SANTA FE — City Councilor Mike Harris announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election in District 4.
Harris, who is finishing his first term on the City Council, said at an informal news conference at City Hall that he was stepping down for “entirely personal reasons.” But he also said he is moving out of District 4 and into District 2.
“I will not be a resident of District 4. You have to reside in the district, it’s that simple,” he said, later adding that he has owned a lot in District 2 for 25 years.
Harris, who turns 71 this year, said he wanted to announce his decision now so everyone knows that his seat on the council will be open, just as it was four years ago when Bill Dimas relinquished the seat to make a run for mayor instead.
Harris said he would not be interested in running against either District 2 councilor, Carol Romero-Wirth, whose term isn’t up until 2022, or Peter Ives, who told the Journal last week he hadn’t made up his mind about running for re-election.
However, Harris said he hoped to stay involved with city government in some way. He’d like to serve on the Airport Advisory Board, he said, and he’s willing to do what he can to help with the transition of the former College of Santa Fe and Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus into whatever it becomes next.
He said he’d also be happy to talk with whomever is interested in succeeding him, he said, advising them about the time commitment to serve on the council and its auxiliary committees, the type of work they can expect to take on and the issues facing District 4.
Harris was elected to his City Council seat without opposition.
Asked to cite his biggest accomplishment, Harris prefaced his response by saying it certainly wasn’t all him but he was most proud of the city’s recovery from a $15 million deficit in 2017 and efforts to straighten out finances that began during Mayor Javier Gonzales’ administration.
“We’ve gone a long ways since, getting our financial house in order,” said Harris, who has served on the Finance Committee since taking office. He also chaired the Economic Development Advisory Committee and the Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Board. Prior to joining the City Council, Harris spent a decade as a member of the city’s Planning Commission.
So far, only District 3 city councilor Chris Rivera has committed to running for re-election in November. District 1 councilor Renee Villarreal told the Journal last week she was considering a run for the Congressional District 3 seat being vacated by Ben Ray Luján and would make a decision in May.
The Local Elections Act passed last year in the state Legislature prompted Santa Fe to move its next municipal election from March 2020 to Nov. 5, 2019.