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O’Malley, Kubiak disagree on taxes

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another in a series of stories that previews contested races in Bernalillo County.

Simon Kubiak expects to lose – and lose big – when Bernalillo County voters head to the polls next month.

Kubiak, a Republican, is running against incumbent Debbie O’Malley for a seat on the County Commission, a rematch from their 2012 contest, when O’Malley won handily.

“I have a very, very strong feeling the numbers are going to come in 60/40 (percent) with me on the losing end,” Kubiak said in a recent interview.

O’Malley, a Democrat, isn’t taking anything for granted.

“When I’m running,” she said, “I run a serious campaign. … I never assume anything.”

District 1 covers the North Valley and much of the West Side, between Paseo del Norte and Central Avenue.

Kubiak, an attorney who focuses on criminal defense and personal injury, has twice lost to Democrats in his bid to represent the district.

In past races, he raised money and knocked on doors. This time, Kubiak said, he’s not doing anything like that, and he expects O’Malley’s margin of victory to match past elections – largely because people just vote their party affiliation, he said.

O’Malley has enjoyed plenty of electoral success over the years. She served on the Albuquerque City Council for nine years before winning election to the County Commission in 2012.

That 2012 race pitted her against Kubiak, who had been appointed to the commission by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. There was a vacancy because Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Democrat who held the seat, won election to Congress.

As for this year’s campaign, O’Malley and Kubiak disagree on plenty of issues. Taxation is one of them.

O’Malley pushed successfully this year to get a tax question on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The election results won’t be binding, but the county will ask voters whether they support a tax increase to provide funding for mental-health programs.

“I think we have a lot of holes in our safety net for families and children in our community,” O’Malley said in a recent interview.

Kubiak, on the other hand, says the community is taxed enough and he won’t support a tax increase under any circumstances. Kubiak also says he would bring a fresh approach if elected. He’s a “civilian,” he said, not someone with a career in elected office.

“I would be there using the instruments of government to help the people,”Kubiak said. “I wouldn’t be there for the paycheck.”

O’Malley said her experience helps make her effective at representing the district.

“I don’t shy away from the term ‘politician,’ and I never have,” O’Malley said. “I think I understand this realm and have been effective in getting things done by working with other people.”

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