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Editorial: Journal recommendations in Bernalillo County races

Today the Journal kicks off endorsements for contested races in the June 5 primary. We’re beginning with Bernalillo County races.

Bernalillo County Commission, District 5

James Smith – Republican

James Smith
(Click on photo for Candidate Bio and Q&A)

He’s a retired teacher who represented the East Mountains and Placitas in the state House of Representatives for seven years before being appointed to an open seat on the Bernalillo County Commission earlier this year.

District 5 covers the East Mountains, Four Hills and the Northeast Heights. Smith is facing one opponent in the Republican primary, and if he prevails, he’ll face off against a Democrat in November. (Note: This has been corrected to show there is no libertarian candidate in this race)

Smith proved himself to be an effective lawmaker in the Legislature, championing common-sense education reforms. As a lawmaker, he also sponsored numerous bills dealing with transparency. Smith opposes tax increases and says his top priority as a county commissioner is addressing the crime problem. He pledges to work with the sheriff and jail personnel to determine what they need and to ensure the sheriff’s office is fully staffed and equipped. “We also need to focus on behavioral health to ensure we can curb homelessness and drug problems,” he says.

The Journal endorses James Smith for Bernalillo County Commission, District 5, in the Republican primary.

Bernalillo County Sheriff

Sylvester Stanley – Democrat

Sylvester Stanley
(Click on photo for Candidate Bio and Q&A)

Sylvester Stanley has spent more than 43 years in law enforcement, 20 of those in management positions – including stints as the police chief for the Jicarilla Apache, Isleta Pueblo and the city of Gallup. Roughly half of his career was spent with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, where he retired at the rank of captain.

He is up against two candidates in the Democratic sheriff’s primary, including incumbent Manuel Gonzales III. The winner will face Republican and retired APD officer Lou Golson in the November general election.

Stanley supports the use of onbody cameras for officers, and understands the accountability their use delivers for officers and members of the public. He has embraced cameras, outfitting his officers with them when he was Jicarilla Apache’s police chief. He says they’re invaluable in fighting off false allegations against officers and protecting an investigation.

His position differs from the current sheriff, who continues to oppose them even after nine shootings by deputies in four months last year.

Stanley says he will strengthen partnerships with residents and law enforcement agencies to tackle crime.

The Journal endorses Sylvester Stanley in the Democratic primary for sheriff.


Bernalillo County Probate Judge

Lawrence Kay – Democrat

Two attorneys are running in this countywide race; the winner will likely sail through the November general election without opposition since there are no other major party candidates running for the part-time post.

Lawrence Kay
(Click on photo for Candidate Bio and Q&A)

Lawrence Kay is a former teacher and CPA with 34 years of experience in probate law. He has used the county’s probate court extensively.

Probate courts play an important role in helping individuals settle the estate of a loved one who has passed away. Among a probate judge’s responsibilities is appointing a personal representative, the individual who has the legal authority to distribute assets, among other things. In New Mexico, probate courts do not handle complicated cases involving disputes. Those probate cases go to district court.

Kay says he will shutter the probate area of his practice if elected, and he wants to continue “the excellent service and public education” provided by the court under the current and former probate judges. Kay says he will create an instructional video spelling out the probate process and responsibilities individuals take on when they are appointed personal representative of an estate.

The Journal endorses Lawrence W. Kay in the Democratic primary for probate judge.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.



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