It’s been nearly two years since Steven Michael Quezada’s role as DEA agent Steve Gomez on AMC’s “Breaking Bad” ended, but his real-life role working to improve his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., never stopped. In fact, it just picked up speed.
The 52-year-old actor and comedian formally announced on Tuesday that he’s running for county commissioner of Bernalillo County – where he was born and raised, NBC has confirmed. The Associated Press first reported his political plans Monday evening.
Quezada, a Democrat, faces at least three other candidates in the June 2016 primary for the commission seat in Albuquerque’s most populous county.
One of Quezada’s biggest passions is youth and education, and because of that, he has tried to improve the education system by sitting on Albuquerque’s school board since 2013.
“I want to reach out to kids that come from gangs, poverty, drugs, immigrant kids, and give them somebody to talk to,” the father of four children told NBC News. “Right now, we suspend kids who are truants. We tell them not to come to school. We need people to reach out to families and reach out to them. We need mental health professionals.”
He said he wants to work on that issue right away, because that kind of change takes time.
“Teachers have 40 kids in a classroom - how are they supposed to teach kids right from wrong or deal with gang activity? They don’t have time to do that. We need to change the atmosphere,” he said.
Adrián Pedroza, who also is seeking the commission seat, told the AP he's looking forward to a spirited campaign. Pedroza, executive director for Partnership for Community Action, an Albuquerque non-profit, has been endorsed by several Democratic elected officials for the primary.
Gomez said students are not getting the education, or attention, they deserve.
“Just recently, we had a group of 14 middle school kids at 2 a.m. robbing the neighborhood, and they ended up killing somebody … We had two kids on my side of town murder homeless people,” Quezada said. “We as a community, county, and city need to get together and see how we can get together to change that.”
Quezada said he also wants to continue moving forward with jobs and create businesses.
“I live on the Southwest mesa,” he said. “We’re struggling here. I want to continue revitalizing and improving the downtown area.”
Quezada, who never graduated from college but continues working as an actor, said he could bring unique skills to the commissioner job.
“As an artist, I look at things from a different perspective, and as a comedian as well,” he said. “I’m a listener. I don’t pretend to be smarter than anybody else," he said. Politics should include the butcher, the average guy from the hood helping to make decisions in their town. We’ve lost that.”
His primary reason for joining the race is his admiration for the town where the now ended television series "Breaking Bad" was set.
RELATED: Gomez says goodbye to ‘Breaking Bad’
“I love my town very much, and I felt that I needed to serve in areas that needed attention. In our barrio, I understand what we need to work on – our crime problem, the education system and partnering up with other non-profit entities … then roads, creating jobs, remodeling in neighborhoods that need some help. We need to build confidence in our neighborhoods and children.”
“It’s my home. I love my home,” Quezada said.