Candidates for city offices have officially declared, signs are up all over the place, mailers have already gone out, the state Legislature begins its annual session next week. It’s impossible to deny that the holiday season is officially over, and we’re back to business – and politics – as usual.
Rio Rancho will vote on March 6 to elect a mayor, three city councilors, a judge and decide whether to fund two bond questions. And, the school district is asking us to approve funding in February. Whether we like it or not, it’s time to get back in the saddle and educate ourselves about who is going to lead our city and where we want our hard-earned money to go.
Tuesday was the official day for candidates to sign up, so we now know who will be running.
Four people will be campaigning to get our votes for mayor in what looks like a most interesting race. Three of them could campaign using the term “re-elect” since they have all been mayor of our fair city at one time or another. Current mayor Gregg Hull is running again; Tom Swisstack, who was our mayor twice before is also running; as is Jim Owen, who is also a former mayor. Candidate Christopher J. Muldrow has the distinction of being the lone newcomer in the field.
We can guarantee it will be an interesting race. We don’t know anything about Muldrow yet, but he is running against three competent people who have served this city with distinction. Voters will have to study the issues, the records of the candidates, their goals and their personalities in order to cast an informed ballot. We have our work cut out for us.
The entire city will also vote to elect a municipal judge. Incumbent G. Robert Cook is opposed by Ramon W. Montoya. Again, it will be essential to educate ourselves before we vote.
Three City Council seats are up for election. In District 2, incumbent Dawnn Robinson will run against Andrea L. Padilla. Only one person, Bob Tyler, signed up in the District 3 race to fill the seat currently held by Cheryl Everett. And in District 5, incumbent Jennifer Flor will face challenger Paul Joseph Howell in the March election.
Rio Rancho voters will also be asked to approve two bond issues, one which is a continuation of an existing bond and will not increase taxes and one that will raise our taxes.
The $10 million General Obligation Bond for road improvements will not change our taxes as it keeps steady taxation for a previously approved bond. The other bond will raise $4,100,000 and will be used for capital improvements for public safety such as police cars and fire trucks. If approved, it will cause our taxes to increase.
As the election draws closer, we will have more information about these races and the bond issues, but there is no doubt the residents must learn everything they can, so their votes reflect their own visions for how they want Rio Rancho to progress.
Each time a city election rolls around, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a city that is still small enough for us to see the candidates in person, and where we can probably call and speak to them, so we can truly cast an educated vote. Take advantage of living in a small town.
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