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Nava sets sights on Ward 5 seat

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Oswaldo Vazquez Nava (Alison Penn Photo)

Criminal justice student announces run for City Council

Oswaldo Vazquez Nava, a full-time criminal justice student, has declared his intention to run for a Roswell City Council seat in Ward 5.

This will be his first time running for public office. Nava, 28, said he plans to represent the Hispanic/Latino community of Roswell, as well as the younger population, if elected.

As far as what inspired Nava to run, he investigated how many terms some of the current councilors have served and thought it was important to have new blood on the dais, he said. Nava said he believes councilors should only serve two terms, to allow new minds to make decisions.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to help the public — be a public servant …” Nava said.

Nava recalled feeling safe and a sense of relief around police officers as a child, and this inspired him to study criminal justice.

City Clerk Sharon Coll explained that Election Day is March 3 and candidates can start declaring at any time for the nonpartisan elections.

City Council incumbents in Ward 5 are Barry Foster and Angela Moore.

Five of the 10 city councilors’ four-year terms are set to expire in the upcoming year. Those incumbents, in Wards 1-5, are City Councilors Juan Oropesa, Steve Henderson, Jeanine Best, Savino Sanchez and Foster.

Ward 5

Nava’s top priority for Ward 5 is to “clean it up” and ensure the ward is given the “same attention” as the north side of town. He listed the adverse condition of roads and housing as some of the pressing issues in the ward.

In some cases, he said the nickname “the base” — referring to the former Walker Air Force Base — has derogatory connotations, but the city should be proud of the former military base.

Nava described the current council as having a “bullying environment,” with councilors who “need to do more instead of sucking up to the mayor.”

He said he feels it is his “duty” to step up and offer transparency to constituents.

Another of Nava’s priorities is more pay for first-responders, since they are the ones who provide order and safety to the city. He said keeping police officers in town is key to addressing Roswell’s crime rate.

When it comes to political affiliation, Nava said he believes it’s best to put “aside the party and look at the policy.” He is currently registered as a Republican, which he explained was necessary to support Sheriff Mike Herrington’s campaign, but is considering registering as a Democrat for this race.

For his top priorities as a councilor, he wants the city to be in a “good place” financially and a better place to live. He said the city is currently “mismanaging” money and he used the rocket play structure replacement project at Spring River Park & Zoo and the road condition survey as examples.

He has also been keeping an eye on the city’s outside contracts, such as the fleet maintenance contract, and said the city should be using city employees for this work instead.

“I hope that this campaign and me running inspires people — other young people to run,” Nava said. “And I hope that people are ready for a change — and I hope people go out and vote for a change here in the city. And if I am not the right candidate for you, I’m OK with that. Just go out and vote, and make your vote count.

“I believe I have the interest of the people in my heart, so if people are ready for a change, then I’ll be willing to help them out and in the best way that I can.”

Background

Though he was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Nava is a U.S. citizen and is fluent in Spanish. He has been living in Roswell for about eight or nine years. Before that, Nava grew up in Truth or Consequences and has also lived in Artesia and Las Cruces.

He is involved with work-study at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and the Criminal Justice Society.

Addressing difficulties millennials face, he explained he lives at home and has the full support of his mother to be a public servant.

Nava is set to graduate in December. After this, he plans to work on a bachelor’s degree and would like to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) eventually.

As far as work history, he has worked in human resources at Hotel Artesia, worked seasonally at Seco Spice Co. and held some other jobs. He has also served on the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce’s board and will be stepping down to run for council.

In his free time, he goes on “ride-alongs” with the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, enjoys crime shows, going to the movies and attending city events. Nava is also the person behind Roswell Today on Facebook, which he created and has managed for about nine months.

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