Opinion: Endorsements for Election November 7 2023

Image, KALHRadio and  shares a responsibility as a media platform to allow all candidates to express why they should be considered for the offices they seek. Our role in journalism is to showcase the details of candidates and offer information then you the voter will decide. As such we have provided a series of stories highlighting the various candidates and allowing them to respond to questions for the candidates. 

We appreciate the various candidates that participated in our questions and participated in the nonpartisan League of Women Voters Community Forums. Candidates that participate and are open to dialog and responsive to media requests are transparent and vital to the election process.

Our media enterprise represents over 12,000 daily readers and listeners representing our entities of, KALHRadio and Some candidates only participated in partisan events. Partisanship in a nonpartisan election in itself speaks to what one can expect in the style of governance from those candidates. It takes courage to run for elected office and transparency is what the public expects of elected officials. Candidates are screaming for transparency yet some are not transparent with the press.

The editorial board consists of representation from each party plus a Libertarian, Independent and Decline to State affiliations. Our endorsement process was to monitor the participation in the League of Women Voters Non-Partisan Forums. We emailed a series of questions to every candidate that was registered and provided an email address to the Secretary of States office or the County Clerk when registering their candidacy. We also monitored social media and other media sources to see the consistency in their communications across a variety of constituents. What follows is our endorsements. Some we are making comment on the dialog and the debate on others its a simple endorsement for the office they seek.

Alamogordo City Commission for Districts One the candidate is unopposed and yet we support the election of Nicholas Allan Paul as the candidate for district one. As a real estate developer and landlord in Alamogordo we believe he understands some of the unique issues facing the building community and the needs for city ordinance updates to ensure affordable housing options in the future.

Alamogordo City Commission for District Three Candidates include:

  • Warren Robinson endorsed
  • James Talbert
  • Karl Paul Melton

Our editorial board has endorsed Warren L Robinson for Alamogordo City Commission District 3. Both Mr. Robinson and Mr. Talbert participated in the League of Women Voters Forum, Mr. Melton refused and only participated in partisan affairs for the non-partisan position. Mr. Robinson participated in our questions for the candidates, hosted public meet and greets, hosted a booth at the fair and at a variety of other public events. He has been transparent and open to meet the public. He is well known in Alamogordo as faith leader, a past president of the NAACP, a board member of a variety of nonprofits to include COPE and as an individual that has been all about service to the community for over well over 2 decades. We believe his resume speaks to service and that now is the time for an individual of faith and a high commitment to service to serve on the Alamogordo City Commission. 

Our board at first was divided in debate and felt that Jame Talbert offered a viable alternative to Karl Melton. His past experience on the commission was both a plus and a negative. His service as the local airport director shows an understanding of being an employee of government. His support of activities for kids around air travel is impressive and needed. The board was divided on a few comments he made. His application for grants for the airport was impressive however the dollars raised were minimal in comparison of those available for airport improvements. The fact he has served on the commission before and then resigned to serve in airport leadership did not set well with some members of the editorial board. Others argued he has had the opportunity for service before and then left that opportunity. Thus the two editorial board members that were originally swayed toward Mr. Talbert changed their vote and all 7 members of the board voted their support for Warren Robinson.

Kark Melton did not draw a single vote of support not even by the two Republican members of our editorial board. One of many concerns  was is that he is relying on endorsements led by his domestic partner and has been disingenuous in the connections to those endorsements. Of course his domestic partner is going to endorse him thus is that a real endorsement. Of course Yvette Herrell endorsed him as he does campaign finance filing with a PAC associated with her and has been paid tens of thousands of dollars via that affiliation. Thus the endorsements and failed disclosures are disingenuous and shady politics. Alamogordo needs better than that. Further Mr. Melton and his partner Mr. Block have together proven to be lightening rods of controversy and are divisive to the community much of the same vain as Couy Griffin was divisive of the community. The community needs leaders that are collaborators and can have dialog with a wide variety of individuals from all parties: Republican, Democratic, Independent, Decline to State and other. Mr. Melton has shown only extreme partisanship in his dialog with constituents. He refuses to engage with those of differing ideas to his own. He has shown himself to be hypocritical in how he lives his life and how he preaches one should live their life. Mr. Melton does not deserve a vote. He was appointed and not elected by his district. Mr. Melton has shown a lack of concern anyone not lock step to his ideas and thus does not deserve to serve the citizens of district 3. If voting vote Warren L Robinson. If you vote strictly partisan in this nonpartisan election then vote James Talbert. Either candidate would be a significant step forward from the disservice Karl Melton has brought to this community.

Alamogordo City Commission District 5 candidates include

  • Sharon McDonald endorsed
  • Al Hernandez

While both candidates have a history of service to the community and both have served for a period on the City Commission. Mrs. Sharon McDonald has proven herself to be the most public, most visible and the most hands on working member of the Alamogordo City Commission. Mr. Hernandez has served prior but was defeated the last election by Mrs. McDonald. The neighborhood that is represented in this district predates Alamogordo and is the heart of the Hispanic and African American Communities. This district is richer in history and in an effort at historic preservation then any district in city. The city has existed for 126 years and yet this district has been neglected without proper infrastructure, parks nor improvements until the election of Mrs. McDonald. Under the tenure of Mrs. McDonald the Dudley School is being reinvented into a community center that will be a center of district pride. After 125 years finally sidewalks are being installed in the old state streets through a collaboration with the city of Alamogordo and infrastructure grants from the state and the federal government under her leadership. The Sacramento Park was opened under the leadership of Mrs. McDonald and this past weekend she attended a state workshop on affordable housing and homeless mitigation. Mrs McDonald has been active in Alamogordo MainStreet and participates hands on in pulling weeds, power-washing walls and in the alley way improvement and other ongoing improvements to the New York Avenue Business District. Mrs. McDonalds neighborhood cleanup effort that she hosts each year is a model program for other districts and other cities in New Mexico. She attends almost every monthly meeting and has been a strong advocate of the many upgrades in process that will come to futrition if elected to a second term. 

While the board respectes the service of Al Hernandez he had his chance at service and his time is now passed. Mrs. McDonald has proven her ability to be hands on accessible, a quiet yet effective negotiator and one who delivers results. We recognize his years of service however we believe the most effective leader to be Sharon McDonald and she deserves the vote and support of to be re-elected.

Alamogordo School Board Member for Seats one, three and four are up for contention. The race has been filled with disparaging innuendoes and fake information from extremist groups that have a national agenda and want to make Otero County a test case. The disparaging statements and the vicious online attacks and social media assault on Judy Rabon has been especially troubling. The viciousness and malice makes one wonder why she would even want to serve. 

However, Rabon shown herself to be an individual focused on the positive and brushes off the hateful tactics. She has a 16 year history as an educator and has served as the board president through a period of significant change and a new openness. The attacks on the incumbents show a pattern from a playbook used in other cities to co-opt the school board and not for the good of the locals nor the local students. 

Alamogordo Chapter of the Nation Education Association which represents a majority of members of the staff of the Alamogordo Public Schools has endorsed the three incumbents. Each incumbent attended the non-partisan League of Womens Voters Forums and each have participated in a variety of media requests from television, radio, the Daily News and our media properties unlike a majority of those contesting their seats. 

Mrs. Teweleit is also a long term education that has shown deep care and compassion for students and deserves another term. She has been effective, accessible and is embracing the changes necessary to carry the system forward to benefit the local students.

Amanda Jewell has served a short term on the Alamogordo Public School Board but is well educated to the needs of the system. Her approach has also been transparent and open. Her video conversations with the public on social media show an outpouring of concern to ensure the public is informed of school issues beyond the traditional communication channels. Her passion to enhance the trades and vocational technical education is a fresh approach that is important to continue. 

All three incumbents have been endorsed by the Alamogordo NEA and all three incumbents were unanimously endorsed by our editorial board. Vote Judy Rabon, Board Member One, Amanda Gwynn Jewell, Board Member Three and Carol Louise Teweleit, Board Member Four.

The candidates for the office of Mayor of Cloudcroft include:

  • James Maynard
  • Gail McCoy
  • Vincent Turner
  • Pavla Trubac
  • Gerald Dustin Wiley Endorsed
  • Richard Ivan Welch

    The race for the Mayor of Cloudcroft is one of the most interesting local elections. Between the candidates there has been civility and a level of mutual respect. An odd twist happened during the election when an open community forum was wrongly usurped by two members of leadership of the now defunct local chapter leaders of the Democrats of Otero County. The two leaders, one suspended and the chairwoman demonstrated a lack of couth and a lack of respect for the citizens of Cloudcroft in their Attack on Richard Ivan Welch as reported in a prior story.

    Each of the candidates participated in community forums and 3 of the candidates responded to our questions for the candidates. We have great respect for the efforts of Mr. Welch and his advocacy for independent thought via his social media presence. His efforts to bring attention to water issues and the licensing issues of vendors in Cloudcroft show true leadership. The board has been impressed by his efforts and most agreed he should share a larger role but wish he had run from Trustee verses the mayors position. 

    James Maynard has shown himself to be a fair and impartial member of the board of trustees and an independent thinker. He has shown strong leadership as a trustee allowing all voices to be heard and voting against the foil when he believes it is in the best interest of the community. He shows solid leadership and is a very effective trustee.

    Our endorsement after much debate between the three individuals that participated in our community questions for the candidate is for Gerald Dustin Wiley for Mayor of Cloudcroft. While the board each agreed that both Mr. Maynard and Mr. Wiley were very informed and very passionate about their approach to the mayors position. The board came to the conclusion that Judge Gerald Dustin Wiley would be an effective leader for the village of Cloudcroft. As a business owner and a judge he has seen a variety of sides of Cloudcroft. His response to issues facing the village most especially the focus on the water issues is much needed and the approach to being accessible is breath of fresh air. Our editorial board wanted to lean in towards Mr. Welch as we believe he was unfairly attacked by leadership of the Democratic Party and placed on the defense needlessly. 

    We believe Mr. Maynard has been an effective leader and will continue to do do on a go forward basis as a trustee. 

    We were hoping for a response to our questions by Gail McCoy who Mr. Edwards knows and respects but failed to garner her response for consideration. However we feel she is also a very effective and fair trustee and while continuing in that role will add value to the discussions going forward. Given the depth of responses and the experience in Cloudcroft we endorse  Gerald Dustin Wiley for Mayor of Cloudcroft.

    Cloudcroft Board of Trustee position has three candidates embroiled in the race...

    • Matthew Brian Lockner
    • Timothy Edward King Endorsed
    • Tabitha Renee Foster

    While all three candidates have brought value and dialog to the debate on leadership. Timothy Edward King as a business owner appears to be the candidate that is most qualified to tackle the issue of water problems within Cloudcroft. His approach and understanding, his experience and his ability to engage with the media and with anyone willing to participate in engagement made him stand out heads and shoulders above the other candidates. His responses to our questions for the candidates were well thought out and consistent with the needs of Cloudcroft. We believe he would be a strong addition to the board of trustee and Timothy Edward King  has our boards endorsement for trustee of Cloudcroft.

    The position for Cloudcroft School Board Member at Large consiste of candidates:

    • Daniel Hughes
    • Jeffrey Grant Eigenmann
    • Cassandra Gail Saffle
    • Meredith Ann Shepherd
    • Danny Ward

    With our focus on the Alamogordo School board election in great depth we were limited in the outreach or engagement in the Cloudcroft school board race. No candidate engaged with us in answering our candidate questions. Therefore we are NOT endorsing any candidate at this time for the Cloudcroft School Member at Large candidates.

    The candidates for the Tularosa City Mayoral race include...

    • John Gregory Greene
    • Deborah Lynn Cooksey
    • Margaret Trujillo

    The mayors race in Tularosa is one of interest to us as we have covered the alleged favoritism and alleged corruption of mayor Margaret Trujillo. We have covered potential political favors within the police department tied to her leadership in past stories. We have shown stories of failed responses to IPRA's that could result in lawsuits against the village and civil liabilities that could run into the thousands of dollars under her leadership. Her lack of transparency and questionable ethics leads us to believe it is time for a significant change in Tularosa. 

    Deborah Lynn Cooksey is a business leader and one with years of community experience. While she also did not participate in our questions for the candidates we have encountered her via a variety of mediums and believe out of the 3 candidates for mayor she is the stronger of the candidates. We believe she is a leader that will bring some transparency to the Village of Tularosa and some pride back to the office of Mayor. We are hoping she will end the perceived corruption and her leadership will end the ongoing investigations into the village by state entities. We are endorsing Deborah Lynn Cooksey for Mayor of Tularosa.

    For the position of Tularosa Board of Trustee position we are endorsing Stephanie DuBois.

    • Antonia Monica Voorbach Moheit
    • Ali Husain Karim Kassam
    • Mark Garwood
    • Manuel Brusuelas
    • Stephanie DuBois Endorsed

    Mrs. Dubois has been engaged in politics in Otero County for multiple decades. Most recently she served the role of County Commission in Otero County appointed to finish out Couy Griffins term when he was vacated from office. Mrs. DuBois is a staple in local politics and has served in a variety of state leadership roles within the party system. Outside of Otero County she carries significant influence with leaders in Santa Fe and as such we believe she is a leader that Tularosa needs to clean up the questions of ethics that have existed the last year.

    The Tularosa Municipal Judge has 3 candidates vying for the role

    • Christopher Rupp Endorsed
    • Aviana Marie Garcia
    • Larry Berry

    The Tularosa Municipal Judge is an election in which candidates have to work to seek election but due to it being a judicial election individuals have to walk a fine political line. For the position of Tularosa Municipal Judge we endorse Christopher Rupp.

    Tularosa School Board Member at Large candidates include:

    • Fernando Leal Jr.
    • Julie Amber Kaydahzinne
    • Gilbert Gaston
    • John Gregory Greene
    • Francisco Jose Gomez
    • Megan Cairns
    • Tyson Satathite
    • Danny Ray Smolik
    • Erica Walters

    Due to the major focus on the Alamogordo School board race and the other area races we did not provide enough attention nor investigation into the candidates for Tularosa School Board Member at Large thus we are NOT making an endorsement at this time.

    The municipal and school board elections are the elections that most directly impact citizens as it is representation and government on the local level. Some races in the past have been won by as few as 10 votes. Participation is important in local races. The silent majority must act and vote to keep the extremist minorities of both major parties in check. The municipal and school board positions are supposed to be nonpartisan and sign a nonpartisan pledge upon election. It is time to put party aside and elect the best leader to carry the community forward. On Tuesday, take the time to vote

    Billions of people on the planet do not have the opportunity to allow their voice to be heard. Use your vote wisely.

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