Local businessman Paul Howell has joined the race for the District 5 seat on the Rio Rancho City Council.
Former Rio Rancho police officer Shelby Smith and incumbent Tim Crum have already announced their intention to seek the position. Howell is a registered Republican, as are Smith and Crum.
The nonpartisan municipal election will be held March 4, 2014.
District 5 is located in southern Rio Rancho. It includes Cabezon, where Howell lives, a portion of the Corrales Heights area and the neighborhoods immediately west of the Intel complex.
Howell, 51, is the owner of Turbo Threads, a custom embroidery company. He has been active with the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce and on the board of Keep Rio Rancho Beautiful. He has also served on the board of the Astante Homeowners Association for three years.
Howell earned a bachelor of science degree from Florida State University. He relocated to Rio Rancho from Florida in 2006. This is his first campaign for elected office.
“I am seeking this office because I feel a new spirit of cooperation and civic enthusiasm is needed for Rio Rancho to continue to be a city of vision,” Howell said in a news release.
He supports controlled growth that encourages cooperation between the city and businesses to raise revenues without increasing taxes.
Howell championed the cause of higher education in the city this summer. He and Don Chalmers spoke at a forum held shortly before a special election on Aug. 24 that asked voters whether they would support cutting the higher education gross receipts tax that benefits the UNM West campus in Rio Rancho. Howell argued for keeping the tax unchanged. Councilors Chuck Wilkins and Mark Scott were at the forum representing those who wanted to reduce the tax, and create a new tax to raise money for public safety equipment and staffing.
In the election, a majority of voters supported keeping the tax unchanged.