Office to improve New Mexico.

“We need a fresh start in the State Land Office, someone who will bring honesty back to the office and end the corrupt self-dealing of the current Commissioner,” added VeneKlasen. 

VeneKlasen launched a statewide radio ad called “Hey There,” which can be heard at:
 As Commissioner of Public Lands, VeneKlasen will:

  • End Corruption and Backroom Deals: The current State Land Office is filled with corruption. On my watch, I’ll usher in a new era of transparency and end self-serving backroom deals.
  • Invest More in New Mexico’s Schools: We need to tap the permanent fund for early childhood education with resources directed straight to classroom materials and technology upgrades.
  • Greatly Expand Renewable Energy: We’re the 2nd sunniest state in the nation. So why are we 48th in renewable energy production?  We need to greatly increase renewable energy production on state trust lands. 
  • Boost Rural Economies: Rural New Mexico needs help. The State Land Office can take action by increasing tourism and access to public lands for recreation, hiking, hunting and camping. Eco-Tourism means big money.  

“The State Land Office has the potential to be an economic driver for New Mexico, but we have to change the way we think about its role in our state government,” said VeneKlasen.

For more information, please visit or connect on Facebook @VeneKlasen4OurFuture and Twitter @VeneKlasen4NM.

Garrett VeneKlasen was born and raised in Santa Fe and spent his childhood hunting, fishing, camping, and exploring the mountains, grasslands, deserts, and wetlands of New Mexico with his father. 

VeneKlasen has spent his career exploring and conserving New Mexico’s state trust and national public lands. He spent most of his career as the owner of a small travel company, helping people explore public lands around the world. 

Before becoming the Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, VeneKlasen was the Southwest Director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project as well as Trout Unlimited’s New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator.

He currently lives in Santa Fe with his wife, Annie, and their daughter, Ava.