Alibi V.28 No.44 • Oct 31-Nov 6, 2019 

Election News

Meet the Candidates!

Alibi Endorsees Speak Up on the Issues

Heading into Tuesday’s municipal election—early voting started nearly a couple weeks ago, on Oct. 19, and Nov. 5 is the big day—Weekly Alibi met with the candidates we’ve endorsed for City Council and for the CNM Governing Board. We had a couple of questions to ask them.

Our goal: To provide voters with substantive reasons to choose as we have. It’s clear to us that in order to maintain and further progressive governance in The Duke City, those chosen to govern must be open-minded yet steadfast in their dedication to democracy and sustainability while having a vision of the future that posits Burque as one of the best places to live in these here United States of America.

Here are the questions we asked.

1. Why are you the best fit for the job you’re running for?

2. What's the first issue you're going to tackle if elected?

Here are the answers.

City Council District 2: Isaac Benton

Isaac Benton

1. I'll build upon my record of honesty and diligent work on behalf of our district and city. That record speaks for itself—no matter who's been Mayor, or who my colleagues are on the Council, I've fought to keep moving forward an agenda of public safety, affordable housing, infrastructure modernization and our environment. I'm running against five opponents and their PAC's, who are trying to knock my record. I encourage voters to fact-check opponents' claims for themselves at bentonforabq.com/fact-check.

2. I'll continue my work on the combined challenge of behavioral health, addiction and homelessness. My priorities include constructing emergency shelters and health triage facilities in partnership with county and state governments. We must provide permanent homes for unhoused persons, with security and with behavioral health and other supportive social services at each site. We'll use the Workforce Housing Trust Fund, which I sponsored, to construct or renovate 2500 units of affordable housing. Vote in favor of our general obligation bonds!

City Council District 4: Ane Romero

Ane Romero
Eric Williams Photography

1. Families across the Northeast Heights deserve a leader who has proven herself to be committed to the issues they care most about. I have spent my entire academic and professional career in public service working on issues related to public safety, healthcare, education and economic development. Although I've never held office, I have worked for elected leaders on groundbreaking mental health policy in Congress and in the state legislature. I'm proud of my record and I am ready to bring my local, state and federal experience to the Albuquerque City Council.

2. We need to take smart, bold action now to address mental health and substance abuse. There are too few options outside of law enforcement, jail and emergency rooms. These stopgap options are expensive for taxpayers and exacerbate the trauma a person is experiencing while failing to address their underlying problem. To cope, many turn to drugs and many will face homelessness. It's even worse for veterans, who are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide. I support increased funding for APD's specialty units like Crisis Intervention Units and COAST (Crisis Outreach and Support Teams) and implementing a "no-wrong-door" policy to streamline resources and services for those entering and exiting hospitalization and incarceration.

District 6 City Council: Pat Davis

Pat Davis
Eric Williams Photography

1. Every politician thinks their ideas are great, so perhaps it's best to ask others who watch the council and see how we really work. Every single endorsing organization, including Weekly Alibi, vetted both candidates in this race and each one asked voters to keep me on the job. I want to say thanks to labor, especially city workers including AFSCME and IAFF who need champions in City Hall. I'm excited to continue organizing with Animal Protection Voters, the Sierra Club, Equality New Mexico and the Democratic Party's Adelante Progressive Caucus. And the leaders we need to work together also agree. Mayor Keller, Senator Heinrich, Representative Haaland and dozens of neighborhood leaders are asking voters to keep me on Council. I'm grateful for their friendship and support.

2. Most voters I meet don't know that we put as much into new homeless services last year as we did into policing. Eight million dollars in new housing support and $1 million in new grants targeting youth violence intervention and homelessness, just to name a few. Police should not be our only homeless tool outside of Downtown. I'm committed to providing on-call behavioral health and homeless services who can help our toughest cases for neighborhoods.

District 8 City Council: Maurreen Skowran

Maurreen Skowran
Eric Williams Photography

1. The Marine Corps taught me about leadership and fostered a desire to serve. As a Marine, I specialized in aviation support, starting in the presidential helicopter squadron. My second career, in journalism, honed my skills in research and communication. Now I work at UNM, as a data analyst focused on traffic safety. I firmly believe evidence-based solutions are needed to address underlying problems in Albuquerque.

2. Crime is at the top of mind for many community members, and reducing crime will be at the top of my to-do list. I will focus on two areas: I will increase the number of support personnel, such as police service aides, to free up officers to prevent and solve crimes. And I will propose a preventive public-health approach that works within neighborhoods where the rate of violent crime is high, with interventions that have been proven to be effective. This public-health approach has been used in more than 20 US cities, with a 73 percent reduction in shooting and killings.

CNM Governing Board District 6: Virginia Trujillo

Virginia Trujillo
Eric Williams Photography

1. My 50 years of experience in early childhood education all the way through workforce development has prepared me for this position. I have served on many boards, both locally and nationally. That experience has prepared me for my position on the CNM governing board. I truly love CNM and all it does for students, no matter what age they come to us. This truly makes a difference in people's lives and propels them to success. It helps Albuquerque and New Mexico with economic development.

2. The first issue I'm going to tackle is to work with the Governing Board to hire a new president for CNM. Our president, Dr. Kathie Winograd, is retiring. What huge shoes to fill! Dr. Winograd has done an exemplary job in propelling CNM into excellence! We must fill those shoes with someone who can build on her success while understanding our New Mexico and CNM culture!