Alibi V.26 No.38 • Sept 21-27, 2017 

Council Watch

Council Candidates, Start Your Engines!

Citizens, find your favorite and vote!

Fourteen folks are vying for five spots at the city government table. The Albuquerque City Council has the power to implement all laws, resolutions and other legislation beneficial to the well-being of the city’s residents. The Council is made up of nine members, elected on staggered four year terms, with four or five districts up for grabs every two years. There are no term limits for City Councilors. Councilors must be at least 18 years old, be a registered voter and a resident of the district they are running in for at least 1 year. Those elected will receive a salary of $30,000 per year. This is a raise over the previous stipend of $17,000 per year. The races are said to be non-partisan, and this year there are Democrats, Republicans, Independents and a Libertarian among the fourteen. Since candidates essentially all say the same thing, voters are urged to visit candidate websites for a deeper look at each of the candidates.

District One is on the central west side of Albuquerque.

Javier R. Benavidez
Javier R. Benavidez (D) grew up on the city’s Westside. He cites his priorities as empowering neighborhoods, ensuring economic justice and adequate funding for public safety and addiction services. He supports the Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

Johnny F. Luevano Jr.
Johnny F. Luevano Jr. (I) is a retired Marine Captain who says being tough on crime is his top priority. He does not support the Healthy Workforce Ordinance. He would support another river bridge to help alleviate traffic problems.

Sandra M. Mills
Sandra M. Mills (I) says she will work to help businesses thrive by encouraging more technical training programs and by reducing the high crime rate in the city. She does not support the Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

Ken Sanchez
Ken Sanchez (D) is the incumbent. He was first elected to the council in 2005. He says public safety and job creation are two of his priorities. Sanchez said he will continue to work to get a hospital on the far southwest mesa at 118th Street and I-40. He supports a paid sick leave law if it doesn’t hurt small businesses.

District Three is on the far southwest part of the city. Two candidates are vying for this seat.

Klarissa Peña
Klarissa Peña (D) is the incumbent. Peña works for Youth Development Inc. She has been on the council since 2013. She says public safety and jobs are her priorities. She says she would like to see a sick leave ordinance that is a win-win for workers and employers.

Christopher Sedillo
Christopher Sedillo (D) is a retired Navy officer. His major concerns are public safety and crime. He says more officers on the streets is a good idea but ultimately, the quality and training of the officers is key to success on the policing front. He does not support the sick leave ordinance as written.

District Five is on the northwest side of the city. Current Councilor Dan Lewis is running for mayor so his seat is up for grabs.

Robert J. Aragon
Robert J. Aragon (R) is a former state representative. He says our city’s biggest issue is crime. To address this he would see that the police department is sufficiently funded. He is not in support of the Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

Cynthia Borrego
Cynthia Borrego (D) is a retired city planner and also says crime is the biggest problem in her district. She would increase the number of officers, support mental health programs and will work on the city’s job opportunities and river crossing traffic issues. She said workers should get sick leave but the business community needs to buy into the Healthy Workforce Ordinance for it to work.

Catherine Trujillo
Catherine Trujillo (I) is a business consultant who says her priorities are public safety and jobs. She also says Westside traffic problems need to be tackled. She said she supports paid leave for employees, but says the proposed Healthy Workforce Ordinance does not address several key issues that could impact small businesses.

District Seven takes in the mid-Heights. Two candidates want your vote.

Diane Gibson
Diane Gibson (D) is the incumbent. She was elected in 2013. Her biggest issue is crime, especially auto theft. She would like to see 1,000 officers on the beat. She said she supports giving workers paid sick leave but there are problems with the proposed Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

Eric L. Lucero
Eric L. Lucero (R) has a background in the military, insurance, private security and retail sales. He says crime is the big problem and the city needs to fund public safety first, then it can manage homelessness and mental illness. He opposes the Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

District Nine is on the far southeast end of our city.

Don Harris
Don Harris (R) is the incumbent. He was elected in 2005. Property crime is the biggest issue facing not only his district but the whole city. He wants more police and more money to pay them better. He does not support the Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

Paul Ryan McKenney
Paul Ryan McKenney (L) says he is a military veteran and public safety is his biggest priority. He says the city needs to change its image to recruit more and better officers. He opposes the Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

Byron K. Powdrell
Byron K. Powdrell (D) is a businessman who said the city needs more police presence, zoning enforcement and more behavioral health services to address the crime problem in the entire city. He says the Healthy Workforce Ordinance looks good but people need to understand how it will impact small businesses.