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Ex-RR mayor to run for post again

OWEN: Mayor for one full term and an interim term

OWEN: Mayor for one full term and an interim term

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Former mayor Jim Owen announced this week that he will seek election to his old job.

He joins former city councilor Mike Williams, businessman Greg Hull and emergency medical technician Morgan Braden, who have already gone public with their plans to run for mayor.

The official day for candidates to declare their intentions with the city clerk is Jan. 7. The nonpartisan municipal election will be held March 4.

Owen, Hull and Braden are Republicans, Williams is a Democrat.

Incumbent Mayor Tom Swisstack announced in September that he will not seek re-election.

Owen said the city needs a seasoned candidate with mayoral experience to do the job full time.

“The people in the field now don’t have the credentials I have,” Owen said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Owen said Rio Rancho’s primary need is economic development and he has the contacts at the state level to make that happen in the city.

“I know all the players in the development community. I don’t have to go out and explain to people who I am,” Owen said.

Owen is a U.S. Air Force veteran and former Intel site manager in Rio Rancho. He was the city’s mayor from 2002 to 2006, when Kevin Jackson defeated him. Williams stepped in as interim mayor after Jackson resigned in mid-2007. Swisstack was elected in 2008 and defeated Owen in the 2010 mayoral election.

During his stint as mayor, Owen said he helped secure federal funding to build Paseo del Volcan and did the lobbying groundwork that brought the University of New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center hospital to the city.

It was while he was mayor that the city also built the Santa Ana Star Center, which was supposed to be the anchor for the new City Center. The Star Center has lost money since it opened in 2006 and the city now budgets about $3.5 million annually on debt and operational costs to keep it running.

Since leaving office, Owen has run a printing company. He said he can have subcontractors take over daily operations so he could be mayor full time.