Two Democrats are facing off in the Torrance County Treasurer’s race, with the winner of the June 7 primary to meet Republican Tracy Sedillo in the November general election.
The Democrats are Wilson “Brent” Myrick and Margarita Hibbs. The winner of the primary election will face Republican Tracy Sedillo, who is unopposed in her party.
The Independent interviewed Myrick and Hibbs Tuesday.
Myrick cut the interview short when asked for specifics, hanging up the telephone.
Wilson B. Myrick
Wilson “Brent” Myrick said he is originally from Gallup, moving to Moriarty in 2008, where he worked at the TA Truck Stop running the restaurant.
He said the business wanted to transfer him “but I was a single father.”
He started substitute teaching and coaching, Myrick said.
“I would like to take the Torrance County Treasurer’s office in a new direction, running it like a business,” he said. “I think I can broaden the tax base by running it as a business.”
He said he has a “three-step program,” but added, “I don’t want to get into that.”
Following state statutes and county ordinances is “step one,” he said. “I know they just have trouble with the audits. Some people have been in there years and years, they should have that stuff down pat.”
He said if elected he would “make sure audits are current and up to date and we should be able to pass them. I’m not saying they’re doing anything illegal, I’m just saying they have trouble with the audits. Don’t misquote me on that.”
He then said again, “I want to take the county in a new direction. If I go any further than that I’ll give my plan of attack away.”
Asked, “So what if you give your plan of attack away?” Myrick said goodbye and hung up, ending the conversation.
Margarita Hibbs has been chairwoman of the Torrance County Democratic Party, giving up the position to run for office. She is the former first lady of Estancia and ran for mayor of Estancia after her husband resigned due to health concerns.
“I’m running because I believe that it’s important to be part of the solution to restoring trust in effective government,” Hibbs said. “I think I have the skill set and the experience necessary to restore some trust to the people of Torrance County.
She has three main priorities, Hibbs said. Those are increased transparency in the office, improved communication between the treasurer and the county commission, and creating a culture of “collaboration and teamwork.”
Hibbs said part of her idea to help the public and even the county commission understand the county’s finances better would be to create diagrams showing where the county’s money comes from and where it is spent.
With funds coming from federal sources, state sources including capital outlay dollars, local property taxes and gross receipts taxes, some funds can only be spent for certain purposes, she explained. Hibbs said it would help people understand the budgeting process together if it were available in a graphic form.
“I think it’s good for citizens to know where it comes from. It’s important for helping people feel more engaged,” she said.
She said she would add to “checks and balances” in the treasurer’s office by staying familiar with contracts the county has entered into, to “ensure that the foundation is solid, that the numbers are stable.”
Hibbs said that while the treasurer has no role in deciding how the county’s funds are spent, to “improve and increase communication between the treasurer’s office and the county commission” is her goal. “If in fact the current communication system is working… I think the question hangs there. Is the current system working? I think a lot of voters would disagree it’s been working.”
The treasurer’s office is “the most nonpartisan job” in the county, she said. “It’s strictly about this is the taxpayer money. It’s important to be really accountable for that and facilitate a better understanding of that.”
Hibbs said she has been “a community collaborative team worker” throughout her life. “It’s an accountability position and a numbers position. I’m not suggesting that the people now in office aren’t compassionate and kind—I think they are. But as a county we need to stop being so contentious with each other and start governing effectively in a non-combative fashion.”