Democrat: Edward W. Lovato
Community of residence: Rio Rancho, Sandoval County, New Mexico
What are your qualifications for this position?
I’ve been a lifelong New Mexican and grew up in Sandoval County. After graduating from Rio Rancho High School, I served over thirteen years on active duty in the enlisted and officer ranks of the Marines, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I went home to New Mexico and got a business degree and a law degree from UNM. After being called to the State Bar of New Mexico, I opened my law practice in Rio Rancho where I currently serve clients in the areas of probate, estate planning and elder law .
The county probate judge is responsible for the efficient operation of probate court, directing and training court staff to provide quality service, appointing personal representatives, conducting marriage ceremonies, and more. My education, my training and my professional experience make me a particularly qualified person for this position. As a naval officer and veteran, I gained valuable leadership experience and organizational skills that I will bring to court. As a licensed probate attorney, I have extensive training and experience in handling complex legal issues. Finally, as a successful small business owner, I know how imperative it is to provide efficient and quality customer service.
Have you ever been convicted or have any pending charges of felony, DWI or domestic violence?
Nothing in my background, criminal or otherwise, prevents me from exercising the function of probate judge.
If elected, what would be your short and long term goals?
My immediate goal is to adopt an electronic filing system. I also intend to audit and systematize the probate court workflow from start to finish with a view to improving accuracy, accountability and efficiency. My long-term goals include developing an educational program, training videos and publishing a book/manual and other educational content for court staff and the public.
How can people reach you if they have further questions?
By email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-338-1719.
What, if anything, would you change about the Sandoval County Probate Court if elected?
I will commission a complete overhaul of the Probate Court website to include up-to-date checklists, forms and other documents. Although empowered by law to officiate marriage ceremonies, the Probate Court has not offered this service for many years. If elected, I will immediately reinstate this service and begin serving as a wedding officiant.
What should the probate judge provide county residents, and how would you do it?
Above all, the probate judge must fulfill his constitutional duty. This means presenting and carrying out the duties of probate judge competently, and ensuring that court personnel have the necessary training and resources to provide high quality customer service. I’ll show up for work. I will ensure that high standards are maintained in probate court and that every member of the public is treated with dignity and respect.
How can you make Sandoval County Probate Court more efficient?
By adopting an electronic filing system, the Probate Court would immediately improve its efficiency. This will be one of my top priorities. Almost all courts in New Mexico have adopted electronic filing, with the notable exception of probate courts. I intend to bring Sandoval County Probate Court into the modern technological age.