Lawmaker has restraining order against candidate

SANTA FE (KRQE) – Algin Mendez has the background you might expect from a politician.

He’s a military veteran who moved into law enforcement and says he wants to help his community.

But if Algin Mendez’s candidacy for state representative is successful, it could make for a very awkward situation at the Roundhouse.

That’s because Mendez is likely the only candidate who has a restraining order filed against him by someone who would be his future colleague if he’s elected.

As KRQE News 13 first reported in 2011, Mendez was fired from his job as a state police officer for failing to take a report from a domestic violence victim. After that, he resigned before he could be fired from his job as a Rio Arriba Sheriff’s deputy for a string of drunken and violent incidents at the Buffalo Thunder Resort.

“That’s in the past,” Mendez said in a phone interview. “I want to move on to a positive life you know… I’m done with the negativity.”

Those past problems cropped up again this year when he was hired as a Roundhouse security guard.

That caused major problems with Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Espanola. Rodella is the wife of Rio Arriba Sheriff Tommy Rodella who forced Mendez out of his job with that department.

In court filings, Rodella claimed Mendez repeatedly threatened her and her family, as recently as October. A judge approved a temporary restraining order requiring him to stay 100 yards from Rodella and her family at all times. Mendez resigned from that security job shortly after. A hearing last week made that restraining order permanent.

But that’s not stopping Mendez from launching a campaign for state representative.

He’s running as a Democrat against incumbent Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, to represent District 46.

Mendez doesn’t think the restraining order will be an issue.

“If I were to get elected I hope that I would work with [Rodella] and see what happens from there,” Mendez said. “I don’t think it would be a problem.”

Mendez says he’s campaigning on improving public safety and veterans services.

Because no Republican is running in the heavily Democratic district, whoever wins the primary between Trujillo and Mendez will almost certainly win election in November.

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