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Sandoval County primary election 2020: Commission districts 2, 4

County Commission District 2

Democrat

Leah Ahkee Baczkiewicz 

Leah Ahkee Baczkiewicz

Residence: Rio Rancho

Past and present occupation(s): Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant Lic.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge? No

If elected, what will your top priorities be for the county?

Safety through protecting our water and environment when making budgetary decisions, continue addressing infrastructure including roads and addressing economic growth through sustainable measures.

Why should you be elected to this position?

I grew up in northern Sandoval County and currently live in Rio Rancho. I know that as a fast-growing county we need to work together in District 2 and in rural areas to assure safety, sustainability and economic growth for families who live here now and for future generations. Although I currently live in Urban Sandoval, I understand the need to address rural county issues for safety and access. My job has given me an understanding of the hardships ordinary citizens face and I will bring that understanding, and my compassion, to the office.

What should the county do to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions?

Assure that small businesses are supported during reopening by being provided adequate PPE and needed support, especially in dealing with governmental regulations.

Make sure citizens in district 2 and all of Sandoval county, including rural areas, are safe from continued spread. Increase access to testing in rural as well as continued in urban areas.

What, if anything, should the county do to prepare for possible future pandemics?

Ensure proper funding for law enforcement and emergency services. Work to create better communication among the County, State and Federal governments as well as with the Pueblos and Tribes.

What, if anything, do you believe should be done in regard to economic development in the county?

Sandoval County government needs to work with the State and local governments to provide coordinated planning and services for existing businesses as well as those looking to locate in the County. Working toward sustainability when possible is a priority. We are a fast-growing county and we need to protect water, land and air during this growth. I am committed to working toward this growth.

How will you handle the differing needs and competition for money between rural and urban areas and small communities in the county?

I believe the 5 commissioners along with city, village and indigenous entities need to work together addressing issues of safety, growth and sustainability with the understanding that all efforts impact all of Sandoval County.

 

Republican

Jay C. Block 

Jay Block

Residence: Rio Rancho

Past and present occupation(s): Retired USAF Lt Col, combconsultant

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge? No

If elected, what will your top priorities be for the county?

Safety is always my #1 priority with economic development (ED) #2 and infrastructure #3. I will continue to fund our first responders appropriately, continue our ED program we set up that has created over 200 small business jobs and continue to improve infrastructure projects as we have in my district with Meadowlark, Sara and Southern.

Why should you be elected to this position?

Over the past three years I have sponsored/supported the following initiatives:

Sponsored the first-ever ethics ordinance and citizen oversight board

Sponsored first-ever citizens advisory council for the detention center

Fought against a 15% elected pay raise and won!

Supported our 2nd Amendment rights, my opponent spoke publicly for anti-freedom red flag laws

Supported the early closure of the Placitas Vulcan Mine

Restructured Intel IRB. Since 2016, Intel has hired over 500 new employees vs the 2,000 jobs lost from 2013-16

Saved the Master Garderners program and increased 4-H funding

Fought for new roads on Meadowlark, Sara and Southern

Pushing the state to stop taxing veterans’ benefits and social security benefits

Supported green initiatives in county government saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars

Procured a new state-of-the-art burn trailer to help clear the Corrales Bosque of dry debris mitigating fire damage to private property

Funded a new senior center in Bernalillo

What should the county do to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions?

Our priority must be to protect our most vulnerable citizens including those with preexisting conditions including pueblo/tribal members. Additionally, we also need to put healthy residents back to work and open small businesses that will comply with state protocols to protect all citizens.

What, if anything, should the county do to prepare for possible future pandemics?

The county’s Emergency Operation Center is coordinating with state/tribal governments and has done an amazing job. I support the need to continue to fund this function so resources are always in place to respond to a second wave or another pandemic.

What, if anything, do you believe should be done in regard to economic development in the county?

Our county is known as a business friendly county and that is why we are the fastest growing county in the state. This Commission funded the first-ever ED program attracting/expanding small businesses to our county. This program created over 200 jobs in technology/manufacturing. We must continue to market and provide incentives for more businesses to relocate here while continuing to build PDV on the west side. Our pro-jobs policies have led to Rio Rancho being named the best place to live in NM and Corrales the safest place. Jobs equals prosperity and safety.

How will you handle the differing needs and competition for money between rural and urban areas and small communities in the county?

For the past 3.5 years this Commission has supported infrastructure and environmental issues in rural districts. We have reached out to pueblos and have provided medical resources to them during this pandemic, added more money for our libraries and for the first-time ever we have formal intergovernmental agreements that codify vital services in rural areas.

 

County Commission District 2

Democrat

Alexandria Piland 

Alexandria Piland

Residence:  Rio Rancho

Past and present occupation(s):  College Professor, Legal Assistant, Group Exercise Instructor, Wait Staff, Bar Tender.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge?  No.

If elected, what will your top priorities be for the county?

Top priorities will be a budget review, study, and overhaul to best spend the money of the people of Sandoval County.  Increasing our public safety preparedness and cooperation with local governments is necessary so that we are properly informed of the needs and concerns of all of our citizens.  Aligning the county’s focus with the laws already in place will also be a top priority.

Why should you be elected to this position? 

I am a hard worker, and I believe in serving my community.  I have experience in both the private and public sectors.  I will make research-based decisions to benefit the county while addressing the needs of my constituency.

What should the county do to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions?

First and foremost, Sandoval County needs to heed the advice of health care experts and scientists — always.  Next, the county needs to make sure that there are community services in place to avoid water and food shortages, like the one in Torreon, and to be able to adequately distribute materials like PPE.

The County needs to focus on budgeting and management.  Special consideration needs to be made to keep county employees — including the detention center employees, whole.  All county employees should be paid a living wage. We need to better communicate with the County’s mayors, Pueblos, Tribes and community and business leaders so that we move forward with inclusive and cooperative planning.

What, if anything, should the county do to prepare for possible future pandemics?

The county needs an emergency preparedness plan based on best practices to facilitate the distribution of necessary supplies.  Additionally, we need to consider increasing the county’s emergency fund to keep county employees whole in case of another pandemic.  This will require assessing how we allocate our current funding so that we are financially prepared for future events.

What, if anything, do you believe should be done in regard to economic development in the county? 

The county needs to support business development by working through its Economic Development Department in dealing directly with local businesses, local business groups, municipal leaders, and others.  Federal, State and County laws and regulations must be maintained and enforced, but the County should act as the key point of information, coordination and assistance for businesses looking to expand or locate in Sandoval County.  The County is best positioned to coordinate the various levels of governmental approval and potential financial assistance that are essential to business development.

How will you handle the differing needs and competition for money between rural and urban areas and small communities in the county? 

I don’t look at this as a competition.  There are both urban and rural areas in my district that need infrastructure improvements.  Public safety relies on cooperation among the various municipal and county agencies.  Again, we need better communication with local governments and community leaders.  There will have to be a needs-based assessment and a priorities list.

 

Republican 

David J. Heil

David J. Heil

Residence: Rio Rancho

Past and present occupation(s): Logistics Manager, Sales Manager, V.P. Sales small minority owned businesses, Retired

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge? No

If elected, what will your top priorities be for the county?

Priorities will continue to be development of our economy because a strong economy provides good jobs and the funding of public safety, social services, roads and a healthy thriving community with amenities and resources for our residents.

Why should you be elected to this position?

Commissioners operate like a company board; setting policy, establishing staffing plans, negotiating contracts, hiring employees and managing budgets, to help assure taxpayers’ funds are efficiently spent.

40 plus years of experience managing, budgeting and staffing of corporate, and minority women owned businesses uniquely qualifies to serve you as your County Commissioner. I’ve built strong relationships in our community and I’m able to leverage experience and relationships to provide solutions.

I’ve demonstrated commitment to our community; having served you as D4 Commissioner, as P&Z Commissioner Chair and Charter Committee Chair for Rio Rancho, as President of RR Kiwanis Club, Coordinator for the Mayor’s Sunday is Funday, Treasurer of the Schumann Scholarship Fund for SC residents and see more DaveHeilforSandoval.com

What should the county do to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions?

We must protect our most vulnerable citizens including those with compromised health conditions and pueblo/tribal members.

We need to put healthy residents back to work and open large and small businesses that can comply with health safeguards.

We need to revisit the priorities of County services to adapt to the post-Covid environment. This may mean increases in public safety staffing and services for seniors and health compromised citizens while reducing expenses in other areas.

What, if anything, should the county do to prepare for possible future pandemics?

Our Emergency Operation Center has done an outstanding job during the current Covid-19 situation working well with State and Federal agencies and has established a Recovery Task Force. We need to properly fund this function and assure expertise and resources are in place to respond not only to pandemics but to other emergency situations.

What, if anything, do you believe should be done in regard to economic development in the county?

Sandoval County can come out of this pandemic stronger with a more diverse economy and brighter future, with the strength of all the major Economic Development Organization partners coming together.

The COVID-19 situation is motivating companies to seek less densely populated areas to relocate. To compete with other “less dense” communities we need to be working together to support positive growth. If we don’t broaden our tax base by growing current business and attracting new business, our undesirable options will be increasing tax rates or cutting services.

How will you handle the differing needs and competition for money between rural and urban areas and small communities in the county?

As Chairman I’ve lobbied for road and environmental issues in rural districts, met with pueblos, approved social services, library funds, and Intergovernmental Agreements to assure services in rural areas. As Commissioner for D4 I’ve approved funding for roads in Rio Rancho and supported RR’s position as the largest tax contributor in the county. As your Commissioner, I’ll continue to serve all of Sandoval County.

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