Voters’ Guide

Bernalillo County

Seal of Bernalillo County

Candidates for Bernalillo County Offices

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL STATE, DISTRICT AND COUNTY CANDIDATES: A candidate must be a registered voter in New Mexico affiliated with the political party for which he/she is seeking office. A candidate for district office must reside in the district of voter registration. Additional requirements for each office are given on the following pages.



Candidates for
Metropolitan Court Judges - Partisan

Four-year term. Must be at least eighteen years old and a member of the New Mexico Bar engaged in actual practice in the state for three years. The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court is part of the statewide Magistrate Court System and is state funded.

Judicial vacancies in New Mexico are filled through gubernatorial appointment from a slate of potential nominees submitted by a judicial nominating committee. The newly-appointed judge must then run in a contested, partisan election at the next general election. Thereafter, the judge runs in nonpartisan retention elections. To be retained, a judge must receive at least 57% in affirmative votes cast in the retention election.

This court has jurisdiction over civil actions under $10,000, felony first appearances, misdemeanors, misdemeanor DWI/DUI and misdemeanor domestic violence and other traffic violations. Yearly salary: $106,050.

Metro Court, Division 2

Chris J. Schultz

Chris J. Schultz

Republican

What attributes and experience would you bring to your service as a Judge of the Metropolitan Court? (75 words?)

My entire 31 year career has been in public service dedicated to the application of our criminal laws. I have been an Albuquerque Police Officer, a Bernalillo County Deputy District Attorney, and am now your Metropolitan Court Judge. I apply this vast experience every day in my Courtroom to ensure that the public is protected and that everyone who appears before me is treated with fairness, dignity, and courtesy.

What ethical practices are critical to keep the judiciary independent? (75 words)

The current rule prohibiting judges from endorsing any candidate for any office, or from contributing to their campaigns, is very effective and appropriate in ensuring that the judiciary remains independent.

What programs or changes would you support to speed up the processing of cases, including DWI and domestic violence, to ensure more cases are heard on their merits and not dismissed before trial? (75 words)

No case has been dismissed by me in my Courtroom because it was not set for trial before its initial deadline passed. My Courtroom is run efficiently. The overwhelming majority of cases that are dismissed occur because the victim, or other essential witnesses, fails to appear at trial or to cooperate with the prosecutor. Any changes that might be implemented to address this are beyond my authority to order or enact.

Christine Eve Rodriguez

Christine Eve Rodriguez

Democrat

What attributes and experience would you bring to your service as a Judge of the Metropolitan Court? (75 words?)

As a former prosecutor in Metropolitan Court, I understand that Metro is New Mexico’s busiest court; thus, it is imperative that I run an efficient and expedient courtroom. As a felony prosecutor, I amassed extensive trial experience and became proficient with the Rules of Criminal Procedure. This, in addition to my contract and real estate law experience, makes me well-rounded and allows me to sit on the bench with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.

What ethical practices are critical to keep the judiciary independent? (75 words)

It is imperative that a judge maintains a professional and neutral demeanor. A judge should never engage in ex-parte communications nor should they use their public office as a means of advancing their private interests. Although a judge is required to run for election/retention, it is crucial that politics is kept out of the courtroom. All cases are to be judged on their merits and never should emotion or outside influences effect a judge’s decision-making.

What programs or changes would you support to speed up the processing of cases, including DWI and domestic violence, to ensure more cases are heard on their merits and not dismissed before trial? (75 words)

I support programs for law enforcement that offer extensive and detailed educational training on the following: search and seizure law, proper drafting of criminal complaints, and testifying in court. Additionally, a more thorough case-screening process at the District Attorney’s Office would be beneficial, allowing prosecutors to focus on the more serious and violent cases, specifically, those involving repeat offenders. Moreover, this would help ensure alleged victims/witnesses are subpoenaed in a timely manner for court proceedings.



Metro Court, Division 3

Renee Torres

Democrat

Unopposed



Candidates for
Bernalillo County Commission

Four-year term. Must be at least 18 years old and must be a resident of the district from which elected. The person in this office, together with other members of the County Commission, represents the County and its interests in all cases not otherwise provided for by law, and appoints elections officials to fill vacancies. The commission is responsible for County government budget, County ordinances and resolutions, and zoning and business regulation in unincorporated areas, and sets policy for the operations of County government. Salary: Approximately $29,569 annually.

District 2

Patricia B. Paiz

Patricia B. Paiz

Republican

1. What qualifies you to be a County Commissioner? (75 words)

Twenty years’ experience in the public sector as a police officer during which I gained an understanding of how government entities operate. While a police officer, I was also a board member for Albuquerque Metropolitan Crime Stoppers. I gained experience of the function of a board, budgeting, and planning. I organized the Crime Stoppers International Convention in Albuquerque in 2006. I have 33 years of business experience in private sector, construction and real estate.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities for your district and the county? What specific actions will you take to address them? (75 words)

Getting control of the county’s budget and bringing jobs, businesses, services to District 2. Reviewing all budget areas and eliminating wasteful spending. Comparing our performance to peer governments/government operating organizations like NACO. Explore consolidation of some departments. Partnering with District 2 businesses on a program to hire residents of the district. Use discretionary funds to create jobs in my district.

3. How would you balance the demands for economic development and growth with concern for the environment and our limited resources? (75 words)

Eliminate sprawl development. Enforce zoning requirements, and adhere to current green building codes when possible. Seek out businesses and developments that fit the character of the district and individual communities. Streamline the building and zoning process and insure that both the citizens and those building and developing are treated fairly and with respect.

4. How would you manage development to ensure that adequate infrastructure and services are available? Address specifically the SW Mesa. (75 words)

Planned, smart growth with the consideration of public input, as well as the application of zoning codes. I would favor projects that meet the needs of the residents. My appointee to the CPC would have to adhere to the above. Address the needs of Pajarito Mesa within limited resources.

Steven Michael Quezada

Steven Michael Quezada

Democrat

1. What qualifies you to be a County Commissioner? (75 words)

From teaching young people at YDI, to giving back to the community through APS, and so many other wonderful organizations, I’ve seen the struggles facing District 2. With my experience and passion I can lead our community forward. I’ve served as an APS Board Member for four years, been member of the Route 66 West Neighborhood Association for two years, a delegate for the Democratic Party, and active in our community over ten years.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities for your district and the county? What specific actions will you take to address them? (75 words)

Ensuring the Behavioral Health Tax is implemented as intended. A triage center offers treatment instead of jail time. Addressing this piece will be crucial in solving the problems that affect education, public safety, street crimes and drugs. Creating jobs and opportunity for our community. I am product of our community, I want everyone to have the same experience I had, I know we can achieve this through partnerships within our community.

3. How would you balance the demands for economic development and growth with concern for the environment and our limited resources? (75 words)

I am grounded in this community, a district that I grew up in and currently reside in. The Southwest Mesa if done correctly and with accountability can be a job creator for our community, while we protect the open space and farming of the South Valley. I will continue to fight for open space and for our farmers while also fighting for much needed jobs for our community.

4. How would you manage development to ensure that adequate infrastructure and services are available? Address specifically the SW Mesa. (75 words)

We can never let another Pajarito Mesa happen in our community again. We have to find the right balance, I will wake up everyday working to bring much needed jobs to our community, while holding those accountable throughout development process to ensure we get our fair share of amenities and infrastructure. I believe we should prioritize revitalizing the Route 66 corridor.



District 3

Maggie Hart Stebbins

Democrat

Unopposed


District 4

Lonnie C. Talbert

Republican

Unopposed



Candidates for
Bernalillo County Clerk

Four-year term. Must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the county from which elected. The Clerk is the ex-officio recorder of Bernalillo County and may legally record any document that is certified. The office also issues marriage and occupational licenses. The County Clerk’s Bureau of Elections administers all elections in the county. Salary: Approximately $65,400

Maryellen Ortego-Saenz

Mareyellen Ortega-Saenz

Republican

1. What qualifies you to be a County Clerk? (65 words)

Forty years of administrative experience working 20 years in the medical profession for physicians, UNM and the Veterans Hospital. I had a woman owned business that provided security services for SNL. I oversaw the management of the company. We started with 13 employees that grew to 125 employees. We worked 3 shifts 7 days a week. In 2006 I acquired my real estate license.

2. What changes or actions, if any, would you recommend to improve public access to county public information and records? (65 words)

I have used the Filing and Recording Office myself many times and found it to be user friendly for the residents of Bernalillo County. If I were elected County Clerk I would ensure transparency and availability of records. Title Companies in Albuquerque as well as others have special needs and meeting with representatives will determine their needs and changes, if any, recommended would be considered.

3. What specific actions would you take to ensure that voter registration is efficient and accurate and that the voter rolls are current and correct? (65 words)

Encourage NM voters to register on-line through the SOS Office. Ensure the mandate from the SOS in regard to the purging of voter rolls is followed. Names are turned over to the County Clerk then to the Voter Registration Commission, to get a final decision on names to be purged. I will ensure we are prepared to modernize the NM election process.

4. What will you do to ensure that all eligible voters can vote without undue obstruction, hardship and expense? (65 words)

I believe we need more education on the amendments and resolutions that voters vote on. Amendments and resolutions written by attorneys are often difficult for all voters to understand. The legislature should continue election law reform to increase voter turnout and look at combining elections in order to save money and increase voter turnout.

Linda Stover

Linda Stover

Democrat

1. What qualifies you to be a County Clerk? (65 words)

During my adult life I have been involved in promoting voter rights. I’ve worked with previous County Clerks as a Presiding Judge at polling places overseeing absentee voting; and as an “expert witness” in court concerning election problems. Also 30 plus years working with the Clerk’s offices in New Mexico researching, implementing and recording real estate transactions. I understand the importance of proper record keeping.

2. What changes or actions, if any, would you recommend to improve public access to county public information and records? (65 words)

I believe in total transparency. All Public Records Request should be answered in a timely manner. The public should be able to access their voting information through the Clerk’s web page including their registration status, voting record and polling places. They should be able to easily see who their elected officials are.

3. What specific actions would you take to ensure that voter registration is efficient and accurate and that the voter rolls are current and correct? (65 words)

Proper and continuous training of voter registrars, cross checking new applications for duplicate registration information, continuous monitoring, plus an open line of communication with the Secretary of State’s office.

4. What will you do to ensure that all eligible voters can vote without undue obstruction, hardship and expense? (65 words)

Put voting convenience centers as close to heavily populated areas as possible. Using television, radio and recorded calls to inform the public where and when they are able to vote.




Candidates for
Bernalillo County Treasurer

Four-year term. Must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the county from which elected. The Treasurer is responsible for collecting property taxes in Bernalillo County and for the supervision and investment of funds. The Treasurer’s office collects and distributes property taxes to different government agencies, including the City of Albuquerque. Salary: $65,400

Kim H. Hillard

Kim H. Hillard

Republican

1. What qualifies you to be a County Treasurer? (65 words)

The position of County Treasurer is that of director, manager and overseer of County funds and providing vision for the investment strategies. My background has been in the data management arena as well as resource management, short and long term planning, and personnel managemnt. I feel that I bring the needed skills to run an effective office.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities? What specific actions will you take to address them? (65 words)

One priority is to insure that the investment strategies include a balanced investment portfolio and the hiring of a well-qualified investment officer. The second priority is to restore confidence in the Treasurer’s office. The employees of the office deserve this. The taxpayers deserve this. I would arrange for outside audits and insure that liquidity is planned for in the event of an economic bubble burst.

3. Are improvements needed at the County Treasurer's office? If so, how would you address these needs if elected Treasurer? (65 words)

Outside audits and frequent reviews of investment strategies would be my goal. The audits of past years that were negative must be reviewed and changes implemented. This must be done to restore confidence in the office.

4. What should be the relationship between the County Treasurer and County Commission with regard to investment strategies and operating funds? (65 words)

Because of the loss of confidence, the County Commission and the Treasurer must agree on the hiring of the Investment Officer, which brokers can do business with the County, and how much cash must be retained. I would abide by this. Once confidence is restored, these policies should be reviewed.

Nancy Marie Bearce

Nancy Marie Bearce

Democrat

1. What qualifies you to be a County Treasurer? (65 words)

Proven leadership administering two of NM’s largest public insurance funds for Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and State employees. Financially responsible for annual budgets over $400,000,000 and overseeing large department staff; leveraged purchasing power for best pricing for the best possible deal for the people of New Mexico. All programs were transparent, honest, and accountable to stakeholders and officials, always passing annual audits for financial accountability.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities? What specific actions will you take to address them? (65 words)

First is sound fiscal management by reviewing all changed procedures, policies and recent internal audit ensuring all provide transparency, accountability and follow investment guidelines. Second is better customer service to include the best use of technology for online services, website content, department software and building relationships with outreach to the public, Bernalillo County Commission and County Board of Finance.

3. Are improvements needed at the County Treasurer's office? If so, how would you address these needs if elected Treasurer? (65 words)

Many changes have occurred in the office. Those changes in policies and procedures need to be reviewed with fresh eyes for efficiency, address reported deficiencies and re-establish public confidence. Invigorate the employee morale for a positive work environment. Provide regular updates and successes to taxpayers with outreach, public education, social media and professional groups.

4. What should be the relationship between the County Treasurer and County Commission with regard to investment strategies and operating funds? (65 words)

While financial/banking management is the focus of the County Treasurer under State law, the Commission and elected officials share in the accountability of the County. By working together as public servants, I believe in professional and collegial interaction to meet the County’s needs. Both investment strategies and operating funds should have open and transparent processes to provide full accountability required for good decision making.




Candidates for
Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority
(AMAFCA)

Board Directors are elected on staggered six-year terms. AMAFCA is the local governmental agency responsible for planning, construction and maintenance of the major flood control facilities in the greater Albuquerque area. A five-member Board of Directors, elected from five districts, governs AMAFCA. District 5 is up for election. The board is charged with establishing policy for drainage regulation and is charged with implementing AMAFCA’s capital improvement program. The board approves cost-share agreements and joint use projects with the city, the county, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and private parties. No salary, but directors may choose to accept a per diem of $95 a day when conducting AMAFCA business.

District 5


Bruce M. Thomson

Democrat

Unopposed