Roswell City Councilor Jason Perry has announced he will soon resign from the City Council because he and his family will be moving outside his elected ward.
Perry, who has served the constituents of Ward 4 since 2009, is required to resign from office upon moving outside his ward due to an ordinance that requires city councilors to reside within their wards.
Perry said he plans to resign in mid-January.
Perry has lived in Roswell since 2008, and he is married with seven children. He said his large family is the main reason he decided to buy a larger home in Ward 2.
“We weren’t even looking,” Perry said Monday, “when we had that really rainy week in October, my wife and I decided to go driving around Sunday because it was beautiful after all the rain, and there was an open house. I said, ‘Let’s just go look,’ and lo and behold, they were asking significantly less than the house was probably worth.”
Perry said he will still own his home on South Lea Avenue, but will lease the property to his sister, who lives in town, and a cousin that is moving into town. The new house has not been closed on yet, but should be by (Tuesday), he said.
Perry said he and his family will remain at their Lea Avenue residence until the remodeling of the home they are purchasing is finished.
“We expect to be done somewhere around the middle of January, so my official resignation will be after the City Council meeting on Jan. 11,” Perry said. “If the house gets ready before that, then I move up there before that, I resign that day. I’m ethical.
“If a councilor is going to represent a ward, they need to live there. I’ve enjoyed living in Ward 4 and loved representing the people, and have strived to keep government small, and strived to make less and less restrictions on citizens’ lives.”
Perry, 43, was appointed to City Council by former Mayor Sam LaGrone in 2009. Perry completed the term of a prior city councilor through 2010, when Perry ran for election and defeated Jonathan Rothschild, with roughly 70 percent of the votes cast. Perry ran unopposed in 2014 for a 4-year term ending March 6.
“Councilor Perry has been a tremendous asset to the City Council, to the city of Roswell, and to me personally,” said Mayor Dennis Kintigh. “I am sad to see him leave the City Council. He is very deliberative in his research on important issues. I appreciate that professionalism. I hope to see him back someday.”
Perry was the former chair of the Republican Party of Chaves County, elected in February 2015. He did not seek re-election to the post in 2017. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016.
Perry also served as mayor pro-tem for three terms, and was chairman of the City Council’s Airport Committee, the Buildings and Lands Committee and the Planning and Zoning Committee. He is currently serving as chairman of the Legal Committee.
When asked by the Daily Record Monday about his plans for future public service, Perry said, “It’s not out of the question that you may see me later, but not for this election cycle.”
Perry said he would like to be remembered by his fellow city councilors as “an authentic conservative voice who was willing to have a backbone, and make decisions that would serve our community in a way to keep our community with small government and conservative values.
“We’ve done so much through the years,” he said. Reflecting on his tenure, Perry recalled one of his greatest accomplishments.
“The sexually oriented business ordinance sticks out,” he said. “You know, I constructed that. I traveled to California, visited the largest city that did not have a sexually oriented business, worked with the attorneys here, and worked with the municipal league and others to construct an ordinance that was not unconstitutional, but would still protect the citizens and the younger folks.
“It’s not constitutional to keep them out, but it is not unconstitutional to regulate them through zoning, which is what I did.”
Perry is known for recently ushering through completion of an ordinance that allows city employees to carry firearms, his strong stance on medical marijuana, and opposing some liquor licenses proximate to churches and schools.
Perry is also known for helping implement the city’s bed fee to fund improvements to the Roswell Convention & Civic Center.
“Santa Fe allowed for these communities,” Perry said, “to charge a bed fee of up to $2.50 per night to fund the growth of a convention center, fund the workings of a convention center — the only problem with that is they required you to be a city of 75,000 or more, so what they did, those legislators that lived in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and Las Cruces helped their cities, but everyone else was not able to strengthen their convention centers to do the kind of programming that was necessary to bring more people in because they didn’t have access to the same funds.
“So all I did, it was not a tax increase, or a new tax in the state of New Mexico, it was a fee already on the books that the governor agreed with us to make this open to all communities versus your large communities.
“Our citizens are going to gain a new facility that now, I can’t promise, but now many of the conventions or many of the headliners that come through that have tried to come here in the past, they need a certain capacity. We’ve always been below the capacity anywhere from 200 to 500. Now that we’re going to take care of that with a new facility, so hopefully we will be able to market better, and we’ll be able to bring more conventions, more headliners, more events, that will then help the quality of life issues here in Roswell.”
When asked about the homeless, Perry says he does not believe that the homelessness issue will be resolved by the time he leaves the City Council.
“I think there are very strong opinions on both sides of the aisles,” he said. “I believe that regardless of where they try to put all this at, and fix this at, there’s always going to be opposition. So I’m not sure that this council is going to be able to rectify those concerns quickly.”
In regards to the tent permits that are needed for the Roswell Homeless Coalition, Perry said, “I’m not convinced a tent city will fix the problem completely. But I do believe it will help many of those who have just fallen on hard times, and just need a helping hand to get where they need to be in society.”
Perry said he is considering options for future public service.
“I had one time given some thought to run for Public Regulation Commission, but after much prayer, decided that my children were too young for me to be running back and forth to Santa Fe on that busy of a schedule,” he said. “I do believe it is a very important job — PRC — and I think we need a voice from down in this area, but I am looking at some things for the future, so we’ll see what happens.”
Perry plans to stay busy as minister of education and music at Tabernacle Baptist Church, volunteering for the Rotary club, playing piano weekly at the Senior Circle, and serving on other boards and committees.
“I look forward to seeing what a new councilor will be able to do, and I will continue to pray for our great city,” Perry said in a news release issued Monday. “May God bless Roswell, New Mexico.”
City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.