8 Questions for Doreen Wonda Johnson: New Mexico State Representative Elect, District 5
By Fowler Roberts
Q. Doreen, why did you decide to run for state representative?
A. I decided to run for state representative after I moved back to Eastern Navajo Agency, to live in Gallup and to be near my folks who live 30 miles from Gallup on their homestead. I worked for the Navajo Nation Vice President for one year and for the Navajo Nation President for one year. While meeting with constituents on a one-on-one basis, I began to realize that we still need to address the basic needs of education, health care and infrastructure. I want to be a responsible community member and help.
Q. What are you looking forward to the most about being a state representative?
A. I am looking forward to working in tandem with stakeholders to move forward on stalled projects and create new projects.
Q. What do you think the biggest challenge of the job will be?
A. The biggest challenge will be moving those stalled projects forward. We know how to write grants and receive grants but we don’t know how to implement them. We will need to gather the community together at the table and work together as a team.
Q. What is your top priority?
A. My top priority is education. I think we need to provide accessible education for our students so that we can prepare them for secondary education so that they can compete.
Q. Ultimately, what do you see as the highest potential for our area?
A. Our regional area has tremendous opportunity in the area of tourism. I’m a traveler myself and I know that people are interested in our culture. I think we have a lot of potential to share the heritage that we have here and thereby help economic development. We have a lot of historical knowledge and relevance.
Q. What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
A. I enjoy the humanities; I enjoy theater, comedy, book clubs and the art of quilting. I enjoy Broadway plays – only because I had a really good humanities education. I understand the behind-the-scenes and what it takes to put on these performances.
Q. What is your favorite music?
A. I am a classic rock-n-roller and I like to dance. I like Creedence Clearwater Revival. I like Michael Jackson’s music and the Beatles – just classic rock.
Q. If you could trade place with one other person, either living or dead, who would it be and why?
A. Maya Angelou. I think she comes to my mind because we lost her recently. She lived an enormous, absolutely successful life even though she was challenged with adversity. She contributed even with all that she had been through and she gave back and continuously contributed. She was a teacher and she left a legacy.