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Stubbs jumps in contested City Council race

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A familiar face in Roswell government, Judy Stubbs, has announced her campaign for the Ward 3 seat on the City Council, joining the race between incumbent Art Sandoval and fellow challenger Richard Garcia.

Former City Councilor Judy Stubbs meets with the Daily Record Friday to announce her fifth campaign for the City Council. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

Stubbs has 16 years experience on the Roswell City Council. If elected, this would be her fifth term on the City Council.

“I feel like I have a lot of knowledge and information bottled up in me right now,” Stubbs told the Daily Record Friday, when she announced her intention to declare her candidacy on candidate filing day on Tuesday. “So, I am excited at the thought of getting back on the council and being able to utilize my knowledge and experience.”

Stubbs mentioned her involvement with the International Law Enforcement Academy and the Youth ChalleNGe program as proud accomplishments during her four terms on the City Council from 1994 to 2006.

Helping Roswell achieve the competitive title of an All-American City and representing Dean Baldwin to be in the hangar at the Roswell International Air Center were other accomplishments Stubbs mentioned.

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“To be able to say Roswell is an All-American City, because once you are an All-American City, you are always an All-American City,” she continued, “is really something that it is a good tool for economic development, for bringing families to Roswell, and so that’s a good thing.”

Though she ran for mayor 2006, Stubbs said her talents can be best utilized on the City Council. She said she has no future intentions to run for mayor.

“This community is sick and tired of hearing this,” she said. “I was very active with the New Mexico Municipal League and the National Municipal League of Cities. I am the only person that ran the chairs of the office and became president twice of the New Mexico Municipal League, meaning I was treasurer, vice president, president-elect, immediate past president, and then I ran for treasurer again. Nobody had ever done that before and hasn’t again. The reason I mention that because it is a testament to my leadership skills and my ability to work things through.”

Stubbs also said she was chair of the Western Municipal League, which has 18 states participating in the arena.

Elected to the City Council in 2008, Stubbs ran unsuccessfully for re-election against Jeanine Corn Best in 2012.

Originally from Albuquerque, Stubbs has called Roswell home for 37 years. She received a master’s and bachelor’s degree from New Mexico Tech. She and her husband have been married for 45 years and have two sons and four grandchildren.

Professionally, she retired from a position as a regional representative with the New Mexico Economic Development Department, which she said solidified her interests in economic development and understanding of processes.

Imminent election

In regard to her political affiliation with the Democratic Party, she said, “I don’t believe I have ever made a partisan decision. It has always been about the whole community, what I was aiming to work for. Anyone that has worked with me will tell you that I am fair, I listen, I speak up, and I do my homework.”

Emphasizing the ripple effect of decisions by the City Council, Stubbs said when making her own decisions after researching that it is “very important to me to look at Roswell in the big picture, whatever it is we are dealing with on the council.”

Stubbs said the motivation to run for council has come from multiple constituents encouraging her to run again. She said she is running for their benefit.

“I’ve always said as a child I grew up with a sense of community,” she said. “It was my obligation to give back to my community whenever I could. That led me into the nonprofit world. My professional life has been spent in the nonprofit world as the executive director of many local agencies here in Roswell.”

Stubbs said she was born with a sense of community and she has volunteered, served on commissions, committees, and boards. On the City Council, she has served on the Airport and Planning on Zoning committees.

She said when she was on council she was very proud to serve on the Airport Committee and wrote and passed the resolution that renamed the airport from Roswell Industrial Air Center to Roswell International Air Center. She said she believes there is much to be done with the airport that could benefit Roswell in the future.

If elected, she said she would be interested in serving on the Finance and Legal committees.

Of her past experience, she said, “I have to say that through my work with nonprofits and volunteer positions on many boards, commissions, and committees that I have really learned my passion is public policy. I think I understand public policy, the role of a councilor, and I appreciate the process.”

For the current council, Stubbs said it seems that decisions have been made without the public’s full understanding or involvement. She said she would want to implement more listening to constituents before making decisions in order to save frustration.

On attendance and past performance, she said, “Certainly, check my record for attendance and my initiation of good projects. I can write my own resolutions and ordinances. I have been successful with quite a few.”

Budgeting focus

Another concern Stubbs voiced about the current council involves some of the city’s spending, and certain appropriations for some projects.

“I understand that the budget for the city is very lengthy and detailed,” she said. “I do believe that’s probably the most important document that the council approves every year because it sets policy for everything. Actually, that’s the only thing state statute says a council must do, is approve a budget every year. I just think that a lot of thought and ramifications need to be understood prior to approving a budget.”

Stubbs said her concern is not only for the city but mostly for the constituents dollars. She mentioned the three tax increases that were approved in one council session.

Crime philosophy

On crime, Stubbs said she has always been supportive of the police department. She said crime is an ongoing issue.

Her personal philosophy is to prevent issues in the beginning rather than dealing with the aftermath. She said she believes working with families can help this. Issues she wants to focus on and is passionate about are literacy and early childhood education.

“I have always been a fixer and I think I have a good understanding of families, children, and needs,” she said.

More community involvement with fighting crime by implementing neighborhood watches, and improving infrastructure with better lighting on the streets, is something she supports and would want to implement.

With the current staffing issue at the Roswell Police Department, she said she thinks this is a problem not specific to Roswell since the rates of members in public safety can vacillate.

She also recognized the city does offer a substantial benefits package that includes insurance and retirement.

Continuance of legacy

In the future, Stubbs said she wants to see people, living, working and shopping in downtown to give it more life. More restaurants and nightlife with after-work hour activities is something she wants to continue developing.

She said more and improved downtown tourism is something she’d like to see.

Serving on the Roswell Tourism Council, she said she identifies tourism as a clean industry because the money and taxes from the visitors improve the infrastructure of the city. She said she hopes to continue bringing people to the state to experience the museums, history, friendly people, and the landscape.

Cahoon pool

Remembering Cahoon pool, she said she hopes to develop other recreation developments and opportunities at the location.

On the new recreation center, she said she has some concerns about the funding to build it and the eventual upkeep that will happen once the center opens in the fall.

However, Stubbs said that swimming is a resource city should provide.

On medical marijuana development, Stubbs offers no support because she said it violates federal law.

Another controversial topic, she said homelessness in a difficult situation, but the city has been gracious.

With final comments and excitement for the upcoming elections, Stubbs said, “I just believe that I could be the councilor that is involved enough to really represent the interests of Ward 3 and the whole city by taking the time to research, understand, and get input before I make a decision.”

The filing day for the March 6 municipal elections is Tuesday. Five City Council seats and the mayor’s office are up for election in 2018.

Sandoval and Garcia also announced their campaigns for the Ward 3 seat this week.

Early voting begins Feb. 14. Voters have until Feb. 6 to register for the March 6 elections.

City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.