Home News Local News Teacher, coach in race for Artesia’s City Council

Teacher, coach in race for Artesia’s City Council

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ARTESIA — People know Michael Mondragon as a teacher and coach in the Artesia Public Schools. After next month’s municipal election, he could also be known as the new District 2 City Councilor.

Mondragon is facing write-in candidate George Mullen. The winner will replace Nora Sanchez who was appointed to fill out the term of Jose Luis Aguilar who passed away in 2016. Sanchez decided not to seek the position.

“I moved to Artesia when I was 10 years old, I’m pretty much born and raised here,” he said.

Mondragon graduated from Artesia High School and attended Eastern New Mexico University on a scholarship.

“I decided to get into coaching and teaching from 2007 to 2010, then I went to Moriarty (High School), was there for four years,” he said.

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After that stint with the Pintos, he came back to Artesia and is the head boys basketball coach. Mondragon’s wife is from Artesia and they have two young children.

Mondragon said, “I love this community and think it’s the greatest town in the country. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Mondragon credits his APS education for getting him where he is today.

District 2 takes in the eastern portions of the community and Mondragon said he decided to run for office, “I just get tired of people always complaining.”

Mondragon said people are always willing to be critical of things, however, no one wants to do anything about it.

“They want to point fingers, and they wanna complain,” he said. “Where I’m at, I just think our community can do a better job of providing more opportunities for kids — I think we can do more to get them involved.”

Along with the youth of the community, Mondragon said Artesia could do better with the infrastructure and find ways to keep people in the community.

“You drive to Carlsbad, you drive to Roswell and you see the amount of people that are driving to Artesia to work, and we’ve got to do a better job of keeping people here,” he added.

Mondragon said his experience in the classroom and on the hardwood, and being here most of his life, gives him the experience to feel the heartbeat of the community.

“I know it’s going to be hard, it’s easier said than done and I know they’re (Artesia City Council) doing a great job bringing in the pool and I want to make sure we do a good job bringing that in,” he said.

The pool he’s talking about is the brand new Artesia Aquatic Center, which will be located on more than 10 acres just off Bowman Drive. Ground is expected to be broken in May and should be complete in 2019. The project is expected to cost $19.5 million.

Mondragon added that some of the streets in District 2 need to be taken care of along with the alleys.

“You drive up and down District 2, there are some parts that look pretty rough,” he said. “We’ve got to address some of those issues — I don’t want to run just for District 2, I want to run for all of Artesia.”

Mondragon added that whatever is good for District 2 is also good for the community as a whole.

Another issue facing his district and the community, in general, is housing.

“We’ve got to provide more housing and more benefits for people that want to come to Artesia and live here, and more opportunities for them to do that,” he said.

A recent study done by the Carlsbad Department of Development shows more housing is going to be needed in Artesia, Carlsad and all of Eddy County with oil and gas operations ramping up in the area.

Absentee voting is underway. The Artesia City Clerk’s Office said the last day to request an absentee ballot is Mar. 2. Early voting starts Feb. 14 at City Hall and Election Day is Mar. 6.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.