CENTER — Candidates running for the Center mayor’s position went before Center community members Thursday to answer questions about how they will perform their duties over the next four years and what their goals will be.
Candidates running for mayor include James L. Sanchez, Pedro (Tino) Segura, Anthony (Tony) Garcia, Jaime Hurtado and Delsa G. Chavez. Sanchez and Hurtado currently serve as Center town trustees. Segura is a former trustee and Garcia is a member of the Center Sanitation Board.
Once again, County Treasurer and Center resident Connie Trujillo opened the forum with questions for the candidates:
1. Why are you running for the mayor’s position?
• Segura: “The mayor makes sure the town runs smoothly. He is a leader, but not as powerful as the elected members. He sees that everything is addressed, produces a good environment, is the welcoming committee and sees that people’s needs are met. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed.”
• Sanchez: After explaining he is a former Center postmaster and school board member, Sanchez said: “I want to continue my role as a leader in the town of Center. The mayor is in charge of the board and gets public input, follows up with people. We are in the process of making decisions that will affect people. I want to have an open-door policy and will get back to them.”
• Garcia: “I’ve been here 58 years and worked for the Ford garage for 25 years. Now I am the transportation director for Center Schools. I know there are concerns, but we have to listen and get along. We need to develop tourism and address our water issues. It’s time for you guys to let us run it.”
• Chavez: “I work for Adams State University and have been here for 30 years. There are people in this town who need help. I am not sure what all a mayor does, but I am willing to learn. I can get grants, help make the town better, and get people involved.”
• Hurtado: “I am employed with the City of Monte Vista and have a background in law enforcement. You are our future. If we don’t prepare, we will face the consequences. I want to be part of the town moving forward. I know where we are headed — we have a bright future here.”
2. What are the top two things you want to see happen if you are elected mayor?
• Hurtado: “A place where kids can go to be safe. Like a recreation center and the annexation for housing opportunities.”
• Chavez: “Grants for the town and someplace where kids can go.”
• Garcia: “Getting more of the community involved and a recreation center, places to eat, a motel.”
• Sanchez: “Work on the new water rates and more transparency.”
• Segura: “Public relations and getting involved with the community. Better relations with the staff and the police department.”
3. What are your expectations for the board?
• Garcia: “Treat board members with respect, see what needs to be done.”
• Chavez: Agreed with Garcia
• Hurtado: “Understand our mission and how we can move forward together.”
• Segura: “Teamwork, teamwork and work on beautifying Center.”
• Sanchez: “Welcome new members and educate them on the way the town works. Encourage candidates to attend meetings as spectators.”
Local business owner Kim Duran asked candidates how they would involve community members and get them to attend board meetings.
• Hurtado: Get out there and talk to people. Some people can’t come but you can always call people.”
• Chavez: “Inform people about what’s going on and answer their questions.”
• Garcia: “We can ask them to come with us and encourage them to voice their opinions.”
• Sanchez: “By word-of-mouth. Let people know the town is doing good, moving forward.”
• Segura: “Provide a welcoming environment and listen to them.”
Current mayor Herman Sisneros then asked candidates if they were for or against the 2 percent sales tax increase on the ballot this election.
• Hurtado: “I’m for it — I see where our funds go. We’ve worked hard to get where we are and it will help us.”
• Chavez: “I’m for it — it’s better for the town.”
• Garcia: “When we have growth, we have to have the money.”
• Sanchez: “I’m for it. The general fund is losing money and the police department would benefit. There has been no increase since 1983.”
• Segura: “It’s a no brainer — we need it.”
Trustee Archie Gallegos then asked the mayoral candidates how they would get local students involved in the meetings.
• Garcia: “I would work with the school board members and see if people would like to help make changes.”
• “Sanchez: “I would start with government classes — let kids know-how it works at the town level.”
• Segura: “When I was here there was conflict with the school. We have to put out a positive image for these little ones.”
• Chavez: “Ask for student opinions and ideas.”
• Hurtado: “Get with the school board, come up with a plan. In Monte Vista students take notes [at meetings] for government classes.”
Addressing Segura, Trustee Adeline Sanchez said there are things the town needs to work out with the schools but reminded attendees the town does have intergovernmental agreements with the school and Sanitation Board. She also commented that the town contributed much labor to the building of the new school and contributes to the recreation program, after-school program and also supplements the school’s utilities.
Trustee Bill McClure thanked the candidates and told them those not elected were still welcome to participate in town government.