Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Roswell City Councilor Natasha N. Mackey has announced her candidacy for mayor, becoming the first African-American mayoral candidate in the city’s 126-year history, and also potentially the city’s first-ever female mayor.
Mackey said she wants to serve as mayor to infuse renewed hope in the community, to make Roswell safer and a more progressive community, and to move Roswell forward economically and socially. Mackey said she works well with others and will bring people together to accomplish common goals.
“I am pleased and honored to announce my candidacy for mayor of the city of Roswell,” Mackey told a crowd of about 50 people Sunday afternoon from the steps of the Chaves County Courthouse. “As a member of the Roswell City Council, it has been, and continues to be, my honor and privilege to work on the many issues confronting our community, including issues affecting such important areas as education, crime, business and recreation. As mayor, it will be my honor and privilege to continue to work to advance our community in all areas, including to promote education, reduce crime, encourage business growth and development, and promoting recreational activities for our citizens and visitors.”
City Councilor Steve Henderson, the city’s longest-serving city councilor, introduced Mackey at Sunday’s campaign announcement, an indication Mackey has at least one supporter among the 10-member City Council. Henderson, the only city councilor present at Sunday’s campaign event, said Mackey is a viable candidate and has been a great city councilor in her first four-year term.
“Councilor Mackey has lived in Roswell for the past 11 years and in New Mexico for 22 years,” Henderson said. “She has worked in the Roswell community through various activities that bring unity to the city through prayer rallies and youth events.
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“I think she’s a viable candidate and she wants to continue her community service by becoming mayor of Roswell.”
Henderson said one doesn’t have to be brash to be mayor, an apparent reference to Mayor Dennis Kintigh. Kintigh has said he is interested in serving a second four-year term as mayor, and that he will make an announcement in late September regarding his campaign intentions. Former Mayor Del Jurney and former Marine Sergio S. Gonzalez have also announced their campaigns for mayor in the March municipal elections.
“Councilor Mackey understands that you don’t have to be a bully to be mayor of Roswell,” Henderson said to some applause. “Councilor Mackey understands that you can have civility in government and provide the services for citizens and do it in a friendly, customer way. You don’t have to be brash, you don’t have to be ‘my way or the highway.’ I think Councilor Mackey has the qualities and the dedication, the background and education to be mayor of Roswell.”
Mackey, 39, is a math teacher at University High School, a business owner, a former associate pastor and currently serves her faith through Natasha N. Mackey Global Ministries. She was first elected in 2014, unseating Ward 1 City Council incumbent Dusty Huckabee, becoming the first African-American elected to the Roswell City Council.
In addition to becoming the first African-American candidate for mayor in the city’s history dating back to 1891, Mackey is one of the city’s first female mayoral candidates. The last female candidate for mayor was Judy Stubbs, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2006, when Sam LaGrone was elected.
“It is my desire to see renewed hope infused into our community as we unite and build together,” Mackey told supporters. “In line with this vision for our city, Roswell will continue to grow and support a progressive business environment, a family friendly atmosphere, and an innovative style that guides our future without foregoing our roots. As mayor, my first responsibility will be to serve as an advocate for the citizens of Roswell. Although we now face many uncertainties as a community, and will undoubtedly face uncertainties in the future, if we bind together in unity, I’m confident we will be able to overcome all challenges in moving our community forward.”
Mackey said, if elected mayor, she would serve as a “key communications interface between the city of Roswell and its citizens.” She had to decide whether to run for mayor or for re-election to her Ward 1 seat. The filing day for municipal candidates is Jan. 9. The nonpartisan elections are March 6, with early voting beginning Feb. 14. The mayor’s position and five of the 10 City Council positions are up for election next year.
“Currently, my various roles within the community allow me to be directly involved with the citizens, listening to concerns and trying to identify ways to address them,” Mackey said. “Serving as mayor will position me to be of greater service in sharing citizen concerns within city government with a goal of assuring resolution and education.
“I will serve in close partnership with the city manager and other city leaders by using my experience, skills and perspectives gained from years as a self-employed businessperson, public school educator, spiritual leader and public servant. Given this experience, my leadership as mayor will be of value to the city manager and other city officials. I will encourage and demonstrate strong collaboration between city government and all elected city officials.
“Lastly, over the years, I have amassed a demonstrated record of working cooperatively with others to accomplish tasks at hand. My ability and willingness to work well with others will bring people together to accomplish common goals in unity and cooperation. I look forward with excitement and enthusiasm to a positive campaign, reaching out to the citizens of our great community, and sharing specific plans to advance the city of Roswell.”
Well known for her singing talent, Mackey closed her campaign announcement in typical fashion, signing “God Bless America” to her group of supporters on the courthouse lawn.
“To God be the glory, so I want you to leave here today chanting, lifting God up, but I also want you to declare mayor Mackey, mayor Mackey, mayor Mackey, mayor Mackey,” she said. “God bless you and thank you for being here today.”
Mackey supporter Dan Smith said Mackey’s campaign appeal will be based on her qualifications, not identity politics.
“I just see her as being the most prepared and the most dedicated and the most qualified candidate,” Smith said. “I think this goes beyond race or whatever religion you may be or any other type of ethnic issue. To me, I look at this candidate as someone who is conscientious about the community. She wants to do things that are going to improve the city overall, with the educational system. She wants to make the city safer for the citizens that live here and for other citizens that travel here. She also always wants to expand business. I think that’s a major concept for Roswell.”
Smith, an African-American, said he doesn’t believe Mackey’s race or gender will be factors in the mayoral election.
“I don’t see it has a factor, I don’t,” he said. “We have to look beyond race. I think if you are an intelligent voter and not limit yourself to whether somebody is a male or a female, or whether they are African-American or Caucasian, look at the candidate for what they represent.
“She has a master’s degree, she’s also worked in the school system. She’s also owned businesses. So those are the kinds of things that we want, people with ties to the community that are going to make a difference. And I think that she will provide that kind of experience for the community to get behind. So I would suggest to people, let’s not let race be an issue. Let’s put that in the past.”
Virginia Garcia, involved with the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said Mackey can appeal to a wide spectrum of voters.
“I like a lot of what Natasha has to say. I think she’s a good lady, I really do. I know this lady has a plan and I think she’d be good,” Garcia said. “I think Natasha has the ability to partner up with a lot of Hispanics and Hispanic women. That’s how she won last time. So I think if the women come out and support Natasha Mackey, Natasha can do this. We’ve got to do something in this community, something that appeals to both sides, that takes all the issues into consideration and doesn’t do what they want to.”
Angela Moore said she’s ready for change at City Hall.
“I like her enthusiasm, I like what she stands for,” Moore said of Mackey. “She doesn’t mince words, and I think most of all, she’s fair and she’s humble. We need somebody in the city that’s humble and ready to listen to the people and stand up for what they believe in, while at the same time, we’ve got to end bossing and bullying and scaring people into doing what you want them to do. She’s soft-spoken, but she, at the same time, says what she means and means what she says.”
Editor Jeff Tucker can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 303, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.