New Mexico Lottery Thanks Senators John Arthur Smith and Jacob Candelaria with “Legislator of the Year” Recognition


ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico Lottery Authority Board has recognized two notable New Mexico Senators as “Legislator of the Year”.

The recognition represents the Lottery’s gratefulness to Senators John Arthur Smith (Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna, and Sierra counties) and Jacob Candelaria (Bernalillo county) for their contributions and efforts to maximize revenues for Legislative Lottery Scholarship students.

For the last five years, Senator John Arthur Smith has sponsored and promoted legislation with the intent to increase revenues for New Mexico students. Senator Smith shared a political will, stating: “The desire to provide greater opportunities to generate additional lottery revenue has not been as successful as I had hoped, but the Legislature will continue to look for ways to increase funds for students.”

In 2019, Senator Candelaria sponsored Senate Bill 283, a bill proposed to increase Lottery accountability and maximize revenue. Senator Candelaria played a critical role, working with students, community groups, and the Legislature to craft a compromise bill that addressed student concerns and ensured a minimum return amount for the scholarship fund. 

While the Lottery bills have not yet made it to the Governor’s desk, Senator Candelaria stated, “I will continue to educate my peers and the public about the need to generate additional scholarship dollars for students and how we can accomplish this worthy goal through legislative enactment.”

David Barden, New Mexico Lottery CEO said, “On behalf of New Mexico students and players, we want to thank Senators Smith and Candelaria for their leadership and belief that together we can raise more funds for Legislative Lottery Scholarships. Change is hard. It’s often easier to stay the course than forge a new path.”

Dr. Dan Salzwedel, the New Mexico Lottery’s Board Chairman, said, “The Lottery Board is tremendously grateful to Senators Smith and Candelaria for their efforts and the time they have dedicated for our students. We thank them for not just their legislative role, but also their educational role to help others understand how the lottery can provide more scholarship dollars for students.”

Legislative Lottery Scholarships

All profits from the sale of New Mexico Lottery games fund an in-state college tuition assistance program. Since 1996, the New Mexico Lottery has raised $818.9 million for education and more than 122,000 students have attended college on Legislative Lottery Scholarships. 

More information about Legislative Lottery Scholarships is available at   

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