ARTESIA — Allen Kent Bratcher is seeking another term on the Artesia City Council.
He is opposed by Tommy Bailes in District 3. Bratcher grew up in Artesia and moved to east Texas, where he met his wife and has been back for 30 years.
“Been married almost 33 years, have two grown children and one grandchild,” he said.
Bratcher’s family roots run deep as his parents owned the former Ruth’s Restaurant on West Main Street. It was a popular establishment for decades.
He graduated from Artesia High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University. While living in the Lone Star State, Bratcher said he got interested in firefighting and that brought him back to Artesia.
He served with the Artesia Fire Department for 17 years, “and left as the Fire Marshal there and got on with Holly Energy Partners and now with Navajo Refining and I’m the Fire Chief at the plant.”
Bratcher has served two terms on the City Council. He said the previous two times he didn’t have opposition.
“I want to run to kind of finish some of the things that we started,” he said.
He said the council has started some water and infrastructure issues, “out on 26th Street we have a new subdivision, we have residents moving in, we have a new street and there you have some water issues.”
Bratcher said the council has given the green light for a new water tower at Jaycee Park, which is on the west side of the community. He said that should help the new residents with water pressure.
“Our infrastructure is old in the city and we need to continue to update that,” Bratcher said. “Some of it is probably as old as I am, we addressed a lot of that with 13th Street, that helped wth a lot of new valves, water lines, sewer connections and storm water drains.”
Bratcher is also looking forward to the opening of the brand new Artesia Aquatic Center. The council approved the measure earlier this year to partner with the Artesia Public Schools, Artesia General Hospital and a private foundation to help fund the multi-million dollar project.
“It’s something that has been a hot button issue for the last two or three years, to have a pool and someplace for our kids to go and to have a place for the elderly to do water aerobic therapy, it’s a community effort on that,” he said.
District 3 takes in a large chunk of Artesia, mainly covering the western areas of the city limits. Bratcher said it is one of the fastest growing districts in the community and takes in people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Bratcher said affordable housing is another major issue facing his district and the community as a whole.
“That still plagues Artesia,” he said. “Being able to afford housing in Artesia sometimes is not feasible and they go north to Roswell or south to Carlsbad.”
During a recent candidate forum, Bratcher said a comment was made to keep those who are working in the community all the time instead of driving back to Roswell or Carlsbad when the work day is done.
When it comes to the council as a whole, Bratcher said every decision they make isn’t a popular one.
“The first few years I was on the council we didn’t have any money problems or money issues, it was easy to pass a budget,” he said.
“The past couple of years, we’ve had money issues, I’m glad there was something that we put away for a rainy day. We need to keep money back in our city coffers to get us through those rainy days,” Bratcher added.
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.