Home News Local News Candidates for Artesia City Council face the community

Candidates for Artesia City Council face the community

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Artesia District 1 City Council incumbent Raul Rodriguez listens during a candidate forum Thursday night. He is being challenged by Delia Cortez-Collier. (Mike Smith Photo)

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ARTESIA — The citizens of Artesia had a chance to hear what those running for Artesia City Council had to say regarding issues facing the community during a candidate forum Thursday night.

Artesia District 3 City Council Candidate
Tommy Bailes addresses the crowd
during a forum Thursday night at the Ocotillo Theater. He’s challenging incumbent Kent Bratcher. (Mike Smith Photo)

It took place at the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center and was put on by the Artesia Chamber of Commerce and Pecos Valley Broadcasting.

Candidates were allowed to make opening and closing statements and they also answered some prepared questions.

Those running in District 2 led off the night as write-in candidate George Mullen and Artesia High Head Boys Basketball Coach Michael Mondragon are facing off to replace Nora Sanchez. She was appointed to fill out the remainder of Jose Luis Aguliar’s term after he passed away in 2016. Sanchez decided not to seek the seat on a permanent basis.

During his opening statement, Mullen said, he was a “community-focused individual.”

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He also stated that Artesia needed to look at programs for the youth and the elderly.

The brand new Artesia Aquatic Center was brought up to all candidates. The council approved it a few weeks ago as government and private money will be funding it.

“We need a pool in Artesia,” Mondragon said.

The candidates seeking the District 4 seat took their turn on stage. It was announced that incumbent Terry Hill wouldn’t be at the forum because he was in Lubbock getting ready for a medical procedure.

Kevin Baggerly and Kenneth Hart addressed the crowd. Both would like to unseat Hill, who is also the Mayor Pro Tem.

“Artesia is my favorite place,” Hart said. “I want to give back to this town.”

Baggerly said he graduated from Artesia High School in 1994. “I really want to be involved in the community,” he said.

Hart said he wants to see the private sector get involved in providing some community programs while Baggerly said he would like to see a dog park in the community.

“It’s desperately needed,” he said. He also wants to see the community develop a recycling program.

The candidates were also asked their motivation for running.

District 1 challenger Delia Cortez-Collier said, “We need to keep focus on our city, kids need to have recreation and our senior citizens need to keep busy.”

District 1 incumbent Raul Rodriguez said the budget and infrastructure are going to be the biggest challenges going into the future. Rodriguez added that the community also needed to take care of the youth and the elderly, too.

Finally, District 3 incumbent Kent Bratcher and Tommy Bailes spoke to the crowd.

Regarding the issue of unsightly properties, Bratcher said, “I think our ordinances are in place.”

“Sometimes we have to tear these things down (condemned property) and it’s a cost to the city,” he said.

Bailes added, “People need to start taking more pride in their place. There’s a lot of things that can be done.”

Election Day in Artesia is March 6 and early voting is going on now at City Hall.

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