Have you ever had the urge to serve your community as an elected official? If so, this year is your chance.  

With 27 seats up for election in nonpartisan municipal and education board races across Valencia County, candidates can officially declare to run next week on Tuesday, Aug. 29. 

Candidates for all races can file from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Valencia County Clerk’s Office, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas. 

City of Belen 

There are two city council seats up for election in Belen this year. They are currently held by Danny Bernal Jr. and Tracy Armijo.  

The seat Armijo holds was vacated mid-term by Robert Noblin after he was elected mayor in 2021. He appointed Yvette Padilla in January 2022 to finish his council term, which ends this year. Padilla died unexpectedly in December, and Armijo was appointed to the position. 

Village of Bosque Farms 

After lengthy consideration, the Bosque Farms Village Council approved an ordinance in June shifting its elections from March of even years to the fall of odd years, aligning it with the rest of nonpartisan elections in Valencia County. 

The vote moved the March 2024 village election to Nov. 7 of this year, shortening the terms for seats coming up in the next election cycle — mayor, currently held by Russell Walkup; municipal judge, held by Dolly Wallace; and the council positions, held by Ronita Wood and Bryan Burks. 

Town of Peralta 

In Peralta, two council seats will be on the ballot.  

The positions are currently held by Leon Otero and Joseph Romero. 

City of Rio Communities 

Rio Communities will also have two council positions up for election this year.  

They are held by Peggy Gutjahr and Jim Winters. 

 Village of Los Lunas 

Residents of Los Lunas will have four governing body races to watch — mayor, municipal judge and District 2 and 4 council seats. 

The current mayor is Charles Griego, and the judge is Avilio Chavez. The District 2 council position is held by Gino Romero, and District 4 by James Runyon.  

Council seats in the village are in districts due to population. Candidates have to live within the geographic boundaries of a district to run for the position. 

Belen Board of Education 

Three seats are up for election for the Belen Board of Education — District 1, currently held by Max Cordova; District 2, held by Aubrey Tucker; and District 3, held by Larry Lindberg.  

The District 2 seat represents the part of the Belen Consolidated Schools district that covers southern Valencia County and part of northern Socorro County, so eligible candidates can live in either county. 

Los Lunas Board of Education 

The Los Lunas School District also has three seats up this year. District 1, occupied by Tina Garcia; District 2, held by Eloy Giron; and District 3, held by Bryan Smith. 

University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus Advisory Board 

There will be three seats on the ballot for the UNM-Valencia Advisory Board.  

The Position 2 seat, currently held by Belinda Martinez, is an at-large position held by a resident of the Belen Consolidated Schools district.  

Positions 3 and 5, held by Russell Griego and Paul Luna, respectively, are up for election and are at-large seats from within the Los Lunas Schools district. 

Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District 

There are four seats up for election on the VSWCD board of supervisors, three of which are four-year terms and one two-year term. 

The four-year seats are Positions 1, 2 and 5, held by Abel Camarena, Duana Draszkiewicz and Gail Goodman, respectively, and the two-year seat is Position 3, currently held by Pam Cordova.  

Cordova was appointed to Position 3 after the death of Joseph Moya in October 2022. His term runs through 2025, and the candidate elected in November will serve the remaining two years of the term. 

Candidates who run for Positions 1, 2 and 3 must own property within the district, live in the district and be a registered voter. The candidates for Position 5 are not required to be land owners. 

The last day for a candidate to withdraw from a regular local election is Tuesday, Sept. 5. Write-in candidates must file between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the county clerk’s office. The clerk will notify candidates whether they are qualified to appear on the ballot on Friday, Sept. 8. 

Regular local elections will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. 

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.