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Albuquerque’s City Council is slated for another shakeup, with two of four city councilors who would be on next year’s ballot already saying they do not plan to run for reelection.
Northeast Heights representative Trudy Jones has confirmed she will step aside next year at the end of her fourth term.
Pat Davis, meanwhile, said he will not seek a third term as councilor for an area that includes Nob Hill and the International District.
Their seats, as well as Northeast Heights-based District 4 and Downtown-centric District 2, are on the ballot in next fall’s Regular Local Election.
Brook Bassan, current councilor for District 4, said she is currently planning to run again. She is in her first term. District 2 Councilor Isaac Benton said he remains undecided. He has been on the council since 2005.
Both Jones and Davis said they are ready to make way for some new voices on the council.
“I’m old and grumpy,” the 73-year-old Jones joked last week, adding that her fourth term was already more than she intended to serve.
“Now, I’m giving people enough notice that someone – several people, I would hope – should step up and decide to run for this seat,” she said.
Davis, 44, said he intends to focus on his other pursuits. He has a cannabis consulting firm that helps clients with state licensing and compliance. He also is building a small media network as publisher of three newspapers: the Corrales Comment, the Sandoval Signpost and The Paper.
“I have a lot of other things going on,” he said. “I can leave the City Council and still have a voice from the newspaper job that I could do more work in.”
Jones, a Republican, worked previously in real estate and said she was drawn to the public service element of the council. She said her focus since winning office in 2007 has been improving public facilities in her district, and is especially proud of the investments in parks and roads.
As councilor, she has taken particular interest in land-use matters, co-sponsoring the city’s Integrated Development Ordinance – which in 2017 replaced the city’s old zoning code – and chairing the city’s Land Use, Planning & Zoning committee for the past three years.
Davis, a Democrat, is a former police officer who founded a politically progressive nonprofit before entering elected office. He worked on the city’s early solar energy initiatives and co-sponsored legislation that strengthened the city’s immigrant-friendly status, and another bill that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana years before the state legalized recreational cannabis.
Both Jones and Davis have at times rankled people in their own political party – for Jones, it has come when voting alongside Democrats on such issues as safe outdoor spaces and funding for Planned Parenthood, while Davis said he has drawn fire from progressives for what they argue are watered-down policies.
Davis said legislating requires working with people, noting that he and Jones have often found common ground, despite their different backgrounds.
Both Davis and Jones intend to serve the remainder of their terms, which run through the end of 2023. Jones said she wants to shepherd various infrastructure projects to the finish line before leaving office. Davis said he would still like to make headway on firearm policy – his 2020 proposals to require gun locks and secure storage for firearms, and to ban guns at City Hall and other city facilities both failed, but he acknowledges the current council composition makes it unlikely he will gain traction on those issues.
The council underwent a transformation earlier this year.
Four council seats turned over in January as a result of the 2021 elections, with two councilors deciding not to run again and another two incumbents losing to challengers.
The changes have been marked as the council has moved to the right and frequently reevaluated policies adopted by previous councils. That includes the city’s plastic bag ban repealed by the current council, which is also weighing whether to replace the zero-fare bus pilot program.
Davis had co-sponsored both of those bills.
“I think we’re going to be stuck for a little while in this sort of back-and-forth, in-the-dirt, in-the-ditch argument (and) rehashing these old issues for a long time,” he said. “I think the city has got to find some new voices to help move us forward. I want to give some folks an opportunity to try that and maybe somebody else will be more successful than I would be.”
By announcing his intentions now, Davis said he is giving others interested in his job a chance to research and build networks.
Jones said she will happily field questions from anyone considering a run to succeed her, adding that she appreciates those willing to join the council ranks.
“It’s a big sacrifice – and the most rewarding thing they will ever do,” she said.