Q&A: Bernalillo County Commission District 5 candidate Eric Olivas - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: Bernalillo County Commission District 5 candidate Eric Olivas

Eric Olivas

NAME: Eric Olivas


OCCUPATION: Landscaping and plumbing small business owner


RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Owner/operator of Olivas Enterprises LLC landscaping and plumbing with five employees; licensed mechanical contractor and journeyman plumber/pipefitter; served two years on the Albuquerque Civilian Police Oversight Board, including service as board chair; served two years as chair of the Northeast Heights Community Policing Council; Quigley Park Neighborhood Association president; Animal Humane of NM volunteer.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Sandia High School. Bachelor’s degree from UNM in chemistry and biology, summa cum laude. Master’s degree from UNM in biology.

AGE: 31

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: olivasforbernco.com

1. What is the top priority in your District and how would you address it as a county commissioner?

Crime is the biggest issue in District 5 and the county. The behavioral health crisis and the crime we see are related. In addition to the need for more police and sheriff’s deputies, we need increased crisis triage beds, shelter capacity, and substance abuse treatment.

2. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a tax increase? And what types, if any, would you support?

Current revenues are strong and no tax increase is warranted. In the future, I would only support non-regressive taxes. I generally will not support property tax increases and GRT increases as they most affect low income households.

3. What do you think should be the county’s top three capital project priorities?

1. Affordable housing and behavioral health treatment (crisis triage care, supportive housing, substance abuse treatment centers, 24/7 care coordination); 2. Water/wastewater infrastructure for areas without ie. East Mountains and South Valley; 3. Electrification of the county vehicle fleet and buildings, saving taxpayers money and lowering emissions.

4. What, if anything, do you think the county should be doing differently with regard to how it manages and uses the behavioral health tax?

The Behavioral Health Initiative was implemented seven years ago with nominal results. There’s a gap analysis (ignored by the commission) which discusses improving coordination between the city, county and state. I’d create a Behavioral Health Authority, similar to the water authority, to coordinate planning, development and operation of the BHI.

5. What kind of metrics do you think the county should monitor to determine if it is spending the behavioral health tax revenue effectively?

Metrics must be regularly reported: annual BHI appropriations, number of individuals served, number of individuals directed to permanent housing, number of individuals treated for substance abuse conditions, length of time in recovery, number of individuals treated for mental/behavioral health conditions, cost per patient, and comparisons with similar communities.

6. What role, if any, should the county commission play in advising the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office on matters related to public safety?

The commission appropriates funds for this separate but equal office of government. There must be a good working relationship and an understanding of the issues the deputies face. We can support law enforcement while ensuring accountability. The county can bring its behavioral and substance abuse resources to assist the sheriff.

7. What are your ideas for improving conditions for both employees and inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center?

Recently, we had 10 officers supervising 1,400 inmates at MDC. It’s a regular occurrence. This is unsafe for officers and inmates and puts our community at risk. We need more corrections officers and staff. As a business owner I understand recruitment and retention is correlated with pay and benefits.

8. How would you work to improve the economy in Bernalillo County?

Focus on crime! Crime is the main economic problem in the county. Businesses and residents are suffering and often leave because of crime. We need partnerships between the city and county to tackle this and we need to fix the BHI. We need to support infill projects and small businesses.

9. What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?

Follow the Gap Study the county has already done! Create a Behavioral Health Authority (see above); support a 24/7 Crisis and Provider Coordinating Center; increase incentives for development of affordable housing; partner with the city on ACS; listen to the needs of the community, hold people accountable.

10. Would you have voted to certify the county’s 2020 general election results? Why or why not?

Yes. From our secretary of state to our county clerks we have heard and seen evidence that the 2020 election was secure and in fact was one of the most professional and safe elections ever conducted. Extremists who undermine our elections system jeopardize our entire democracy and way of life.

Personal background

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?


2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?


3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.


Home » 2022 election » Q&A: Bernalillo County Commission District 5 candidate Eric Olivas

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
‘Weak mayor’ proposal sets up possible 10-member City Council
ABQnews Seeker
Councilors deferred until June 21 a ... Councilors deferred until June 21 a proposal that would reshape Albuquerque's government
FBI biker gang expert warns of more violence in ...
ABQnews Seeker
The biker gang expert's testimony came ... The biker gang expert's testimony came during a pretrial detention hearing for one of two alleged Bandidos arrested after the Red River shootings. After ...
Can rivalry games be saved? UNM, NMSU swap facility ...
ABQnews Seeker
Amid a rare offseason flare-up of ... Amid a rare offseason flare-up of rivalry drama, UNM and NMSU on Monday made progress toward getting their hoops rivalry going again.
Lawmakers, judiciary to examine how New Mexico picks judges
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico has an unusual, hybrid ... New Mexico has an unusual, hybrid system for selecting judges. A new commission is evaluating whether to recommend changes.
Body camera footage shows short foot chase before police ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police on Monday released on-body ... Albuquerque police on Monday released on-body camera footage and additional information about a May 10 shooting.
State agency extends contracts for Medicaid providers amid uncertainty ...
ABQnews Seeker
The move by the New Mexico ... The move by the New Mexico Human Services Department to extend the existing contracts through June 2024 - instead of the end of this ...
Fungal disease threatens bats in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
White nose syndrome has devastated some ... White nose syndrome has devastated some bat populations in North America. Now it’s been detected in New Mexico.
Thousands of households will have to pay more for ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Bernalillo County Solid Waste Program ... The Bernalillo County Solid Waste Program is implementing a 6% rate increase for trash and recycling for residents in the unincorporated areas of the ...
Pipeline from this surprising school produces more transfers to ...
ABQnews Seeker
This week, two new transfer announcements ... This week, two new transfer announcements in as many days amounted to (unofficially) two new Lobos in former Alabama State running back Jacory Merritt ...