Mountainair candidates on why they want your vote

Candidates for the Mountainair town council answered a questionnaire about their bid for elected office. The answers are posted here exactly as submitted by the candidates. The election will be Nov. 4, and early voting started this week.

Questions we put to the candidates are below. The responses from candidates follow, in no particular order. Photos are labeled with each candidate’s name, and their answers follow the photo.

  1. Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council?
  2. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair?
  3. What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community?
  4. Have you ever held public office before? If yes, what office did you hold, where, and when?
  5. What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected?
  6. What is your vision for Mountainair?
  7. What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed, if elected?
  8. Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details.
Aurora Zamora

Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council? I want to be a part of the progress Mountainair is making. Mountainair seems to be on an upward trend, and I want to help by giving people a voice.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair? Infrastructure. We need to focus more on fixing issues such as roads, sidewalks.

What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community? The community itself. Mountainair has a great community mindset and are always there to help each other.

Have you ever held public office before? If yes, what office did you hold, where, and when? No

What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected? The most relevant experience I have regarding the Town Council is the experience I gained while working for the Town of Estancia.  I got to experience the function of Town Government from the inside.  While I was only the billing clerk, I learned different aspects of town administration and saw from the inside how things work.  I understand as a town Counselor that my role would change.  As a counselor we have more of a role of oversite and advocate more for town citizens while trying to make policy that is best for them.  But I believe that my employment as a Town of Estancia employee gives me an advantage in all aspects of town government. 

What is your vision for Mountainair? A strong community with possibilities. Our kids and seniors should be major focuses of the town government. Our citizens need a community who supports them and where they feel safe and can thrive as citizens. This is important for our citizens to have a town with the vision of a positive future.

What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed, if elected? I don’t think there is anything that needs to change about the way it is governed per say. Its just the fact that the town government must involve with changing times. I hope that I can bring new and fresh ideas to the Mountainair Town Government. Some of my ideas may be accepted and some not. But it we don’t try to change or innovate we become stagnate and this especially true in government.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details including date of conviction. No

Brandon Overholser

Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council? I want to be elected to the Mountainair Town Council because I believe a fresh set of eyes can never be a bad thing. I also enjoy all the conversations and differing opinions of our community, really hearing someone is an art I am wonderful at.  

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair? Stops signs! Lol. J/k. I don’t see a biggest challenge. I see multiple obstacles but all are able to be conquered. Not relying on the county for our roadwork would be nice, DARE program to teach these babies young, a couple long lasting industries could help. Losing hope would be the biggest challenge if I had to single one out. 

What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community? It’s ability to pull together in moments of need, no matter the difference. I have lived in many places, small and large and never seen this before. It makes me proud to raise my kids here, it makes me want to do my best for the community using every skill I have learned along this adventure.

Have you ever held public office before? If yes, what office did you hold, where, and when? No. I am not a politician. If I was, I would be signed to WWE right now! If I can’t win a vote being honest, than I don’t want that vote. What makes me qualified is my ability to see mutiple sides to a story and be able to feel from someone elses perspective. I am also an avid reader who enjoys learning and is not afraid to hear no. Those who have met me, know I am always willing to listen and always willing to work hard and keep my word. 

What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected? My ability to listen to people and really hear them would be my most relevant experience. I also have experience owning a business, building that business from deaths door to number 1 in Ohio again. I did so by reaching out everywhere I could to get sponsors and bring in the best talent I could find. I see that talent here in Mountainair already, just need someone to really get behind them and make things happen. I have experience doing just that. 

What is your vision for Mountainair? I like Mountainair the way it is. I do believe a tech based business in town would be helpful. I want our young people to want to stay and be apart of this community. I would like to see the drugs and theft reduced through education, outreach, and opportunity. I want our town to continue to be an exception to the rule of what America is supposed to be. We are the heart of NM not only in location, but through action as well and the whole world should know it. 

What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed, if elected? I would like to see more people at the meetings, their voices matter too. And as long as progress continues I don’t see any need to make changes on how it is governed. If the people want the way we are governed changed, then I support the hearing of any ideas that can make us just a little bit better. 

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details including date of conviction. Well that’s a tricky question. I got nothing on my background check. But in the name of honesty, I will disclose an offense from when I was a minor that is officially sealed. When I was 15 years old I got arrested for marijuana possession. I was expelled, they took my license before I even had a permit, had to take defensive driving, serve 2 years probation, 240 hours community service and attend AA. The lesson I learned was, do not trust even your best friend, and do not break the law!!

Jeremy Oliver

Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council? I want to be elected into the Mountainair Town Council because I believe I can help the town grow.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair? I believe that there is still a large crime issue within the Mountainair Community. There has been trouble retaining Police officers within the community which could contribute to the problems. I think that a new view and fresh ideas could help with these problems

What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community? The Community in Mountainair is very strong together as a whole. The community has a lot of different talents that come  together to make the town a better place.

Have you ever held public office before? If yes, what office did you hold, where, and when? No, I have never held a public office.

What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected? I have a lot of life experience from my time in the Air Force until now. I am currently working in a government job and can bring my knowledge from that to help with issues inside the town.

What is your vision for Mountainair? I would like to see Mountainair grow, have more job opportunities. I would like to see the town a safer place to live (reducing crime) where there are not drug needles found lying on the ground. Where you do not have to fear about your home being burglarized while leaving for work or on vacation.

What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed, if elected? I think there have been a lot of good changes in the past few years, but there are a few changes that I think would help the town. I think that there is room to grow as a town. It can start a few different ways, one by cleaning up the crime and making it a better place for new business to be more willing to enter into the town. The other by getting new business into the town and creating more revenue to build town infrastructure. Both ways would lead to the goal of improving the town and both could be worked simultaneously.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details including date of conviction. No, I have never been convicted of a crime.

La’Sha Chavez

Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council? I feel like I can bring a new voice to the Town of Mountainair.  We as a collective need to come together as a community. Talking to the public,  it seems that they do not feel like they have a voice and  I would like to help the people have their voice be heard. 

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair? The town has come  a long way, but we need more growth in important areas that will have a positive long term affect  for our future.  I feel that there is more than just one challenge  we are facing , but being that I have to answer accordingly I guess I would have to say the biggest challenge may be fixing our infrastructure and making sure that we upgrade, restore, fix and maintain a solid and proper foundation for the years that lay ahead of us. I also believe we need to continue to focus on things that ensure a successful future for our children.

What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community? I would have to say looking throughout our community one of it’s greatest strengths is  the love that the people have for Mountainair and the surrounding areas and the love that the people have for one another.  The community is known for coming together to help each other out. 

Have you ever held public office before? If yes , what office did you hold, where, and when? Although I have no previous experience  holding public office, I take this position very seriously and  I have been  looking forward to a day in which I can serve my community.

What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected? I have experience in speech and debate, some experience in the procedures that are used in government.  I am also the facilitator of the Town of  Mountainair’s  Resource Center, in which we work to help people obtain their High school equivalency certificate, and hoping to expand our resources .  I am also newly appointed by the Town of Mountainair to represent Our town on the board of directors for the Estancia Valley Solid waste Authority.

What is your vision for Mountainair? I can say this whole heartedly that this is not about my vision of what Mountainair can become, but this is Our vision.  We need to work together and continue to  come together as a community to build our vision!  I would love to continue to build a solid foundation and  add to that foundation as well.  We can continue to work together to be the place that people want to come and raise their families.

What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed if elected? We need more open ears, and more public involvement to ensure we are listened to and we are treated fairly.  How the town is governed reflects on our community and us, we need to demand that our leaders are hearing us and taking our needs into consideration.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details including date of conviction. No convictions.
 

Shanna Kayser

Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council? I want to make a difference for 26 years I’ve sat by as my kids grew up here and sometimes it seems as nothing changed. I think our town deserves new and refreshing ideas and the right people to move it forward for a better future. Too often it’s filled with corruption and greed, self seeking people. I hope to be the change we need! 

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair? Obviously the biggest problem in this town is drugs and crime. Lack of punishment and being held liable for one’s crimes. Lack of police force is a result of that. We need those who will uphold the law and not be afraid to bring justice to those individuals who are a threat to our beautiful town! We need to not be afraid of the repercussions of doing what is right! 

What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community? The people! I have see our our small town come together in tragic moments with such love and compassion. I also see these people in other situations and they always stand together even when they don’t always agree. I love this town why I choose to stay raise my family here, and why I want to help it grow!

Have you ever held public office before? If yes, what office did you hold, where, and when? NO! This is my first attempt to do anything outside my comfort zone. 

What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected? I have been here my whole life. I raised my children here. My parents grew up here. My grandparents were raised here. 

What is your vision for Mountainair? To watch it grow. Be the same place as when I was growing up. I hear so many talk about our town with compassion and love from the moment they come into our town. I want that legacy to continue. I want out town to be a safe place for all who are part of our Community. I want Mountainair to grow and thrive. People assume small towns cant thrive or be productive , but I see the potential in our small town. I love our town I want to help it grow. It’s a awesome community let’s make it into something great!!!

What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed, if elected? I think we have a good group who have made our town prosper. It sometimes seems people only look out for their best interest instead of the interest of the community. If elected I’d take into consideration all aspects of a situation and do what is best for our town to prosper and move our town towards positive and successful future! 

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details including date of conviction. No. 

Ernie Lopez

Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council? I would like to to be re elected to town council to continue working toward updating our towns infrastructure, also continuing to build a stead and reliable police force that will bring safety, stability and community confidence to our small community. I believe we as a community and council should always look to recruiting new businesses and encourage home grown businesses to start up within the community. Employment opportunities are always a positive for our citizens which would help our town with gross receipts taxes. Overall my goal is always community involvement, town growth and progress.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair? We have several challenges within our community as most communities do. One of our biggest challenges is crime and drug prevention those are constant problems that can take several different avenues at any moment therefore I believe that would be at the top of the list for challenges.

What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community? In my opinion Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community is the community! Our citizens, family members, friends and newcomers are all the most valuable part of our town. We meet different challenges every day and when these challenges are brought to the forefront our citizens show great resolve and participation to aid in different ways.

Have you ever held public office before? If yes, what office did you hold, where, and when? Yes I currently hold the position of town councilman. I’ve held office since 2017 to the present.

What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected? I believe the most relevant experience I bring to council is my participation in the (NMML) New Mexico Municipal League. Immediately after obtaining office I began attending MOLI courses Municipal Office League Institute. Courses ranged everything from newly elected officials classes teaching beginning governance, rolls as a councilman, to Open Meeting’s Act, community development etc; the knowledge I obtained from NMML is invaluable to anyone holding any level of office. The program ran for nearly two years and I’m proud to say that myself and councilman Richard Torres became the very first two graduates from the MOLI program. I also was nominated by the league and became a delegate to the bylaws committee for my region. My dedication to my community should be obvious through my to commitment and diligence to complete the whole program and make it to graduation. 

What is your vision for Mountainair? My vision for Mountainair is growth , unity and a safe prosperous community.

What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed if elected? I believe if there is anything to change about how Mountainair is governed it would be more transparency. More community involvement us as council reaching out to constituents that dont always make the meetings. 

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details including date of conviction. No I have never been convicted of a crime.

Debra Vetterman

Why do you want to be elected to the Mountainair town council? I have lived in Mountainair for 20 some years. I have watched the population decline, parts burn and businesses fold. I don’t want to see Mountainair go away. I want this town to thrive and prosper. I want to help with the continued direction the town is taking. I love having people come and visit.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Mountainair? The biggest challenge is the decline and neglect of recent decades. Some of our youth are hurting, substance use seems common, the community seems fragmented by rumor, the economy here struggles. The garbage could be cleaned up more, the roads could be paved, sewer, plumbing, and electric could all be face-lifted. It’s all related and combing through it all has started and will take some time.

What do you see as Mountainair’s greatest strength as a community? I think that the diverse population and beliefs found here are Mountainair’s greatest strength. There are so many people with different perspectives and different experiences. These are so important to community harmony. It is amazing when we come together.

What is the most relevant experience you bring to the town council if elected? I have been a therapist for close to 30 year. During those years I have developed skills of being straightforward and direct. I will speak my truth and also listen to your truth.

Have you ever held public office before? If yes, what office did you hold, where, and when? Golly, when John Romero was Mayor, I was on Planning and Zoning for a brief period. Then a month or so back I became part of P&Z again. If elected I would not be allowed to continue P&Z.

What is your vision for Mountainair? I want to see Mountainair thrive. I want the tourist industry to continue to grow. We are close enough not to be too far away from the big population centers. We can build on that.

What would you want to change about the way Mountainair is governed, if elected? I want greater participation from the town people. I want folks with all kinds of perspectives to have a place at the table and a voice to speak. When people attend meetings, they are knowledgeable and know what’s going on. When more people know facts, fewer people listen to rumors. And this town will develop into a thriving community.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, provide details including date of conviction. No.

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