Job Description: Whoever holds this post has real potential to improve the state of things in the county, as well as the potential to let things stagnate. County Commissioners help decide what to do with an approximate $100 million county budget, and makes choices on ordinances, resolutions, zoning and policies. The office also has the authority to appoint individuals to various boards and committees.
Term: Four years (maximum of two terms)
Office Currently Held By: Alan Armijo (D), running for re-election. There is no Republican challenger for the November general election, so whoever wins the Democratic primary essentially wins the seat.
If you’re looking for a trustworthy, experienced and hardworking guy to work to make things better in our county, look no further than our current County Commissioner Alan Armijo. Elected for the first time to this position in 2002 after 12 (count ’em, 12) years on the Albuquerque City Council (1989-2001), and some 30 years in public education as a teacher and coach, Armijo understands this community as well as anyone. Luckily, he’s running for re-election this year, which makes our choice for endorsement rather easy.
Armijo’s at the top of his game right now—he’s the current governmental liaison for Albuquerque Public Schools and is chairing the Water Authority for the third year in a row.
One of Armijo’s biggest platforms is water issues. As he says, he likes to think on a regional scale when it comes to things like water and air quality, not just in terms of where the county line ends. He’s already been instrumental in helping the San Juan Chama project move along, and he helped county constituents who lived outside Albuquerque to get water and sewer service without having to annex the city. He’s also been a big advocate for education and youth programs—he worked with former City Councilor Steve Gallegos (now running for the Public Regulation Commission District 4 seat) to get after-school programs in place for Albuquerque’s youth by establishing joint program partnerships with APS.
If re-elected, some of the things Armijo wants to accomplish are an increase in fire department resources by using less volunteers and more professionals with more training; getting all parts of the biking and walking trails in the city functioning; and continuing to work on flood control in the city and South Valley. We think you should give him that chance.
Loretta Naranjo Lopez is as well-intentioned and sincere as they come. She also has impressive experience with community involvement projects—from serving as the secretary of the Santa Barbara/Martineztown Neighborhood Association to sitting eight years on the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership to working 15 years as a planner in the city’s Planning Department.
She also has some good ideas—she wants county government to be more open and accountable, and would like to work on projects such as water availability, sustainable growth, collaboration with public schools, infill development and making city streets more pedestrian-friendly. Indeed, we agree with most or all of her ideals.
The one area where Naranjo Lopez is lacking is in broad governmental experience. While she talks about many general issues she finds to be important, she is unable to cite any specific examples of what she would like to accomplish in office. She says the work she would do if elected would be determined by what the residents of the county ask her to do—an admirable ambition, but one that fails to exemplify leadership.
While Naranjo Lopez is obviously sincere in her desire to make a difference in her community, she does not yet have the experience or the vision needed to match her competition.