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Thanks to those who serve our community

Congratulations to the winners in Rio Rancho’s election, and a “hang in there” for the candidates who have to keep on campaigning until a run-off election. We also applaud all the candidates who were willing to step up, place their names on the ballot, and decide they would work for the good of Rio Rancho. Their commitment to the city is needed just as much today as it was before the election.

The work begins now, not only for the newly elected councilors, but also for the community. In order for the governing body to represent everyone, everyone must stay involved, understand the issues, and let the mayor and councilors know what you think. The two newly elected city councilors as well as those officials yet to be decided have all promised they will listen to the community, so it is our job to talk to them.

The two finalists for mayor, Greg Hull and Mike Williams, and the finalists for the District 5 council seat, Shelby Smith and Tom Buckner, face another month of campaigning, and the voters must understand the issues so they can vote wisely.

It’s also time to bid farewell to Mayor Tom Swisstack, Councilor Patty Thomas and Councilor Tamara Gutierrez as they conclude their terms of office.

After more than two decades of representing and working for the people of Rio Rancho, Swisstack has decided to retire. He served as county commissioner, state representative and twice as mayor of our fair city. He probably does deserve a break, because he has diligently served this community for many years, but Rio Rancho will miss him. Swisstack was well known to many, many people for his accessibility and the voice he gave to our city – and because he could even sometimes be found at a dunk tank or behind the whiskers of everyone’s favorite Christmas celebrity. Through it all, Swisstack served our city faithfully and honestly. We will miss you, Tom.

Councilor Thomas also represented the people of Rio Rancho for many years, as a member of both the City Council and the Sandoval County Commission. She has been steadfast in her support of her community and its people, always fighting for the good of Rio Rancho.

She and her husband, Jack Thomas, both supported the community through their positions as elected officials but also powerfully supported the community privately through their personal actions. On a personal level, we treasure a compilation of patriotic songs they gave us once after we complained that we wished we heard as much patriotic music at the Fourth of July as we heard Christmas music in December. They will both be missed.

Although Councilor Gutierrez has not been around as many years as the other two, she has been a faithful city councilor who stood strong and fought for her city, even when it wasn’t easy. We admired her dedication and commitment to making the right decisions at the right time for Rio Rancho. We sincerely hope we haven’t seen the last of Gutierrez.

We thank each of you for your belief in the City of Rio Rancho and your commitment to its future. We only bid farewell to this phase of your service to our community. We fully expect to see you around, still doing what you do so well – fighting for Rio Rancho.

Contact the Ryans at ryan@abqjournal.com.

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