Key Democratic legislator may face primary challenge

Albuquerque Journal

By: Dan Boyd

SANTA FE – A Las Cruces Democrat who works with developmentally disabled people has announced her campaign for a state Senate seat, setting up a potential 2020 primary showdown with a top-ranking senator.

Tracy Perry, who is making her first run for elected office, said she is not daunted by the prospect of taking on Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, for the Senate District 38 seat.

“It’s time for a change,” Perry said, adding that she plans to run on a progressive platform and has already started raising money for next year’s race.

A single mother and cancer survivor, Perry is the chief executive officer of Direct Therapy Services, which works with people with developmental disabilities. She said she has spent time in Santa Fe lobbying for changes to a state system that, in recent years, has featured a large backlog of people waiting for services.

“I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck,” she told the Journal. “I feel like I would be a great voice for the people.”

Papen, 87, said Thursday that she has not decided whether she will run next year for another four-year term.

“I’m not a spring chicken, and I don’t own the seat,” said Papen, who added that there are still issues she wants to work on at the Roundhouse, including autism awareness.

But she is one of several moderate Senate Democrats who angered some progressives during this year’s 60-day legislative session by opposing proposals to take more money from New Mexico’s largest permanent fund for early childhood programs, repeal a long-dormant abortion ban and legalize recreational marijuana use.

Papen has served in the Senate since 2001 and was elected Senate president pro tem in 2013. In that position, she plays a key role in assigning members to committees, where a majority of legislative debate occurs.

As a senator, Papen emerged as a leading critic of former Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration’s 2013 move to freeze Medicaid payments for 15 behavioral health providers due to alleged overpayments and possible fraud. But she also has voted with Republicans on several hot-button issues, including the 2015 confirmation of ex-Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera.

Perry said Thursday she wants to provide district voters with a choice during the 2020 election cycle, but said her candidacy is “not about Mary Kay Papen.”

“It’s about my campaign and what I can bring to the district,” she said.

The Senate District 38 seat encompasses parts of Las Cruces and stretches south to the Mexican border.

It is a Democratic-leaning district, and Papen easily defeated Republican general election opponents during her last two re-election campaigns. She has not faced a Democratic primary opponent since her first run for the seat in 2000.

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Original Article


Therapy services CEO Tracy Perry to run for NM Senate District 38 seat

Las Cruces Sun News

LAS CRUCES - Democrat Tracy Perry, CEO of Direct Therapy Services, announced Thursday that she will be seeking election in New Mexico’s State Senate District 38, a seat now held by state Sen. Mary Kay Papen.

The district represents portions of Las Cruces, the New Mexico State University area, Mesilla, Mesquite, Vado, and areas near Anthony.

Perry has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's office, according to a news release, and the announcement represents the first step in what will be more than a year-long campaign. The primary election is in June 2020, while the general election is in November 2020.

"We have a long campaign ahead of us, but it's important to get started now so I can hear from everyone in District 38," Perry said in a news release. "We are stronger when we work together."

Perry said there are many reasons she wants to run for the seat.

"I was raised in southern New Mexico, and I love our community. I'm a single mother of three amazing children who are all in public school, and I'm a cancer survivor. It's time that Santa Fe has a voice that represents these values."

Perry said her top policy initiatives are increasing access to healthcare — especially to seniors, veterans, and working families — assisting individuals with developmental disabilities — and further improving public education, with an emphasis on building programs to curb bullying and cyber-bullying.

"All children deserve a quality and safe education regardless of their zip code," she said in the news release.

A first-time candidate, Perry explained her desire to seek public office, saying she's been an advocate for people with disabilities and has worked around New Mexico to improve access to health care.

“I'm running for state Senate because I do listen," she said. "I am a regular person who has experienced the real struggles of life. I am a fighter and don’t give up or take no for an answer. Politics is not a spectator sport, and I don't want to sit on the sidelines."

Perry is currently CEO of Direct Therapy Services, which was founded on serving the needs of individuals on the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver, as well as the MiVia Waiver. Perry has also held career positions as a CNA (certified nurse assistant), Direct care staff for individuals with disabilities, job coach, certified employment specialist and service coordinator for adults with disabilities.

"Recently, we invested in New Mexico by creating and saving over 150 jobs," she said. "I want to take these values and experiences to Santa Fe, and the time to make a positive change is now."

Perry is currently enrolled in Emerge New Mexico, which supports qualified women in running for local office. She's been involved and active in her communities, both in Doña Ana and Otero Counties. She sat on the special deputy’s sheriff commission in Doña Ana County. She was recently vetted by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to sit on the ACQ board (Advisory Council on Quality), and is also chair a subcommittee for the ACQ. She sits on many state committees for shareholders on policy, and is the chair for a therapy provider network.

Perry was born in Freeport, Texas and moved to Alamogordo where she attended elementary, middle and high school. During her time at Alamogordo High School, Perry excelled at both school and sports and received over 10 scholarship offers to play softball.

Perry is a single mom of three — Madison, 11; Dustin, 15; and Makaylee, 17, who all attend public school in Las Cruces. In addition to being a single mom, Perry is a cancer survivor, with eight years in remission, which she says has helped give her the strength to be the person she is today.

For more info, visit Perry's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/perry4nm38 or on her website at https://perry4nm38.com

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Original Article


Democrat Tracy L. Perry Announces Run for State Senate District 38

Contact: Matthew R. Gloudemans
Phone: 505-440-6026
Email: Matthew.Gloudemans@gmail.com

Las Cruces – Today, CEO of Direct Therapy Services, Tracy Perry, announced that she will be seeking election in New Mexico’s State Senate District 38, which represents various portions of West Las Cruces including the NMSU area as well as parts of Mesilla. Perry has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office, and this announcement represents the first step in what will be more than a year-long campaign – with a June 2020 Primary and November 2020 General Election.

“We have a long campaign ahead of us, but it’s important to get started now so I can hear from everyone in District 38. We are stronger when we work together” stated Perry, who cites multiple reasons for wanting to represent District 38. “I was raised in Southern New Mexico, and I love our community in Las Cruces and Mesilla. I’m a single mother of 3 amazing children who are all in public school, and I’m a cancer survivor. It’s time that Santa Fe has a voice that represents these values.” Perry describes her top policy initiatives as increasing access to healthcare – especially to seniors, veterans, and working families, assisting individuals with developmental disabilities, and further improving public education, with an emphasis on building programs to curb bullying and cyber-bullying. Perry explains “All children deserve a quality and safe education regardless of their zip code.”

A first-time candidate, Perry describes her willingness to run for office: “I’m running for State Senate because I do listen, I am a regular person who has experienced the real struggles of life, I am a fighter and don’t give up or take no for an answer. Politics is not a spectator sport, and I don’t want to sit on the sidelines.” She finished by adding: “I’ve been an advocate for individuals with disabilities during the legislative session and worked around the State for better access to healthcare. Recently, we invested in New Mexico by creating and saving over 150 jobs. I want to take these values and experiences to Santa Fe, and the time to make a positive change is now.” Perry is currently enrolled in Emerge New Mexico, which supports qualified women in running for local office.

Tracy Perry is currently CEO of Direct Therapy Services, which was founded on serving the needs of individuals on the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver as well as the MiVia Waiver. Perry has also held career positions as a CNA (certified nurse assistant), Direct care staff for individuals with disabilities, Job coach, certified employment specialist and service coordinator for adults with disabilities. She has also held multiple board positions throughout the State.
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Bio: Tracy Lynn Perry

Tracy was born in Freeport, Texas and moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico where she attended elementary, middle and high school. During her time at Alamogordo High School, Tracy excelled at both school and sports and received over 10 scholarship offers to play Softball.
Tracy is a single mom of three – Madison (11 years old) Dustin (15 years old) and Makaylee (17 years old) who all attend public school in Las Cruces. In addition to being a single mom, Tracy is a cancer survivor (8 years in remission), which she says has helped give her the strength to be the person she is today. Her strength comes from the obstacles that she has overcome, which is why she believes that we are stronger when we work together.

In her early 20’s, Tracy began her work with children and adults with disabilities. As a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) she developed a passion for working in the healthcare industry as well as working with individuals with disabilities. Her passion for this work has led to a career in the field of developmental disabilities, where she has held jobs as a Job coach, certified employment specialist, billing specialist and service coordinator for adults with disabilities. She is now CEO of Direct Therapy Services which was founded for serving the needs of individuals on the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver as well as the MiVia Waiver and currently provides jobs for over 300 people. Tracy has overseen the expansion of specialized medical services to rural parts of the State that were previously unavailable. As CEO, Tracy has overseen tremendous successes, including a supports waiver for individuals on the waitlist and $10,000,000 of new money to help take people off of the DDW list.

Tracy has been involved and active in her communities, both in Dona Ana and Otero Counties. She sat on the special deputy’s sheriff commission in Dona Ana County. Tracy was recently vetted by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sit on the ACQ board (Advisory Council on Quality), and is also chair a subcommittee for the ACQ. She sits on many state committees for shareholders on policy, and is the chair for a therapy provider network. Tracy is also an internationally certified electronic search specialist for Project Lifesaver.

“I’m running for State Senate because I do listen, I am a regular person who has experienced the real struggles of life, I am a fighter who won't give up or take no for an answer, and I have the people's best interest at heart. I will work to create an open government where everyone has a right to have their vote heard." - Tracy Lynn Perry