Father of three runs for state auditor
Like most choices in Robert Aragon’s life, the decision to run for state auditor was not made in an office or at a meeting, but at his dinner table.
That’s because, Aragon said, he doesn’t do anything without his family’s support, because his family comes first.
“I’m a dad – and that sounds really corny, but one of the best things I’ve done in my life and the best things when I’m breathing my last breath will be raising our children,” he said.
The 57-year-old father of three had had a promising political career at an early age. He served three terms in the state House of Representatives beginning in 1979, and ran as the Democratic nominee for Congress in 1992. But when his wife, Peggy, became pregnant with their first child in the ’90s, he put politics on the back burner and raised his three daughters – Amberlee, Ashlee, and Kylee.
“It’s fun. It’s fun being a dad,” he said. “I mean, it doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs to most folks, but I get a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction out of it.”
Even as being a father took center stage in Aragon’s life, he didn’t quite leave public engagement behind. But after his Congressional run, his work was different, manifesting itself on the other side of the aisle after he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican.
His list of activities on the Republican Party of New Mexico’s website reads like that of an engaged citizen: New Mexico House of Representatives from 1979-1983, and again from 1985-1987; The House Appropriation and Finance Committee from 1979-1983; House Appropriation Committee from 1985-1987; The Joint House/Senate Interim Education Reform Committee in 1986; City of Albuquerque Chamber Revision Task Force in 1989; Transition Team for Mayor of Albuquerque; Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents from 1991-1996; New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation Board of Directors from 1992-1994; Bernalillo County Tax Protest Board in 1995 and New Mexico Board of Finance from 2011 to present.
The auditor’s position though, is something his family has encouraged him to seek for many years. It is only now that his girls are in college and choosing their own careers that he is ready to get back into the political arena.
“They’ve encouraged me to do this for some time,” Aragon said. “We always had dinner together and we would always discuss politics. It’s always been part of our lives – their lives – and so even though they’re not very political, they’re well-informed.”
The auditor’s race, too, is all about family for Aragon because it’s about the money families are paying to their government as taxes.
“If you think about it, the auditor is the last barrier of defense for taxpayers,” he said. “The state auditor is there to make sure those dollars are spent appropriately.”
Aragon has handled the race itself in the same relaxed manner he seems to use for most things. For him, the auditor position is the goal, so he’s not worried about stepping on toes if he wins the election. Among other things, employees in the office audit the spending of agencies that receive state money.
“I’m not running for office to run for the next office. Frankly, if I do what I think the job requires, the chances of me getting re-elected are very slim,” he said. “There’s this real sense of liberation – I don’t care if I get re-elected.”
Aragon’s opponent, state Sen. Tim Keller said it has been fun to run against someone who is a seasoned politician.
“He knows what he’s doing, he’s very articulate and, being a lawyer, is familiar with the court side of things,” he said.
But for Aragon, the important thing is not the race; it’s whether he has the blessing of his wife and children.
“They’re really supportive of the idea,” he said. “And you don’t make those kinds of decisions without your family’s support.”[TS-VCSC-Youtube content_youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzj6AXPxu_8&feature=youtu.be” video_related=”false” lightbox_play=”false” content_lightbox=”false” content_youtube_trigger=”preview” content_youtube_image_simple=”false” content_image_height=”height: 100%;” content_youtube_iconsize=”30″ content_youtube_iconcolor=”#cccccc” content_youtube_buttontext=”View Video” lightbox_group_name=”nachogroup” lightbox_effect=”random” content_tooltip_css=”false” content_tooltip_position=”ts-simptip-position-top” margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”0″]
State auditor at a glance
Job: Responsible for auditing state government agencies and other agencies that receive state money.
Term: Four years, with a limit of two consecutive terms.
Incumbent: Hector Balderas, who is running for attorney general.