AlamogordoTownNews.com Mayor's Race Recap, Where to Vote and Good Luck!

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With the Mayors race in the final throws of the election by the end of day on 11/2/21 Alamogordo will have elected a new mayor. The candidates Susan Payne and Nadia Sikes each ran a campaign that started sluggishly but in the final 2 weeks Ms. Payne with momentum appears to be getting the vote out and is clearly more visible of the two candidates.

Both candidates responded to the 26 questions from the AlamogordoTownNews.com staff and if hits on a page were the measure, Ms. Payne had a surge of about 27% more people reading her responses to our 26 questions than were reading Ms. Sikes response.

Ms. Sikes seems to be taking a hit from the coverage of Anthony Lucero from KALH radio and did not respond well when questioned for her stance on abortion and other support of the governor by John Block of the Pinion Post.

KALH radio personality Anthony Lucero has questioned Ms. Sike’s radio show the doctrine of politicians and use of the airwaves. Ms. Sike’s has responded to the KALH attacks by not participating in the station candidate interviews which were conducted by a more neutral Mattie Medlin.

Both candidates were offered an opportunity to host events on New York Avenue at Roadrunner Emporium in the classroom and innovation lab for free, but neither candidate took the owners up on the offer.

Both candidates were offered an equal campaign contribution if they demonstrated a willingness to come to Roadrunner Emporium and show support for the downtown merchants. Ms. Sikes never came to 928 New York Avenue.

Ms. Payne in a show of support with the Alamogordo Center of Commerce participated in Roadrunner Emporium’s Ribbon cutting last week, and as such, the owners of Roadrunner Emporium kept true to their word and contributed to the Payne campaign

In a recent straw poll of the business community by the AlamogordoTownNew.com staff, Ms. Payne has most of the support of the small business interests within the city.

The last two weeks have shown Ms. Payne meeting with a variety of constituents, out and about and most visible of the two candidates. She seems to have avoided most controversy and appears to be mending fences to build bridges of understanding with those of different backgrounds or beliefs of recent.

Though the race is non-partisan it does appear that the Republican party has done a better job than the others in driving out the vote. According to the Otero County Clerk's Office, 1,679 voters had cast absentee ballots or voted early as of Oct. 29. of those voters, 951 were registered Republican, 555 were registered Democrat and 173 were self-identified as "other."

The Voting Locations for Election Day are…

Orogrande and Cienega are both mail ballot only precincts.

Otero County Voter Convenience Voting Centers will open at 7 a.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2.

  • Sgt. Willie Estrada Memorial Civic Center, 800 East First Street in Alamogordo
  • Tays Special Events Center 2235 North Scenic Drive in Alamogordo
  • Otero County Fairgrounds 401 Fairgrounds Road in Alamogordo
  • Tularosa Public Safety Facility Courtroom 609 St. Francis Drive in Tularosa
  • Chaparral Community Center 472 Ace Ryan Street in Chaparral
  • La Luz Elementary School 99 Alamo Street in La Luz
  • Mescalero Community Center 101 Central Avenue in Mescalero
  • Cloudcroft Council Chambers 201 Burro Avenue in Cloudcroft
  • James Canyon Fire Station 2346 U.S. Highway 82 in Cloudcroft
  • Mayhill Community Center 11 Civic Centre Drive in Mayhill
  • Weed Fire Station 32 Agua Chiquita in Weed
  • Piñon Fire Station 4538 Owen Prather Highway in Piñon
  • Timberon Lodge 1 Bobcat Avenue in Timberon
  • Boles Acres Fire Station 10 Sage Avenue in Boles Acres
  • Burro Flats Fire Station 556 Laborcita Canyon Road in La Luz
  • High Rolls Fire Station 39 Old Railroad Drive in High Rolls
  • Polls close at 7 p.m.

For more information about voting in Otero County visit the Otero County Clerk's website or call 575-437-4942.

A recap of the 26 questions from Each Candidate is below for one final review of consideration before Tuesdays final voting…

Below are the 26 questions submitted to the candidates from AlamogordoTownNews.com and Susan Payne's responses...

AlamogordoTownNews.com

1. Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.


Susan Payne Response:
"Six years as a city commissioner, 2 years on the community development advisory board. Over 30 years of corporate and small business experience including an accountant for Mazda Motor of America Corporate Headquarters, Bramalea Corporation, United Way of Otero County and more recently for the past 12 years I have built a successful non-profit whose mission is to assist those less fortunate and take people from dependence to independence.

I hold a BS in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Management. I have been recognized with several awards including the Community Hero Award given by the NM Coalition to End Domestic Violence, The “Pursuing Excellence” award given by Love INC National and the Community Service Award given by ITA International.

Although often asked, I do not sit on allot of boards as I take it very seriously and I just don’t believe I can be effective and still balance my personal time. I also think that
because I operate a non profit it would inappropriate to focus too much energy on raising money for other non-profits although there are a couple that my husband and I personally support."

2. AlamogordoTownNews.com - If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed...

Susan Payne Response: "The city does not specifically have any ordinances that would fall into either of these categories. HOWEVER I was heavily involved in reworking our LEDA ordinance which focuses on job creation. In addition, I sit on the Otero County Economic Development Board and focus allot of time on Job and business creation."

3. AlamogordoTownNews.com What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off?

Susan Payne Response: "When I was first elected to office, the police union had been working without a contract for 18 months. I’m honored to have really pushed for reasonable negotiations as part of my first few months in office and extremely proud that we were able to find resolution after all those months. Allot of what I’ve pushed for over my years on the commission is really “cleaning up” and clarifying many outdated ordinances."

4. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Why are you running for office?

Susan Payne Response: "Before I ran for office I would spend each commission meeting literally watch commissioners argue with each other. Often the meetings would go on until midnight. I never believed that it was the way things should be done as it showed absolutely no decorum. Since my time on the commission things have changed drastically and, while we don’t always agree, we also don’t allow that to get in the way of doing what is best for our community. I believe I have allot to offer and running for Mayor will simply give me greater opportunity to do what I’ve been doing in terms of improving our city. I am passionate about economic growth and believe Alamogordo has allot of potential. I have allot of support and I can only attribute that to my work so far on the commission."

5. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What is your vision for the office you seek?

Susan Payne Response: "My vision is to see our city grow while still maintaining that home town feel that most citizens enjoy. The Mayor is only one vote and part of the commission as a whole. Our current Mayor was a large and visible presence before the pandemic and really helped to change the tone of city hall. I would like to continue that as I work with administration and the citizens to be a leader that our community can count on to represent our city in a positive way. Alamogordo really is the total package and as Mayor I want to ensure that the rest of the state recognizes that."

6. AlamogordoTownNews.com -When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?

Susan Payne Response: "I will demonstrate the economic growth that we will have undertaken. I will be able to show a growing work force and I will also show off the arts and cultural district that I think we all have an interest in seeing enhanced."

7. AlamogordoTownNews.com - When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district? Specifically what shops and when?

Susan Payne Response: "I am not a big shopper however I believe it was about a month or so ago. I purchased a gift certificate from Victoria's (one of my favorite downtown stores) and spent about 45 minutes speaking with Alice and her employees. I enjoy our downtown businesses and try to shop there first as the need arises."

8. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?

Susan Payne Response: "I try to stay involved in Alamogordo Main Street and actually attended a meeting last week with state and local leadership of that organization. Before the pandemic, Mainstreet and the downtown merchants association were really beginning to thrive. There was the evening art walk once a month and I, along with MANY citizens was a regular attender. I see these types of events as truly the backbone of our community. It is a great way to not just help our merchants but to bring our community together."

9. AlamogordoTownNews.com - When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program?

Susan Payne Response: "I attend them all the time. My son-in-law is a football coach (Go Tigers!) and our family loves going to support our team. In addition, my grand daughter runs track and is a varsity basketball player and we are proud and devoted grandparents. Finally, Love INC (the non profit I run) is a financial sponsor of girls basketball."

10. AlamogordoTownNews.com - When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?

Susan Payne Response: "I have been a judge for several spelling bees, again, our grand daughter is a National Honor Society and Golden Scholar inductee, I attend high school graduations and have also been involved with Junior Leadership Otero. This year my grandson is involved with the Chaparral Choir so I’m sure I will be attending concerts and finally I’m a huge supporter of STEM."

11. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center?

Susan Payne Response: "By participating I’m going to guess you mean attended? I attend most all of the Alamogordo Music theatre productions as I really enjoy musicals of any kind. I really wanted to go to the last summer series but unfortunately due to illness I missed that one. I’m looking forward to the November production of “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.”

12. AlamogordoTownNews.com -What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?

Susan Payne Response: "I’ve devoted my entire time in office to both. Alamogordo does not lack jobs but we do lack a workforce. One of my grandkids is actually a local entrepreneur and we are incredibly proud of how hard she has worked and how successful her business has been in such a short time. My high school grandchild is actually a baker and bakes beautiful cakes. My husband and I are looking at what we can do to assist her with a facility that perhaps she can rent space in when she is baking as she gets numerous requests for her cakes. Finally, after 27 years of working for a local business in town, my husband just retired and now is a small business owner himself."

13. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?

Susan Payne Response: "I would say half of the calls I receive from constituents are for code enforcement issues. This is something I take seriously as I recognize that our citizens do not want to look at unsightly properties. Having said that, I also recognize the rights of our property owners so always feel it is better to try to work with them to come to some kind of resolution. Perhaps the most notable property that the commission was finally able to demolish was the Sahara Apartments. Tinsley trailer park is finally getting cleaned up. There is a property in my district which ahs literally been a health hazard, that is finally being demolished after many years and much effort. There was a business on White Sands that I was able to get cleaned up. Many of the properties in my district we have seen drastic improvements on. I have participated in many “Keep Alamogordo Beautiful events” including painting and cleaning up balloon park."

14. AlamogordoTownNews.com -Where do you stand on the Recall of Couy Griffin and why?

Susan Payne Response: "It would highly inappropriate and incredibly unprofessional of me to comment on this issue as Couy is a fellow county commissioner and we will continue to have many occasions where we possibly have to work together. Also, it has nothing to do with my ability to be Mayor."

15. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Where do you stand on the exposed broken sewer line issues and amending the law so the city would be responsible from the sidewalk to the street?

Susan Payne Response: "This is an ordinance that has been enacted since the 90s. After much research I see no way to change this without doubling water and sewer rates which would cause an undue burden on our low income residence including those living in public housing. I’m open to viable suggestions."

16. AlamogordoTownNews.com -What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?

Susan Payne Response: "I am a member of the board of Otero County Economic Development, the chamber of commerce and I am the vice chair of Maingate United and as such I work diligently to create ways to attract new business to Alamogordo."

17. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.

Susan Payne Response: "I support all of our businesses and would never pick just 5"

18. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?

Susan Payne Response: "Absolutely. This is something Alamogordo Main Street is currently working on. I attended their latest meeting and listened to their ideas and I’m very excited to see their vision come to fruition."

19. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community?

Susan Payne Response: "Hmmm??? I haven’t specifically done outreach in this arena however, working in the field that I do, I have many occasions to work with many diverse groups of individuals. As Mayor I will continue to work with everyone for the betterment of our community."

20. AlamogordoTownNews.com - How are you funding your campaign?

Susan Payne Response: "My campaign is being funded by friends and supporters."

21. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?

Susan Payne Response: "We already have one, so yes, I suppose, I would, since I have nothing to hide."

22. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue in mid-October?

Susan Payne Response: "Possibly, if my schedule permits."

23. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?

Susan Payne Response: "This question is full of presumptions. I assure you I don’t really get a paycheck for this position but I am grateful for the medical and dental insurance that my paycheck goes toward even if its not enough to cover all of it."

24. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Would you support moving the farmers market to New York Avenue and amending city ordinances to allow weekly events and street fairs?

Susan Payne Response: Of course. At one time it was downtown however a couple of business owners were not happy about this and because of the way the ordinance was written, the event was moved to Alameda Park. One of those business owners has since closed shop but one is still there. I am personally not opposed to bringing this back before commission and actually talked about that at the Mainstreet meeting last week."

25. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?

Susan Payne Response: "I will continue to support Alamogordo Mainstreet and their efforts including the funding that they currently receive for these types of projects. Simply put, the city already has begun this process and I support efforts made to that end."

26. AlamogordoTownNews.com -What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?

Susan Payne Response: "There are lots of things about our community that excite me. The multitude of events and activities. Driving around and seeing our young people playing in our parks and green spaces. Friday night football games at tiger stadium. Early morning listening to the Tiger band practice. Enjoying a meal at a local restaurant and inevitably running into several other people I know. Working with other agencies and non-profits to assist those in need. Seeing and hearing the excitement when new businesses come to town. Maintaining our small town feel while seeing economic growth. Showing our unwavering support and pride for all things military, first responder and law enforcement related. Seeing our town come together for various parades and special events."

And the 26 questions and response from Nadia Sikes…

. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.

Nadia Sikes Response: "Bio previously provided."

2. AlamogordoTownNews.com - If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed…

Nadia Sikes Response: "Legislation/Ordinances/Initiatives personally sponsored: When I first became a Commissioner, I realized the importance of the Commission as a TEAM. It truly does not matter who drives an idea and if the ordinance passes, we are all responsible. I have initiated shortening the time in which fireworks can be set off, allowing back-yard bee keeping, providing funding for public transportation. The Commission’s work with OCEDC and providing LEDA funding has focused on jobs."

3. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off?

Nadia Sikes Response: "Proudest of my work with Code Enforcement, with improvements to our green spaces and the Bark Park, Alamogordo Mainstreet and ZIA, our public transportation, our library. Before I initiated the ordinance to require campaign reporting on the City level, there was NO reporting."

4. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Why are you running for office?

Nadia Sikes Response: "I have been a City Commissioner for ten years – enjoying every meeting, every event, and every constituent conversation. I have learned a lot about city government and believe that the last ten years has prepared me to take on more responsibility, a larger role in the City."

5. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What is your vision for the office you seek?

Nadia Sikes Response: "The Mayor of Alamogordo has the same and equal power as each of the City Commissioners. The Mayor has, in addition, the role of spokesperson, the face of the Commission. My vision: to increase constituent interaction and communication."

6. AlamogordoTownNews.com - When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?

Nadia Sikes Response: " More open conversation, more constituent input and a friendlier, easier place to do business. I truly believe we do well but there is some room for improvement."

7. AlamogordoTownNews.com - When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district? Specifically what shops and when?

Nadia Sikes Response: "I am an active participant of everything Alamogordo Mainstreet."

8. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?

Nadia Sikes Response: "By actively supporting Alamogordo Mainstreet, their Great Blocks initiative and making sure the City continues their financial support."

9. When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program?

Nadia Sikes Response: "I have no children and have never attended a High School Sporting event."

10. AlamogordoTownNews.com - When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?

Nadia Sikes Response: "I have attended the band events, the graduation ceremonies and presented many scholarships over the years. I have been a judge in the elementary school spelling contests."

11. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center?

Nadia Sikes Response: "Prior to the Covid pandemic, I attended most Flickinger events. The most recent event was the premier of the Atomic Bomb Documentary."

12. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?

Nadia Sikes Response: "I attend ribbon cuttings, shop at our retail stores, and eat at our restaurants. I make it a point to maintain a POSITIVE attitude about our businesses. I am responsible for the listing of new businesses that appear each month in the City’s Profile – the publication accompanying 13,200 water bills. Each month the new businesses and renewing businesses are listed with their phone numbers. I also enjoy promoting the businesses, new or not so new, on my radio shows."

13. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?

Nadia Sikes Response: "My efforts resulted in the demolishing of the Sahara Apartments and the cleaning up of the Tinsley Trailer Park. Sahara Apartments took years, Tinsley is still in process."

14. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Where do you stand on the Recall of Couy Griffin and why?

Nadia Sikes Response: "I find Couy Griffin’s antics/behavior to be an embarrassment to our county. My limited, personal experience with him has shown him to be a liar, a grand-stander, a chauvinist and a misguided fool."

15. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Where do you stand on the exposed broken sewer line issues and amending the law so the city would be responsible from the sidewalk to the street?

Nadia Sikes Response: "According to our City Manager, our Facilities Maintenance personnel and everything I have read, our ordinances with regard to sewer lines are similar to and mirror the ordinances of most municipalities of our size. I would be open to discussion regarding this issue."

16. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?

Nadia Sikes Response: "See item 12 - I attend ribbon cuttings, shop at our retail stores, and eat at our restaurants. I make it a point to maintain a POSITIVE attitude about our businesses. I am responsible for the listing of new businesses that appear each month in the City’s Profile – the publication accompanying 13,200 water bills. Each month the new businesses and renewing businesses are listed with their phone numbers. I also enjoy promoting the businesses, new or not so new, on my radio shows."

17. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.

Nadia Sikes Response: "NO Comment"

18. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?

Nadia Sikes Response: "Yes. I am a member of Otero Artspace, I promote arts events on my radio shows, and I attend every art event I know about. I have recently been endorsed by Equality New Mexico, highlighting my dedication and commitment to diversity."

19. What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community?

Nadia Sikes Response: "See my bio. Working with the NAACP, LULAC, Equality NM, etc., I have attended meetings, initiated presentations and workshops to build bridges and understanding."

20. AlamogordoTownNews.com - How are you funding your campaign?

Nadia Sikes Response: "My campaign is funded by me and with donations from my supporters."

21. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?

Nadia Sikes Response: "Not only do I support financial reporting, I initiated an ordinance on the City level to require campaign finance reporting. There was NONE prior to my ordinance."

22. Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue in mid-October?

Nadia Sikes Response: "It would have to be non-partisan and Covid compliant.

23. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?

Nadia Sikes Response: "My job as a Commissioner has been FULL-TIME. I spend all my time working for the betterment of our community and if anything, would support an ordinance to pay our Mayor and Commissioners more fairly."

24. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Would you support moving the farmers market to New York Avenue and amending city ordinances to allow weekly events and street fairs?

Nadia Sikes Response: "A few years ago I worked with the Farmers Market folks and actually had the Farmers Market move downtown – moving it from Alameda Park to New York Avenue. I thought it a brilliant way to promote New York Avenue and the downtown businesses. I love the downtown street fairs. The City was enthusiastic about it as well. Some of the downtown businesses did not like it and the market moved back to Alameda Park."

(AlamogordoTownNews.com comment, Who? Are those businesses even open at night and early morning? This should be revisited. As an anchor business the way the ordinance is written is what allowed this travesty to the investment happening by new business owners and those actual successful businesses on the street and needs to be revisited.)

25. AlamogordoTownNews.com - Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?

Nadia Sikes Response: "All growth is good and I would support it!"

26. AlamogordoTownNews.com - What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?

Nadia Sikes Response: "The opportunity to make us LOOK BETTER! The opportunity to make our green spaces look better, our downtown area look better, our outlooks BE better. We are truly on the threshold of more positivity and, as cheesy as it sounds, we are on the threshold of enlightenment. I want to be a part of our transition!"

On behalf of the AlamogordoTownNews.com staff and as small business owners of multiple business interests in New Mexico, California, and Mexico we believe it is important to have an informed public. We each have a responsibility to do our part in civic engagement. Tuesday vote and rather your candidate wins or looses it is important to not get complacent and to stay involved.

At AlamogordoTownNews.com we respect any individual that puts their name in the hat and undergoes the scrutiny ones goes under for the role of public office. That inspection into one’s idea, beliefs and life is never easy. Ms. Payne & Ms. Sikes congratulations on your run for mayor!

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