MAYOR

Danny Bernal Jr.

Age: 23

Danny Bernal Jr.

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Supervisor of investigation assignments at ADC LTD NM; Belen city councilor

Highest level of education: UNM-VC, 20 credit hours

Previously held public office: Belen City Council

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “No.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“As a city councilor, I’ve accomplished my goals and kept my word regarding accountability, getting tough on vacant buildings, supporting our police department and fixing roads. In the past five years, I’ve conducted city site visits. I attended New Mexico Municipal League meetings and committee assignments, and I was the president of The Hub Community Theatre and chairman of the Lodger’s Committee. I supervise investigative work for 2,000 federal investigators across the U.S.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“1. Economic growth: Capitalize on our exits, hire another employee to attract more business, continue community efforts to support local businesses like ‘Believe in Belen,’ approve a cheaper water bill.

“2. Better infrastructure: Continue to restore our roads, establish a flood control authority, strongly enforce ordinances on dilapidated buildings.

“3. Accountability: Stop contracting out work that the city can undertake, ensure our financial audit findings are properly addressed, get tough on drug and traffic violations.”

What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“Flooding, bad road conditions, dilapidated buildings and crime. I’ve already started the process of mitigating these issues. As mayor, I’ll have more control over how ordinances are prioritized and executed. I’ll continue to be tough on code, traffic and drug violations. As a city, we’ll seek federal, state and local funds to complete road projects and flood mitigation efforts. As mayor, I’ll prioritize staff according to your needs and ensure stability among our city leadership.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“I’ll continue to partner with everyone, from our congressional delegation to our peers in local government. I’ll meet and talk to everyone, to get the job done. We need to establish a flood control authority. Complete our current infrastructure projects. Seek federal, state and local funds to continue building ponds and maintain our natural canals. We can offer better services and resources when flooding occurs by improving response, recovery, and funding through federal rule changes.”

 

Lorenzo Carrillo

Age: 63

Lorenzo Carrillo

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Retired physical security specialist, National Nuclear Security Administration at KAFB

Highest level of education: BA from New Mexico Highlands University

Previously held public office: Appointed Belen City Councilor

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “No.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“My historical knowledge of our community, community involvement and experience outside the state provides me with a strong background to serve as mayor. Serving as Belen’s HR manager and city councilor provides me unique insight to our city government.

“I also served as a school board member and wrestling coach. I have lived in five different states before returning to my hometown. My experience and education strongly prepared and qualifies me to serve as mayor.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“For future, sustainable growth, the city of Belen must develop, adopt and implement a comprehensive master plan. A city master plan will focus and hold elected officials accountable to develop and address a list of action items within an allotted timeframe, a defined budget, while utilizing available resources.

“Action items should include issues such as infrastructure, business growth, public safety and beautification of our city to improve the quality of life for our citizens.”

 What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“The mayor, city manager and council are charged to provide efficient and well-managed public services. Maintaining and upgrading our municipal infrastructure is essential to our future growth.

“Investments in water infrastructure and in our city streets and parks will be key components to our goal of sustainable economic growth and improved quality of life. A well-developed city master plan will address these issues in the near and distant future.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“The flooding problem we face is bigger than Belen. Solving this issue will require federal, state and local dollars. We must hire grant writers to identify, draft and apply for available infrastructure grants. Various short-term solutions have also been proposed (i.e., building holding ponds, lakes, ditch-lining, diversion channels, etc.) and should be implemented immediately.”

 

Robert Noblin

Age: 44

Robert Noblin

Current occupation (If retired, from what field):

Owner/Noblin Funeral Service, Inc., New Mexico Funeral Properties, LLC

Highest level of education: Degree of Mortuary Science

Previously held public office:  City Council (Current)

Have you ever been arrested, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “No.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“My business experience has taught me much about positive leadership, constructive communication and fiscal responsibility. I am versed in strategic planning and budgeting to accomplish goals. As a councilman, I listen to community concerns and work to resolve those concerns in a timely manner. I’m a leader and have always done my best to set goals and achieve them.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“I hope to see Belen continue to grow in a positive way, providing opportunities for citizens to shop locally and enjoy a quality of life. I want a safe community, adequate infrastructure and will work with dedicated city employees to establish and maintain morale. I want to continue the improvements to our parks and would like to see community service returned by our municipal court to assist in the clean up of our city.”

What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“We must establish relationships with our neighboring municipalities to partner their strengths with our own for the betterment of everyone. We must be smarter with developers and implement impact fees to provide better public safety and infrastructure considering the increase in population and we should also continue the efforts to make Belen a welcoming and affordable community for new business.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“The city will move forward with a flood authority, partnering with the Valencia County Commission and surrounding areas, assisting to solicit funding at the federal level for increased ponding or a diversionary channel.  This will also establish guidelines, allowing for a clearer relationship with the MRGCD.  The city of Belen has also found grant funding to update our flood plan.  It will not be a quick or easy fix but is a necessity.”

 

BELEN CITY COUNCIL (two positions open)

Steven Lee Holdman

Age: 65

Steven Holdman

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Administrative pastor at Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley. Formerly, executive vice president of operations for NICOR, Incorporated in Albuquerque.

Highest level of education: Master of business administration, Eastern New Mexico University

Previously held public office: None

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “No to all of the above.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“Qualifications and experiences that will aid in fulfilling the responsibilities as a city council member include 30+ years of mid to upper-level business experience in public, private, government and nonprofit organizations.

“Responsibilities have included leadership roles in operations, purchasing and warehouse supervision and collaboration with sales, marketing and engineering. Skills developed in budgeting and financial management, problem solving, and team building will be helpful as a council member.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“Working as a team member to develop a comprehensive plan that positions Belen for the future, while addressing the challenges our community faces today, is a primary task and important accomplishment.

“A plan that addresses the needs of the community, prioritizes those needs and ensures the plan is executed is critical for our future. Funding and hiring a grant writer to capture funding we are currently missing is a second accomplishment to achieve.”

What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“With many challenges and no simple answers, the development of a strategic plan and identifying funding sources is a challenging first step. A new water treatment plant is necessary for continued growth and new business development.

“Roads and sewer improvements, flooding and drainage issues, boarded up buildings, neglected and nuisance properties, and park improvements need to be prioritized. We need to make sure our police department has the funding necessary to protect our community.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“Belen should continue to have discussions with Valencia County and other impacted municipalities to form a larger coalition to develop a plan to address the problem and to capture the attention of funding sources.

“While working on a permanent solution, the city should explore a partnership with other municipalities and counties to develop a flood management plan to address rapid emergency response and identify equipment that can be shared when a flooding emergency occurs.”

 

Megan R. Malcom-Morgan

Age: 31

Megan Malcom-Morgan

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Executive director of Through the Flower and Owner of The GRID Gallery

Highest level of education: Masters of Arts in English from The University of New Mexico

Previously held public office: None

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “No.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“I’ve lived, worked and volunteered in Belen my whole life. I’ve taught elementary, middle and high school for St. Mary’s Catholic School and Belen Consolidated Schools.

“I’ve worked with several nonprofits to provide educational opportunities and talks to our kids, I’ve organized community cleanups and I am co-founder of the community garden on Sixth Street and Dalies. As a teacher and volunteer, I’ve worked hard for progress and I am a strong advocate for Belen.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“In the many years I’ve worked in our city, I’ve seen how we make progress when we’re working together. It takes all of us wanting to see a better and brighter future for our town.

“We need to support all local businesses, both small businesses and big industry because that brings the jobs and growth we need. Local businesses need improved roads and sidewalks and reliable water and sewer infrastructure.”

What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“We need to increase our focus on neighborhoods. Too many have been long neglected and have everything from potholes to broken sidewalks to failing water and sewer infrastructure.

“The ongoing sidewalk repairs around town and the recent road projects on Campana, E. Ross, La Luz and San Lorenzo are a start, but we must do more. We also need to address city ordinances concerning vacant buildings and animals at large to maintain safe neighborhoods.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“We must hold our elected officials accountable for a solution to flood control. Enough is enough. When state government is flush with surpluses and the federal government says they want to focus on infrastructure spending, there’s no excuse why Belen can’t get the money it needs for a permanent solution to flood control.”

 

Marcella T. Melendez

Age: 79

Marcella Melendez

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Retired newspaper reporter

Highest level of education: Associate of Arts degree in small business management

Previously held public office: None

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “Yes, I was arrested 30 years ago in California for blocking entrance to an abortion clinic. I helped to save babies’ lives, who would be 30 years old today.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“I am a self-starter, creative-thinker, who likes to contribute towards the betterment of all human beings. I’m curious, love to read and like surrounding myself with knowledgeable people. I recognize many unmet needs in Belen, and am anxious to make a positive difference. My life experiences have prepared me to meet my next challenge.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“a) Priority list for Belen

b) Long-term plans with long-term goals

c) Hire a grant writer to help fund our priority needs

d) Help change attitudes towards Belen; to show pride in our village, to get residents to buy into Belen by volunteering to help wherever the public’s help can be accepted.”

What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“a) Update the water treatment plant

b) Get drugs, violence and crime under control

c) Clean up and beautify Belen to bring new businesses and revenue to Belen.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“We must create a coalition that will insist on getting a permanent solution in place as soon as possible instead of waiting for the next destructive flood. Money is available, solutions are available. We must insist.”

 

Mike Moreno

Age: 64

Mike Moreno

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Former special education instructor, eight years. HIV prevention/ volunteer programs, 25 years. National volunteer coordinator AIDS Memorial Quilt display, Washington DC, 1996, overseeing an estimated 11,000 volunteers. Former volunteer director Japanese National Museum, Los Angeles.

Highest level of education: Graduated from Belen High School in 1975. Attended classes at TVI (CNM) Albuquerque and Pasadena City College, Pasadena, Calif.

Previously held public office: None
Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.  “In 1976 I had my driver’s license suspended for too many tickets, then drove without a license and was thrown in jail overnight. Last ticket I got was in 2009 for driving a friend’s car with expired plates, which I was not aware of.

“And in 1992, I was arrested for disorderly conduct during a demonstration at the Academy Awards, completed 400 hours of community service. All tickets or arrests were misdemeanors.”

 What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“I was a program administrator during my career, working specifically with homeless, offender release and drug rehabilitation programs. Grant development and oversight was a large part of my work and I’ve represented the community on many non-profit boards during my career including at least seven city of Belen related committees and currently serve on Belen Police Advisory board. This summer, I helped move sandbags and did clean-up after our last flood.”

 What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“First and for most, bring back pride in our community and work on ridding our community of negative infighting that seems to tear us apart and keeps us on this cycle of community self-hate.  As I have throughout my career and especially here in Belen, I will continue to work across party lines, with all our local groups and churches too help bring a sense of civility back to our community.”

 What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“Improving our quality of life is our goal, besides flooding, we need a new Waste Water Treatment Plant, we can’t grow, if you can’t go. Crime is another top issue, so vote yes for a new police station, and let’s continue to provide our police officers with the best tools and benefits possible, just as we should for all our city employees. I’m committed to working with the council to make positive change here.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“Get current projects done, get a longer term plan done and start immediately to seek funding. The city is now moving setting flood control as a top priority and I intend to continue to pursue this. I suggest hiring a professional adviser to help in future  planning and a city employee or volunteer that provides flood prevention planning for homeowners and businesses. Create a citizens flood advisory committee and a county flood advisory board.”

 

Frank F. Ortega (I)

Age: 70

Frank F. Ortega

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Belen Consolidated Schools maintenance director 45 years.

Highest level of education: Attended Belen High School. Received a high school diploma from the New Mexico State Board of Education. Management Certification, Emergency Management Institute of Financing, School Dude Management College Applied Computer Tech. T.S.A Maintenance Adm. Certification. Along with several other licenses and certifications.

Previously held public office: Three full terms as Belen city councilor in  1992,  2014,  2018.

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “No.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“Forty five years with the Belen Consolidated Schools, the last 15 years as maintenance director. Twenty one years with the Belen Fire Department. Ten years as Belen (volunteer) fire chief. Twelve years as E.M.T, certified in emergency operation and incident command. Honorable discharge U.S.M.C., veteran Vietnam era, and Army National Guard. Received Outstanding New Mexico Medal for prison riots in 1980.  Have completed three terms as Belen city councilor. Volunteered with various committees throughout my community.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“Working on infrastructure for the city of Belen, new wastewater plant and wastewater pipeline rehabilitation, upgrading our flood control plan and completing May Reid Pond, Maintenance for all holding ponds and culverts. Economic development, completing the Belen Veterans Memorial, completing our parks and skate park. Completing repairs on sidewalks and fire hydrants. Seek funding for our streets. Seek funding for our historic facilities, raises for employees. Working with Belen Chamber of Commerce.”

What are the most important challenges facing the community, and how do you propose to address them?

“Combating crime, more resources, training and economic and social council resolution. New waste water plant and our westside flood diversionary channel. By lobbying funding from local, state, and federal officials. Seeking out grants, loans, and having to ask the taxpayers for their help. We need this infrastructure in place to help economical growth and flood control. Getting hospital to Belen, and showing the Valencia County Commissioners why Belen is the better site for the hospital.”

What can and should the city do to alleviate the frequent flooding problem?

“Need a Flood Control Authority Board in place, working with all agencies MRGCD, Army Corps of Engineers and all state, federal and local officials, upgrade our flood control master plans.”

 

BELEN MUNICIPAL JUDGE

Manny Garcia

Age: 40

Manny Garcia

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Bus driver with Belen Schools and Herrera Coaches; retired Belen fire chief, December 2018

Highest level of education: Belen High School, UNM, N.M. State and National Fire Academy

Previously held public office: None

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “No.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“My unique direct on-the-job work experience and credentials earned while working within Belen city government for more than 20 years gives me a comprehensive and well-informed advantage because of the different roles, responsibilities and job positions I’ve held throughout my career. Working within law enforcement, city planning and zoning, code enforcement and the fire department have allowed me to attain knowledge essential to being the municipal judge because the court will hear these exact type of cases.”

How do you anticipate your personal philosophy would translate to your service as municipal court judge?

“I hold very highly my integrity, morality, fortitude and humbleness as an esteemed member of our beloved community. These traits and qualities that I have been blessed with have encouraged me in the many years serving the public in my personal life and professional career. I fully expect these attributes would serve me well as your municipal judge because you could trust me to the very best job for our community.”

How would you handle cases of friends, relatives or business associates if they come before your court?

“My personal philosophy as previously described will allow me to adjudicate cases fairly and impartially for everyone that comes before the court. It is important that the public trusts their judge to do the right thing, all the time. Any cases dealing with my family will be handled by the alternate judge because I would recuse myself so there is no conflict of interest, and it is the just and ethical thing to do.”

 

Keith D. Norwood

Age: 61

Keith Norwood

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): Retired law enforcement official with the New Mexico Department of Corrections. (warden, deputy warden, deputy bureau chief, correctional officer)

Highest level of education: Bachelor of Science degree from NMSU

Previously held public office: None

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunk driving, any misdemeanor or felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? “No.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“Twenty-eight years in law enforcement has given me the knowledge and experience in rendering just and fair judgments in hearings. One of the responsibilities of the warden is to review case materials pertaining to alleged violations of laws/policies. Upon completion of the warden’s review, the sanctions may be upheld, reduced and or dismissed. All judgments were rendered according to the law and institutional policies.”

How do you anticipate your personal philosophy would translate to your service as municipal judge?

“I’m bound by my faith to treat everyone with fairness, dignity and respect. I believe residents appearing before the court want to be heard, knowing that they will receive a fair hearing, with no-nepotism, no-favoritism and a judgment based solely on evidence, testimony, and the law.”

How would you handle cases of friends, relatives, or business associates if they come before the court?

“A judge should recuse him/herself if anyone appears in court and has a close relationship with the said judge. The integrity of the court and public confidence in the court should be above all personal relationships. The residents of Belen need to have confidence in its Municipal Court and know the judge will not be swayed or manipulated by relatives, business associates, friends, and/or by other government officials.”

 

Yvette Padilla

Age: 53

Yvette Padilla

Current occupation (If retired, from what field): I am employed at AC Disposal Service, Inc., and retired from city of Belen where I was employed with Belen Municipal Court.

Highest level of education: BHS graduate and I attended two years at UNM-Valencia campus, where I studied criminal justice.

Previously held public office: None

Have you ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony offenses in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain. “Yes, in 1988, I pleaded guilty to DWI.”

What qualifications/experience do you feel you possess that will enable you to fulfill the responsibilities of the elected office you are seeking?

“For 20 years, I was employed with Belen Municipal Court. I held the positions of clerk, administrator and alternate judge. I was court administrator for the town of Peralta. During my tenure, I attended yearly training provided by the Judicial Education Center focusing on ethics, procedures, release and bail, warrants, subpoenas, trials, judgments, sentences and appeals, evidence, administration and financial procedures. For these reasons, I feel equipped to fulfill the position of municipal judge.”

How do you anticipate your personal philosophy would translate to your service as municipal court judge?

“I am a product of my environment; I was raised to treat an individual as I would want to be treated. The traits of kindness and respect are highly significant in my life. Therefore, these traits would translate accordant, in my duties as municipal judge.”

How would you handle cases of friends, relatives or business associates if they come before your court?

“With judicial notice and discretion, I will inform the parties; a conflict of interest “may” exist. As judge, I set the standard and norm of the court. Assuring independence, impartiality and avoiding impropriety. Discretion includes, dismissing a case without prejudice, allowing the officer to re-file the case in magistrate court or recusing myself allowing the alternate judge, to preside over the case.”

 

 

 

VOTING INFORMATION: Absentee by mail

Monday through Friday, through Thursday, Oct. 28

  • Valencia County Clerk’s Office

444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas

Request an absentee ballot by calling the Valencia County Bureau of Elections, 866-2080 or visit the Secretary of State’s website, sos.state.nm.us. Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Absentee ballot secure drop box locations

  • Valencia County Administrative Building

444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas

  • Bosque Farms Public Library

1455 W. Bosque Loop, Bosque Farms

VOTING INFORMATION: Early in-person

8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 5-29 (Monday through Friday)

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30

•County Clerk’s Office (Bureau of Elections)

444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas

VOTING INFORMATION: Early voting

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 16-30 (Monday through Saturday)

•Belen Community Center

305 Eagle Lane, Belen

•Village of Los Lunas Village Hall

660 Main St., Los Lunas

•Town of Peralta Town Hall

90-A Molina Rd., Peralta

•City of Rio Communities City Hall

360 Rio Communities Blvd., Rio Communities

VOTING INFORMATION: Election Day Voting Convenience Centers

(Any registered Valencia County voter can cast a ballot at any center.)

7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2

  • Belen Community Center

305 Eagle Ln., Belen

  • Belen Consolidated Schools Administration Building

520 N. Main St., Belen

  • City of Rio Communities City Hall

360 Rio Communities Blvd., Rio Communities

  • Don Jose Dolores Cordova Cultural Center

426 Jarales Rd., Jarales

  • El Cerro Community Center

309 El Cerro Mission Blvd., Los Lunas

  • Los Lunas Schools Administration Building

119 Luna St., Los Lunas

  • Tomé Dominguez de Mendoza Community Center

2933 N.M. 47, Tomé

  • Town of Peralta Town Hall

90-A Molina Rd., Peralta

  • Village of Los Lunas Village Hall

660 Main St., Los Lunas

(Editor’s Note: The village of Bosque Farms opted out of the consolidated local elections in November. The village holds its election in March of even numbered years.)

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.