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Municipal Election Candidate Forum; Ward 2, 3, 4 candidates express future visions of Roswell

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City council candidates for seats on Ward 4 and Ward 3 share their answers to public submitted questions, with the exception of the uncontested race for Ward 2, during the candidate forum at the Pueblo Auditorium on Tuesday evening. This is the second installment in a continuation covering the City Council candidate forum from Friday’s edition. The final installment focusing on the mayoral opinions on crime and the homeless situation will appear in Sunday’s edition.

Caleb Grant, Ward 2 incumbent and mayor pro-tem, made a two-minute statement saying his passion in city governments has been infrastructure, safety and finance, which he called the pillars of local government.

“The city has a double-A bond rating that we maintained even with the drop in gross receipts tax in 2015,” Grant said. “We have also worked on correcting our city pay in comparison to other cities and tackling large needed infrastructure projects such as our water systems, streets and amenities like the new recreation and aquatic center, as well as the remodel of the convention center funded with our tourism dollars.”

Ward 4

George Peterson and Whitney Hamill were the two challengers for the Ward 4 seat and both candidates are lifelong residents of Roswell. Hamill compared the city to a plant that needs nurturing and said he does not want Roswell to die on the vine. Peterson said he is running to improve Roswell, seek accountability on spending from the council, and addressed the treatment of the first responders.

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Ward 4 candidates answered questions about duties and responsibilities of a city councilor, which issues expressed constituents in their wards, tourism, the homeless situation, and how the councilors would continue serving the community if not elected, and shared closing comments.

In the tourism question, Hamill emphasized the alien brand and Peterson offered an idea to promote ecotourism to use the Bureau of Land Management land surrounding Roswell.

Ward 3

The three challengers for Ward 3 are Richard Garcia, Tarra Morgan and Judy Stubbs. The three candidates are all registered Democrats and talked about their challenges running in this election, and past elections for Stubbs and Garcia, in the spin room at the forum.

“The decisions made by the whole council are only as good as the people we put in these positions,” Stubbs said.

Ward 3 candidates shared their opening comments and answered questions about decreasing crime, homelessness, the perception of a division of socioeconomic and political lines, the city’s biggest asset and liability, and the final question asked the candidates about their greatest setback and strategy to overcome it.

Stubbs said her setback in running has been her gender and her affiliation, which she hopes the voters can look past.

“It all stems from when we were all in high school and we have that Roswell versus Goddard, north versus south mentality, and we take it past high school — which we don’t need to do,” Morgan said about the perceived divide in the city. “As adults, we need to understand that we need to come together as a community and work together.”

The forum was live-streamed on KSVPTV.com and on Roswell Talk FM, 106.5 FM. It can be accessed through the Leadership Roswell Alumni Association and Roswell Talk FM websites.

Each of the six elections for both City Council and the mayoral office is for four-year terms. The elections are nonpartisan.

Early voting begins Feb. 14 through March 2, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Election Day is March 6 and voters can go to the following voting convenient centers: Roswell Museum and Art Center, St. Marks Lutheran Church, Chaves County Clerk’s Office, West Country Club Church of Christ, Waymaker Church and ENMU Roswell Campus Union Building.

“I say for the people to get out and vote,” Garcia said. “Vote for the person that you feel can carry out that path to make Roswell what it is supposed to be and not something we are going to put back on the shelf.”

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

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