Candy Ezzell Gun Photo

Candy Spence Ezzell for Senate District 32

Candy Spence Ezzell is a life-long farmer and rancher, dedicated to family, freedom, and community here in District 32. She has a wealth of experience in the legislature, as well as in the issues we face in the industries that matter most to Southeast New Mexico. A long-time state representative, she is running to take the fight for our rights and our values to the New Mexico State Senate.

Meet Candy

Candy Spence Ezzell was born in Artesia on Thanksgiving Day, to Solon and Jackie Spence. She grew up on the family farm north of Artesia and west of Lake Arthur and learned early how to work: feeding cows, driving tractors, sweeping up, picking cotton, etc. Half of the money earned went in to the collection plate on Sundays. For Candy, fun was always riding horses.

Candy attended Cottonwood Elementary School, Park Junior High, graduated from Artesia High School. She attended NMSU and ENMU-Roswell.

Since 1974, Candy has been a full-time farmer and rancher. Since 1993 she and her husband have owned and operated a twenty-seven section cattle ranch southwest of Roswell.

Candy was elected to the NM House of Representatives in 2004, where she served from 2005 until 2024, serving as Caucus Chair for 4 years.

She is proud to be a member of the NM Cattle Growers Association, life-time member of the NRA (with an A+ rating!), lifetime member of the North American Limousin Foundation, and a life-time member of the AQHA.

Candy is married to Calder Ezzell, and they have two grown children, Robert and Kathleen—along with 50+ bonus kids who also call Candy “Mom.”

Civic service:

  • 4-H member for 9 years
  • Eddy County 4-H Council Secretary
  • 4-H leader for 10 years
  • Eddy County Leader of the Year 1986
  • New Mexico 4-H Rodeo Executive Committee for 8 years
  • Cottonwood Volunteer Fire Department 1974-1993
  • Coached Little League baseball for 6 years
  • Taught and coached gymnastics for 8 years
  • Served on the Eastern NM State Fair Junior Livestock Sale committee for 10 years
  • Superintendent for the ENMSF Arts & Crafts Department for 6 years

Legislative activities and awards:

– Former Member: House Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Committee, the Labor Committee, Business & Industry Committee, Consumer & Public Affairs Committee, Legislative Finance Committee

– Current Member: Education Committee

– Ranking Member and Former Chair: House Agriculture, Acequias and Water Committee

  • 20-year member of the NM Sportsmen’s Caucus
  • Executive Board of the National Sportsmen’s Caucus for 8 years.
  • Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award, 2012
  • NM Business Coalition Award, 2012
  • NM FFA Honorary State Degree in 2013
  • Association of Commerce & Industry Award, 2018
  • ENMU-R Supporter of the Year for Basic Adult Education, 2019
  • Rio Grande Foundation Freedom Index Award, 2024

Candy’s Priorities

Agriculture

“To protect and care for all his creation, God created farmers and ranchers.”

That saying is on a sign on the gate to my ranch. I’ve been involved in agriculture my whole life. I own our cattle ranch with my husband and I still own family farms with my brothers. Our family farms raise alfalfa, cotton, chili, sorghum, and other crops.

Everybody is involved in agriculture because they eat. But less than 2.5% of the US population feeds the rest of the world. My dad was a farmer, his dad was a farmer. Before we came to this country, my family back in Ireland raised horses. Agriculture and livestock is in my blood, and it’s who I am.

I have a lifetime’s worth of experience, knowledge, and wisdom on the issues facing farmers and ranchers in New Mexico. No matter what happens in the legislature, I am ready to fight for our rights and our needs.

After some tough years, New Mexico’s agriculture industry is on the rise, but still faces many challenges, especially overburdensome regulations. Agriculture is a key economic driver in our state. As your state senator, my top priority will be protecting agricultural interests and doing everything I can to make sure it thrives.

Protecting Water Rights

I have served on a number of committees concerning water and water rights, including the House Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources. I have been involved in agriculture my whole life.

I want to protect our water in New Mexico and especially in the Southeast corner. My focus is on two things:

  • Ensuring that we are in compliance with the State of Texas and paying them in water, not in cash.
  • Making sure that the water rights from our basin are not bought up by developers and pumped to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We must balance the private property rights of folks who hold their own water rights with the need to keep our water here where it is so needed. Developers and speculators want to use our water for economic development in the North, but the fact is that we need it just as badly if not more so for economic development right here. I won’t allow our water rights to be transferred out of basin.

Early in my legislative career I passed a bill where the interstate stream commission could buy land in our area, but that they could not come in and subdivide the land unless they bought new, additional water rights. My bill allowed the interstate stream commission to make sure New Mexico was in compliance with the supreme court’s ruling for the state—but they can’t subdivide unless they retain a percentage of the water rights.

Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas not only powers every aspect of the economy in New Mexico, but also generates the revenue that funds our state schools. I strongly oppose the far-left environmentalist agenda which aims not only at the destruction of the oil and gas industry but at obliterating the economic well-being of every individual and family in this state. I will continue to fight to repeal the New Mexico Green New Deal and other bills that undermine the future of our state.

Education

I am a strong proponent of local control in education. I believe in local solutions for local problems, because the needs of our community are not the same as the needs of places like Albuquerque and Santa Fe. For this reason I support local school districts who have had success using a four day school week, and other alternative approaches to education.

Smaller schools in rural areas need to be able to do a 4 day school week. For much of modern history in New Mexico, like in other agricultural states, school calendars responded to the needs of families and communities. And I think we can all see from the data that education was better when it wasn’t one-size-fits all. And we see that today too! The schools that work on a 4-day school week are some of the best-performing schools in New Mexico, outperforming the industrial education machine in Albuquerque.

But now, Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration is trying to dictatorially force our local schools to abide by the factory settings up North. This is going to impact Dexter, Lake Arthur, Tatum, all the smaller towns in Senate District 32.

So many teachers in rural parts of our district come in from far off for a few days of the week to teach, and then go back home. They can’t go back to a five day school week. The cost of utilities and maintenance and buses at these schools for a full week is a big deal down here. In short, this centrally-planned catastrophe from Santa Fe will drastically effect our communities. I will fight it every step of the way.

Immigration

Our open border with Mexico is especially affecting our area of the state. It’s an open door for drugs, crime, and massive depletion of our limited resources. It’s effecting the ability of citizens and also legal visa holders to find work and provide for their kids.

The drug problem is overwhelming. We have to put our citizens first. This could, of course, all be solved if we had state and federal governments willing to simply enforce the law. We currently do not. However, I believe there is more that can be done to pressure the ruling elite in Santa Fe to take action, especially with a rise in public awareness about this issue. If elected to the state Senate, I will be in a better position to apply pressure on this issue with legislation tailored to force New Mexico to actually enforce state and federal immigration law.

Second Amendment

I’m a lifetime member of the NRA. In my time in the legislature, I have received an A+ rating from the NRA every year I’ve been in office. I am unshakeably pro-2nd Amendment and will not bow to the progressives trying to destroy our Constitution.

False Accusations

RESPONDING TO FALSE ACCUSATIONS FROM MY OPPONENT AND HIS SPECIAL INTEREST BACKERS

Though my opponents attacks are cited in such a way as to confuse you and make it difficult to fact check, I have put together this guide to each of the bills cited. None of the charges he has made are true, as you can see below.

1. What they say: She filed legislation that she stands to profit from personally.” They list the following pieces of legislation. I have provided explanations and context for each one. Most of these bills concern horse-racing, which I know a lot about. If anyone is working on legislation concerning horse racing, they come to me because Im the only expert in the legislature on this subject. NONE of these bills would have benefitted me personally.

HB 199, 2021 Regular Session: HORSE RACING ADVANCE DEPOSIT WAGERING: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=H&LegType=B&LegNo=199&year=21

What this would do is benefit the race tracks and the racing industry. Every other state has this except NM–the reason we dont is because of the Indian gaming compact. All it would do is benefit the race tracks and allow them to place wagers at other tracks and have other money come in.

If a person had a horse that was running in Farmington while they were in Roswell, they would not be able to bet on their own horse. This would have changed that, if it had passed.

It would not benefit me in the least. It would have benefitted race tracks and the racing industry in general. Indian gaming opposed it, and it did not pass.

HB 213, 2018 Regular Session: RACETRACK DEPOSIT WAGERING ACCOUNTS

Same thing as bill above.

HB 390, 2023 Regular Session: RACEHORSE TESTING FUND FINES & AUDITS https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=390&year=23 

I sponsored this bill. It would require the NM Racing Commission to collect the fines from the cheaters who want to win at any expense by illegally doping horses in New Mexico. It would also call for a yearly audit with a state auditor. Passed its House committees unanimously and then passed the Full House 59-1. Passed the Senate committees, but then died in Finance because they ran out of time. This bill would have improved the integrity of racing for the betting public as well as the quality and safety of the horses and jockeys. We want those cheaters out of our state. It would also prevent cheaters from getting any and all purse money if they won a race, and were found to be using illegal drugs. It would improve the integrity of racing as a whole.

HB 410, 2023 Regular Session: COUNTY OFFICIAL SALARY CAPS https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=410&year=23

This bill passed House judiciary; it was a cost of living adjustment. My husband is a county commissioner, and this would NOT have applied to his salary. Again, we would not have benefitted from this, because it did not apply to current office holders but only to future ones.

HB 459, 2023 Regular Session: HORSE BREEDER FEE DISTRIBUTIONS https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=H&LegType=B&LegNo=459&year=23 

This bill passed unanimously in the House, passed the Senate, and was signed into law. It takes owners of stallions from a 7% piece of the purse to a 12% piece of the purse, for first place winners.

It would not benefit me because I dont own any stallions.

HB 503, 2019 Regular Session: HORSE RACING BREEDER MERIT & INCENTIVE AWARDS https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=H&LegType=B&LegNo=503&year=19

I carried this bill, but it does not benefit me in any way. It also has no fiscal impact on state taxpayers. 

Passed House 63-2, Senate passed 33-6, Gov signed.

The bill gives NM horse breeders security for their fee distributions from the NM Horse Breeders Association, essentially by setting up an escrow fund to hold those distributions so no one can abscond with them.

 HB 636, 2019 Regular Session: HORSE RACING ADVANCE DEPOSIT WAGERING https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=636&year=19 

This is the same bill as 199 and 213, above.

2. What they say: Voted to raise her lavish pension”

These are three bills relating to minor changes to the way our pension is held and distributed. What you have to understand about each of these bills is that we pay our own retirement pensions. None of our pensions comes at ANY fiscal impact to the taxpayers of New Mexico.

Senate Bill 159; 2022 Regular Session: LEGISLATIVE RETIREMENT CHANGES https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?chamber=S&legtype=B&legno=159&year=22

The truth:

Sponsored by Ingle and Wirth, this bill passed the senate unanimously. In the House, 4 Rs and 1 Dem voted against.

There is no fiscal impact to the taxpayers of the state. We pay our own retirement. 

SB 114; 2013 Regular Session: LEGISLATIVE RETIREMENT QUALIFICATION https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=S&LegType=B&LegNo=114&year=13

The truth:

Senator Ingle sponsored. In the Senate, only 3 voted against. In the House, it passed with a large majority.

No fiscal impact to the taxpayers.

SB 165; 2024 Regular Session: LEGISLATIVE RETIREMENT CHANGES https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=S&LegType=B&LegNo=165&year=24

The truth: Vote is a mixed bag in the House, passed the senate nearly unanimously with 3 Dems voting against.

The issue at hand was the pension fund had a surplus. The bill would have eliminated the surplus. A number of senators were planning to retire, so there was disagreement about the changes.

Again, this would have no fiscal impact on the taxpayers because we pay into our own retirement fund.

3. What they say: CANDY EZZELL VOTED FOR SB 192 WHICH RAISED TAXES ON HEALTHCARE FOR SENIORS BY OVER $23 MILLION A YEAR

SB 192; 2018 Regular Session: STATE HEALTH CARE QUALITY SURCHARGE ACT https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=S&LegType=B&LegNo=192&year=18

The truth: This bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate. All Republicans voted for it.

It was to keep rural hospitals open. The big hospitals were using private insurance payers and it was very unfair to rural hospitals where many are on Medicaid. It would raise the amount that the big hospitals have to pay into the state fund (60% on their side).

Again, this passed unanimously on both sides.

4. What they say: Voted with radical democrats to pay for healthcare for illegal immigrants”

HB 112, 2021 Regular Session; HB 43, 2021 Regular Session

The truth: These bills also had to do with helping rural hospitals stay open during COVID. These bills were mirrors of each other, so only one ended up passing. It passed unanimously in both houses.

What my opponent is probably twisting here is that the bill stated that hospitals could use these funds to treat folks regardless of citizenship–but of course, that applies to green card and legal visa holders.

If this bill had not passed, our rural hospitals would have closed their doors. Would my opponent really have voted to shut down rural hospitals in our district?

5. What they say: Mandating CRT and Anti-Racism Training”

HB 43, 2021 Regular Session: The Black Education Act

This bill aligns resources for black students to match the Hispanic Education Act and the Indian Education Act. Id prefer to forget about skin color, because I think a person is a person. But if were going to have Hispanic students and Indian students receiving certain resources, I thought it was only fair that Black students receive the same resources.

Again, this bill passed UNANIMOUSLY in both houses and among both Republicans and Democrats.

I do not support CRT and this bill had nothing to do with that.