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Ex-state rep, newcomer battle in District 5

Crime and assisting law enforcement’s efforts in addressing it are top issues for both candidates vying for the Republican nod to represent District 5 on the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners.

District 5 covers the East Mountains, Four Hills and part of the Northeast Heights.

Natasha Hadrych-Rosier (Click on photo to view bio and Q&A)

Natasha Hadrych-Rosier, a certified radiation therapist with health care, professional development and business management experience, said that, if elected, she hopes to pursue measures from a transparent and ethical standpoint.

“I hope these items would include supporting the re-implementation of reserve APD officers, while assisting in the recruitment of new officers through total compensation packages,” Hadrych-Rosier said in an email. “Bringing our active police force back to acceptable staffing levels would be a positive step in combating the criminal activity. This would also help improve the appeal of living in Albuquerque.”

Rep. James Smith (Click on photo to view bio and Q&A)

James E. Smith, who was appointed to the District 5 seat on the commission in March after serving four terms in the New Mexico House of Representatives, said crime is his top priority.

“I’ve met several times with Sheriff Manny Gonzales, along with his undersheriffs, captains and deputies,” Smith said in an email.

“For one thing, there is a communication problem between first responders, especially in the east mountains. I’ll be having a broadband summit this summer to bring together our first responders, broadband providers, cellular providers and others to help us cooperate to provide better coverage and more reliable service.”

Smith said he intends to support the Sheriff’s Office with the means to fight crime, which would include hiring more deputies. He said there is also an app that county officials are looking at that would help the department communicate more quickly with residents who want to report a crime or suspicious activity.

Along with crime, Hadrych-Rosier said job growth and education are top priorities. She said bringing in more job opportunities will help to provide resources to address the education and crime issues residents face.

“I also support acceptable zoning/tax incentives to make Albuquerque more appealing to larger businesses, and I believe that the commerce is moving to a more online presence. It is my hope that Albuquerque will become a major distribution center for online orders,” she said.

“I would also like to see us invest more in wind and solar energies, as well as looking to provide power to neighboring states. All of which would help to improve the economic and job growth here in Albuquerque.”

Once the area begins to see improvements in these areas, Hadrych-Rosier said, then improvements in education should follow with the right incentives.

Behavioral health is also a top priority, Smith said. He said he will visit the Metropolitan Detention Center to determine that facility’s needs.

“Numerous people have reached out to me about the homeless population, and I believe we can find ways to support them without just throwing them in jail,” he said.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Charlene Pyskoty in November’s general election. Pyskoty is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Early voting for the primary election starts May 19 and ends June 2. Primary election day is June 5.