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Editorial: Journal recommendations in Bernalillo County races

These are the Journal’s recommendations in contested races for Bernalillo County positions in the June 7 New Mexico primary election.

Bernalillo County Commission, District 2: Robert Chavez – Democrat

Robert Chavez is in a race against two very well-known figures, but don’t let his quiet demeanor fool you. He knows Bernalillo County’s District 2 like the back of his hand and has ideas on how to improve it.

The sprawling district covers the South Valley, Barelas, Isleta Pueblo, Kirtland Air Force Base and the southwest mesa, among neighborhoods.

Chavez is a fourth-generation South Valley resident. After retiring from the Albuquerque Police Department in 2001, he went to work for Albuquerque Public Schools. He also has two small businesses. He has been active in the youth community as a Little League coach for 15 years and as a wrestling coach at Albuquerque High School.

He says he will focus on attracting jobs, working on infrastructure and making sure there is enough water to keep the rural nature of the valley and handle growth on the mesa. He says community input on development projects should be given a high priority.

The Journal endorses Robert Chavez for Bernalillo County Commission, District 2, in the Democratic primary.

Bernalillo County District Attorney: Edmund Ed Perea, Democrat

As a retired former command-level Albuquerque Police Department officer, a private practice lawyer since 2009 and a special prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District (Valencia, Cibola and Sandoval counties), Edmund Perea has broad experience in the justice system.

In his nearly 24 years at APD, Perea worked closely with the DA’s Office, other agencies, citizens and businesses. He supervised the Gang Unit and was Internal Affairs commander overseeing police misconduct and other officers. Perea also served on the Police Oversight Commission Task Force and the city’s Blue Ribbon Committee to review police use of force. He received his law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2008 and also attended the FBI Academy.

Perea’s priorities are ensuring a safe community and restoring trust to the office. He would use a team approach to address a backlog of police-involved shooting cases.

The Journal endorses Edmund Ed Perea for district attorney in the Democratic primary.

Bernalillo County Clerk: Roman Montoya, Democrat

Roman Montoya, currently deputy Bernalillo County clerk, says he has a passion for elections. He says he has made voting easier in the county and has helped to make the county a leader in elections nationwide.

Montoya has 15 years experience in elections – as deputy city clerk from 2000 until 2004, when he became city clerk in Rio Rancho. He says he was the first clerk in the state to establish voting convenience centers and that led to the Legislature approving them statewide in 2011 for non-home rule municipalities.

He joined the Bernalillo County clerk’s office in 2012 and helped establish the state’s first online campaign reporting system, initiated the state’s first webcasts of government meetings and recently implemented a voter information bar code that can be scanned to speed up transactions and shorten wait times.

The Journal’s endorses Roman Montoya for clerk in the Democratic primary.

Bernalillo County Treasurer – Nancy Marie Bearce, Democrat

The Bernalillo County Treasurer’s Office needs a steady hand as the county continues to recover from $17 million in investment losses several years ago.

Nancy Marie Bearce, a licensed insurance agent, has managed two of the state’s largest employee health insurance programs – the $400 million health care pool for the state’s Risk Management Division and Albuquerque Public Schools health care pool. She also worked as a program analyst for the Human Services Department’s Medicaid Quality Assurance Bureau and was chief operating officer for N.M. Abilities, a nonprofit that worked with people with disabilities.

Bearce agrees with the county’s new investment policies and says safety is the driving philosophy in state law for investing taxpayer monies. She says she will work with the commission and the county’s investment committee and bring in strategists to provide advice.

The other candidates in the Democratic race either are or recently have been affiliated with the Treasurer’s office.

The Journal endorses Nancy Marie Bearce for treasurer in the Democratic primary.

Bernalillo County Treasurer – Kim K. Hillard, Republican

Kim K. Hillard, a retired database and system administrator for the city of Albuquerque, says his top priority would be to restore confidence in the Treasurer’s Office. He says he would be committed to transparent government and would welcome regular outside audits.

Although Hillard says he understands why the county’s new investment policies were adopted, he thinks it adds a layer of bureaucracy, but he would abide by it. He says balance is key to the investment portfolio and some liquidity is needed in case of a sudden market plunge. He says he would hire a well-qualified investment officer.

Hillard also worked for the Albuquerque Technical Institute (now CNM) as a database programmer and held several jobs as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years.

The Journal endorses Kim K. Hillard for treasurer in the Republican primary.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.