Two new directors will be sworn in to the board of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District if the unofficial election results stand at the canvass tomorrow.
The two contested races this year were for the Valencia County seat and the at-large position, which represents all four counties in the district.
In the Valencia County race, Stephanie Russo Baca, a water attorney who lives in Los Chavez, received 460 votes, the most out of the three candidates.
Les Gibson, a business owner and farmer from Jarales, took 328, and Michael Lundmark, a retired U.S. Marine and farmer in Valencia County, received 90 votes.
“I’m so thankful. With the support of so many, we did it,” Russo Baca said. “Running for office isn’t easy, and I’d like to thank both Mr. Gibson and Mr. Lundmark for running good, clean campaigns.”
Russo Baca continued, saying there were too many people to thank for their support of her campaign, including family, friends and her campaign team.
“To all the wonderful people I’ve met (knocking) on the doors and through the process of campaigning, I’m so grateful for the time, interest and advice you gave me,” she said.
At-large candidates can live in any of the four counties that make up the district, and Albuquerque resident Barbara Baca seems to have upset incumbent Glen Duggins, a farmer in Lemitar.
Baca, who retired from the city of Albuquerque as the parks and recreation director, received 1,838 votes to Duggins’ 1,384 votes. Duggins was first elected in 2015, and served one term on the board.
“I am grateful to the voters and hope they see I will fully represent the urban, rural and farming needs within the entire conservancy district,” Baca said. “Now it’s the time to be forward thinking and to improve how we manage our water.
“I am excited to join the MRGCD board so we can better plan for the realities of climate change, drought and ongoing water shortages.”
The MRGCD board of directors will meet at 10 a.m., Friday, June 7, to canvass and certify the election results.
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.