By Natalie Rodgers
In his first-ever political race, retired Air Force Captain and Democratic Candidate Harold Pope Jr. became New Mexico’s first black Senator against Republican opponent and longtime Senator, Sander Rue.
Senator Pope will be representing New Mexico’s 23rd district, making the coronavirus and the need for public education the focal points of his platform.
Before being elected into the Senate, Pope balanced his military service with his college studies, serving as a dental technician in the Air Force by day and taking classes at night. After earning his degree in biochemistry, Pope went on to serve in the Air Force for over twenty years, mainly working as a security cooperation officer, a program manager and a chemist.
His military experience, along with his extensive work in non-profit organizations and his time working in education, helped to shape Pope’s focal points for his platform: community and education. Throughout his campaign, Pope advocated heavily for the importance of public education, healthcare, and race issues–a heavy contributor in his campaign,
“We have to see other people in those positions and see people that look like us,” Pope told the Coloradoan. “We really have to see people that look like us or came from our situation.”
Though the first black Senator for New Mexico, Pope was not made aware of his potential status until later in his campaign.
“I just want to set the example and take a lot of pride in it,” Pope said of his representation, “but because I am the first, I don’t want to be the last. I just want to be that voice and have that seat at the table.”
While in office, Pope is hoping to expand upon his platform in addition to help foster a more inclusive community in New Mexico.
Source: Coloradoan and Popefornm.com