Voters’ Guide

City Council

District 1

District 3

District 5

District 7

District 9

Candidates for Albuquerque City Council

map of Albuquerque City Council districts

The City Council is the legislative authority of the city. It has the power to adopt all ordinances, resolutions, or other legislation conducive to the welfare of the people of the city.

The Council is made up of nine members, elected on staggered terms, with four or five districted Councilors elected every two years.

Four-year term. Must be at least eighteen years of age, a United States citizen, a registered, qualified elector of the city and a resident of the city for at least one year prior to the date of filing their Declaration of Candidacy. Must submit a petition containing the signatures of 500 registered city voters within the district to the City Clerk within a period specified by the City Charter. Salary: Councilors serving districts 1,3,5,7 and 9 earn $17,500 annually and if the council president is from one of these districts they earn $19,500 annually. Councilors serving districts 2, 4, 6 and 8 earn $30,000 annually. If the Council President is from one of these districts they earn $32,000 annually. Councilor salaries are set by the Citizens Independent Salary Commission.




City Council District 1

Javier R. Benavidez

Javier R. BENAVIDEZ

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor? (80 words)

Grew up much of my life on Albuquerque’s West Side and now my wife and I are raising our five children here too. Extensive record as a community organizer and fighter for social justice including the last three years as director of the SouthWest Organizing Project. Two master’s degrees: community & regional planning and public administration. Worked as policy analyst to then-City Councilors Martin Heinrich, Eric Griego, Debbie O’Malley and Isaac Benton. Experience at local, state, and federal government levels.

What are the top priorities for your district? (80 words)

Quality of life (empowered neighborhoods, community beautification, revitalization), economic justice (higher wages, early childhood education, dismantling predatory lending, earned sick leave), public safety (funding for first responders, community policing, addiction treatment, etc.), and smart growth (quality economic development, not more Wal-Marts and strip malls). Poorly planned sprawl (a result of big developers’ influence) has resulted in heavy traffic, over-crowded schools, inadequate parks, and mass foreclosures. Compassionate and long-term investment programs in our communities such as senior meals and youth employment.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done? (80 words)

Many big developers have exerted heavy influence over local politics and made a killing building subdivision after subdivision on Albuquerque’s West Side without a balanced emphasis on responsible development. Quality economic development has not followed and most workers have to cross the Rio Grande to and from work. Rather than the A.R.T boondoggle, Albuquerque should have built out meaningful solutions to move workers around the city, including improving north/south public transit routes and Intelligent Transportation Systems to ease traffic congestion.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would you address them? (80 words)

Property crime is a major challenge and it’s a direct outcrop of our city’s struggles with addiction and poverty. Putting somebody into a revolving door jail doesn’t solve much. We need a robust anti-poverty plan and resources to rebuild the mental health system that Governor Martinez dismantled. Community policing needs to have an emphasis on civil rights protections and positive relationships with neighborhoods. City Councilors have an acute responsibility for holding police accountable for travesties like the shootings between 2010-2014.


Johnny F. Luevano

Johnny F. LUEVANO

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor? (80 words)

I am a native New Mexican who has dedicated my personal and professional life to serve our country and community. After high school I joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a Private and after serving 20 years I retired as a Captain. I have two bachelor degrees from the University Of New Mexico in Economics and Political Science. I also attained a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. Currently I specialize in Business Process Improvement.

What are the top priorities for your district? (80 words)

My top priority is reducing crime in our neighborhoods and protecting our families. Our current elected officials have failed to protect our neighborhoods and crime has gotten worse under their watch. I believe I am uniquely qualified to properly address the crime problem by utilizing my prior military experience. I will be “Marine” tough on crime: No excuses, taking responsibility, supporting our officers and delivering results. I will get us to 1200 APD officers or I will not seek re-election.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done? (80 words)

Transportation is definitely a problem on the Westside of Albuquerque and the current Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project has only made the problem worse. There are 7 bridges to move traffic from the Eastside to the Westside of the city and ART essentially removes one of those avenues in order to run an empty bus across town. The ART funding could have could have been used to fund another similar Paseo Del Norte bridge crossing to better alleviate city traffic.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would you address them? (80 words)

The entire city is seeing similar crime patterns of vehicle theft, residential break-in property theft, mail box theft and violent homicides. The intersection of Coors and Central has seen some very violent homicides over the past couple of years and I will research the possibility of relocating the Southwest Area Command Substation to this high traffic intersection in order to increase APD visibility. Another goal will be to develop and implement the best neighborhood watch program in the city.


Ken Sanchez

Ken SANCHEZ

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

I’ve dedicated my life to fight against the challenges and injustices our community has faced. I know the heart and soul of the district and its people. I have lived on Albuquerque’s Westside for over fifty years. My family and I operate Gilbert Sanchez Tax & Accounting Service, a firm my dad established in 1963, located on Albuquerque’s West Side. I currently serve on the Albuquerque City Council, served twice as Council President and served on the Bernalillo County Commission.

What are the top priorities for your district?

Public safety is the number one priority. A safe city is necessary to have a prosperous community. Creating new jobs is essential for the district. I sponsored legislation and will continue to advocate for a medical campus and hospital at 118th and I-40 to help improve the health and economic opportunities for our city and district. We must complete Unser Crossing and the activity center next to the new Patrick J. Baca Library that we as a community had envisioned.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

Albuquerque’s Westside continues to grow, we face major challenges meeting transportation needs for the district. Integrating land use and transportation planning is critical to reduce congestion and encourage transit oriented development and assure public involvement in planning. We need high density residential and commercial development on premium transit corridors to create more jobs to reduce the jobs/housing imbalance and reduce river crossings. Working closely with the legislative delegation on Albuquerque’s Westside we expanded the exit ramps at I-40 Unser and 98th St.

What type of crimes most affect your district and how would you address it?

All crime in the district affects the entire community and must be addressed. People must feel safe in their homes, parks and places of business. We need more police officers to accomplish this. The optimum number of APD officers should be 1,200. We need community based policing to improve and restore trust in our neighborhoods. I sponsored legislation that increased longevity to retain experienced officers, increased salaries to attract qualified officers and created 50 PSA positions to improvement recruitment.


Sandra M. Mills

Sandra M. MILLS

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

I have a strong financial background which will be an asset to our City Council in making sound decisions regarding education, specifically technical training of our younger workers and unemployed. My extensive experience with big and small businesses will be an asset in establishing relationships and negotiations with potential employers evaluating a business venture in Albuquerque. My dedication to our City through volunteerism would also be an asset to organize training programs using volunteers whenever possible.

What are the top priorities for your district?

The West side must be a safe place to live. Until we address the onslaught of criminal activity in our neighborhoods, we are not free to focus on other issues. That said; I see the potential for business growth on the West Side. There is a need to address the lack of technical training in order to entice new business ventures to take a risk on Albuquerque. And, not just any business, but companies that pay a living wage.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

This is a question I will have to ask the citizens that live on the West Side and listen carefully. As long as we have to cross the river during rush hour, (east in the morning, and west in the afternoon) there is a problem. More business ventures on the west side will alleviate this somewhat.

What type of crimes most affect your district and how would you address them?

All types of crime affect us all, no matter what part of the City. As a City Councilor, I see my job to be involved in determining what is making us most anxious, asking the tough questions of our law enforcement, pushing for those resources that are needed to secure our safety, and working with the citizens of my District to make sure we get it right.




City Council District 3

Christoper Rudolph Sedillo

Christopher Rudolph SEDILLO

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

Dedicated, committed and served my country, for 26 years in the Navy. Goal oriented and committed to community. I will work tirelessly for the people. My experience in the NM State Police academy will be beneficial to understanding the crisis facing APD. Proven accomplishments: Associate Degree Liberal Arts, Navy Paratrooper, Caregiver for relative, Volunteer for Cancer retreat, Blue Warrior Honor Guard; completed 125 details, earning my CDL. Holding myself and City Hall accountable to people. New ideals, not career politician.

What are the top priorities for your district?

Top priorities for my district would be economic opportunity for everyone. Work with local business to bring more jobs and opportunity. Developing Unser crossing that has been sitting vacant for years. Fixing roads on the Westside, where they have been neglected for too long. While obtaining signatures to get on the ballot, speeding on some streets was a major concern. I would collaborate with engineers and see what can be done to make these streets safer.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

Yes, transportation for district 3 bus line only goes to 98th St. There are no bus services running through 114th St. Extend the bus route so it would go through 114th St. and add a couple of bus stops on 114th St. This neighborhood has no service for public transportation; you have to walk two miles to the closest bus stop on 98th St. The facilities located here are the animal shelter and firemen academy.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would address them?

Property crime and public safety are major concerns. I would address them by examining the root causes ie. poverty, drug addiction and mental illness and by providing resources to change behavior. The increase in property crime has also lead to increases in aggravated assault. This is alarming when people do not feel safe in their own homes. Expand the Police Service Aide program. Improve morale in the ranks and aggressively recruit more candidates for the APD academy classes.


Klarissa J. Peña

Klarissa J. PEÑA

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

I have served my first term as Albuquerque City Councilor District 3, 2013-present. Previously, I led the community work for the South West Alliance of Neighbors and the West Central Community Development Group. I fought for the needs of our community in a volunteer capacity and as your city councilor I have continued the work and during my first term, over 50 million dollars has been invested in our community. I have supported and introduced legislation that matters.

What are the top priorities for your district?

Jobs and public safety. I am identifying economic development opportunities to create a thriving and vibrant community to live, work, and play. I am working on a visitors center a top of Nine Mile Hill on Central, classifying the Crest View Bluff as open space, new community center for West Gate, SV adult respite center, constructing Anderson Heights Park, and we will be breaking ground on the memorial park for the women and unborn child who lost their lives needlessly.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

Yes, during my first term I have worked with the transit department to add additional routes for the district and I am partnering with the County to help address basic transportation needs. Also, working to bring jobs and retail opportunities to the area so that residents don’t have to travel across the river to access these basic amenities. We need a comprehensive, citywide approach to transit.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would you address them?

Auto theft and residential burglary. The southwest area command does an outstanding job of being proactive and working with the community through a community-policing model that was established years ago to curtail crime and by using crime data to determine spikes in certain areas to then develop a policing plan to combat, while working closely with the community. This strategy was established many years ago and has been successful. I will continue to support this model and investment in officers to safeguard public safety.




City Council District 5

Robert J. Aragon

Robert J. ARAGON

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

I was born in Albuquerque, and have lived on the Westside since 1962. I know the neighborhoods and the people who live here. Peggy and I raised our daughters here. I served my community at many levels of government; NM State Legislature, Vice Chair ABQ City Charter Revision Task Force, President of ENMU Board of Regents, currently member of the NM Board of Finance. My passion for public service drives me to find innovative solutions that will make Albuquerque succeed and prosper.

What are the top priorities for your district?

My top priorities are reducing crime and properly staffing APD. Additionally, people on the Westside have made it clear that APS is failing and are demanding an independent Westside school district, which is imperative for the Westside to achieve its full potential. Finally, we must work to create jobs and viable economic growth, we must reduce the job killing and economic stifling bureaucratic regulations, overreaching ordinances, and burdensome taxes.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

As any community experiencing rapid growth, as District 5 is seeing, transportation is always an issue. Our City Planning and Transportation Departments have failed not only the city (i.e. the ill-conceived ART project), but in particular the Westside. We must concentrate on North/South corridors and encourage future commercial development along these routes with well-developed transportation arteries to residential communities.

What type of crimes most affect your district and what would you do to address them?

All crimes, whether felonious or not, negatively impact our city, its people, and our way of life. The Westside has experienced a high rate of property and auto theft, as has the rest of Albuquerque. To combat this epidemic, we must properly staff APD and utilize all city resources, faith-based groups, business communities, and neighborhood organizations. City leaders must open meaningful dialogue with the courts, law enforcement agencies, and state/federal prosecutors to develop a strategic plan to battle crime at its root cause.


Catherine A. Trujillo

Catherine A. TRUJILLO

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

I am honored to serve as the current Vice-President of the Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association and helped find solution to issues in our neighborhood and on the West Side. I have been a business consultant in workforce development, and there is dire need to increase economic growth in Albuquerque. Our youth deserve the opportunity to succeed after completing school. I also have training in mental health and suicide prevention and awareness giving me a unique perspective to address mental health.

What are the top priorities for your district?

District 5’s top priorities are public safety and jobs. My first priority is to make sure the police department is fully staffed. We cannot grow the economy if without a safe community. We need to invest in infrastructure to attract high paying jobs to the district. We need to identify local businesses with growth potential and help them succeed. There is currently a jobs housing imbalance that must be addressed to improve the quality of life for the West Side.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

Traffic is a huge concern for District 5 residents. Most residents travel over the river for work and sit in an hour of traffic. Investing in our local companies helps with company expansion and high wage positions move to the West Side while we work to lower our high unemployment rate. I want to create another Rapid Ride Transit Station on the West Side to help with limited parking at the current Northwest Transit Station.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would you address them?

All crime on the West Side is a problem and needs to be addressed. The safety of our families and businesses is important for the success of the District and Albuquerque. City Hall is struggling to reduce crime because of a shortage of police officers. I encourage residents to report crime which gives our police area command up-to-date information on current crime rates, trends and number of officers needed. We need community and budgetary changes to improve officer retention.


Cynthia D. Borrego

Cynthia D. BORREGO

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

28 years as an Albuquerque City Planner, where I worked to resolve business and neighborhood community issues, including inner-city neighborhoods, related to policy, development, zoning, land use, crime, infrastructure and social issues. Currently serve as AMAFCA Vice-Chair, member of MRGCOG Regional Water Board, and 2nd Vice-Chair of Rio Grande Credit Union. Served eight years on PERA State Retirement Board (2xChair), hold Master's Degree in Public Administration, UNM.

What are the top priorities for your district?

Public Safety. Jobs. I'm outraged. We need to increase the number of officers on the street, work to take repeat offenders off the street, support community mental health program, reinstate community policing, strengthen neighborhood watch programs, and cultivate an economy that provides opportunity for all. We need an economy that is thriving. We must create an economy that works for everyone and gives everyone an opportunity to succeed by supporting our small businesses and encouraging businesses to expand into Albuquerque.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

Yes, a serious issue. There are only four access points across the river, and jobs are mostly located on the east side. The need for improved, effective and efficient transportation modes (including Transit), and infrastructure improvements is critical. Areas requiring immediate attention are the intersections of Paseo del Norte and Eagle Ranch Road; Paseo del Norte and Universe Blvd. and the proposed future North/South Bypass to Rio Rancho. We need a comprehensive approach to transit in this city.

What type of crimes most affect your district and what you would you address them?

The APD crime statistics map shows auto-theft and auto-burglary to be the highest crimes in District 5. It's critical that more patrol officers are hired. We need to expand community policing programs, and encourage and expand neighborhood crime prevention programs, working in conjunction with organized neighborhood associations and homeowners associations, and utilize social apps like Nextdoor, Facebook, and Twitter to gain 'more eyes on the street.' We need new leadership, we need a new direction within APD.




City Council District 7

Diane G. Gibson

Diane G. GIBSON

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

My father instilled in me a strong work ethic and my mother encouraged a civic sense and service to others. With these attributes and determination, I have built a reputation of truthful, caring representation for District 7.

What are the top priorities for your district?

Crime and public safety come up more than anything else. We need to meet our goal of 1000 officers and find immediate relief for people who feel like “sitting ducks” for law breakers acting with impunity. My ordinance will slow the fencing of stolen goods. But ensuring success requires building a strong moral community, starting with school children. I work with ABC Community Schools, Boys and Girls Club, United Way and others that effectively inspire self-confidence and leadership in youth.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

It is not enough to simply put in a high profile system on Central. Our goal should be having a first class transit system throughout the City, including more north-south buses, and better connections with east-west travel. We should also encourage bicycling and walking as I have done by constructing new and improving existing bike routes. We have conducted many studies and made improvements to streets throughout the District to improve safety for motorists as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.

What type of crimes most affect your district and would you address them?

Burglaries and auto thefts plague District 7. The solution, while both complex but achievable, involves addiction education, prevention and treatment; law enforcement; and appropriate prosecution. All must be funded to be effective. During my term I sponsored a career day at UNM and supported generous pay increases for APD. I partnered with UNMH and the US Attorneys Office in their Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education initiative (HOPE) and will continue to support City funding for the District Attorneys Office.


Eric L. LuceroLu

Eric L. LUCERO

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

My 30 years in insurance, private security, retail sales, and the military affords me a skill set that easily transitions me to serve as your Councilor. I’m a customer service and results orientated leader. As an Airman and Soldier, I have acquired practical and applicable experience in both Logistics Management and in Public Safety. Additionally, I’ve successfully acquired civilian staff experience with several NM state legislators between five volunteer combat military deployments. My customers-constituents have always come first!

What are the top priorities for your district?

Clearly, crime is my top priority. The APD is acutely under-staffed, and the criminals know it, especially in District 7. From 350 to 450 sworn APD officers are needed to return us to pre-2010 staffing levels. Our city must be made safe before any plans and programs designed to manage chronic homelessness and/or provide critical behavioral health services can successfully take hold. Secondarily, suffering small and medium sized businesses in my district will not be ignored or abandoned again!

Is Transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

My volunteers and I found while canvassing thousands of doors in District 7, that a majority shun our Rapid Ride system primarily due to violent harassment and panhandling concerns. Security has been improved, but negative perceptions persist. Residents resent and reject the ART due to its cost, location, and because they were only allowed a non-binding vote after the fact! The incumbent councilor either ignored or was ignorant of their concerns. I would not spend another dime on it!

What types of crimes most affect your district and how would you address them?

According to recent APD, FBI, and Regional Insurance statistics, record auto thefts and auto break-ins are occurring in and around the Coronado and Windrock Shopping Centers and affect us all. Pockets of residential, commercial burglaries and armed robberies that envelop our district plague us. My remedy: pre-2010 levels of investigative, gang units and sworn service patrol staffing must be restored. Budgeting priorities must change! I’m a firm believer in the ‘broken window’ rule; either repair it, or suffer the consequences.




City Council District 9

Paul Ryan McKenney

Paul Ryan McKENNEY

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

As a military veteran I possess a keen sense of service to my fellow citizens, and this focus will drive my decision-making as a councilor. Perhaps my greatest qualification is my love of Albuquerque, my home town, and my vision for making it a wonderful, safe and family-friendly place to live again.

What are the top priorities for your district?

Public safety is my top priority. We need more officers patrolling the streets. APD needs more officers, and I believe the only way that we will be able to recruit them is by improving the image of APD. My goal is to ensure Albuquerque’s next police chief is supportive of completing the DOJ consent decree, having a transparent department, and being subject to civilian oversight. Beyond public safety, my other priorities are making it easier for constituents to start their own business by reducing or eliminating regulations.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

We have some roads that are in poor shape in district 9, but overall I don’t think that transportation is a major problem. As the city looks at improving roads and public transit, the East end of Central needs to be on the priority list so that District 9 commuters spare their cars from the wear and tear of this poor condition roadway.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would you address them?

Property crimes and in particular car thefts and house burglaries are the biggest crime problems that we have in District 9. I believe the best way to address property crime is to have more officers patrolling the neighborhoods on foot and on bicycles. My goal is to establish community policing as a standard procedure instead of just a talking point. The citizens of District 9 deserve to feel safe and secure in their homes.


Don F. Harris

Don F. HARRIS

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

I have been endorsed by the rank and file police officers in the Albuquerque Police Officers Association and the rank and file firefighter in the Albuquerque Area Fire Fighters. I have always fought for better pay for police and for increasing the size of the police force. I have fought for and obtained expanded fire fighter and paramedic service. I have successfully completed many projects in my district: Southern Boulevard, Jeanne Bellamah Community Center, Four Hills Park, and many others.

What are the top priorities for your district?

The top priority for my district is the same priority for the City, which is crime. First, we need to obtain more police officers. This is a matter of basic economics. If we compensate them better, we will retain the ones we have and recruit new ones. This will be a significant expense and require difficult choices to get this done. Second, we need to work with the other agencies to see that career criminals and repeat offenders are detained.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

When transportation is interpreted as well maintained roads with appropriate capacity to move traffic, that is not a significant problem in District 9. There are concerns about the trend of reducing travel lanes on some roads, such as Zuni. This is opposed by many in my district although Zuni is not in District 9. I expanded the Rapid Ride service to Tramway as a Councilor and I will continue to look for ways to expand public transportation, within budget constraints.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would you address them?

Property crime is the most significant problem, although violent crime is a rising concern. A Councilor on a nine-member board in a very strong mayor system of government can only do so much. The main tool the City Council has is the budget. As the Budget Director this past year, I fought the Mayor and other Councilors and successfully directed more funding to public safety, in particular police compensation and recruitment. I will never stop fighting.


Byron K. Powdrell

Byron K. Powdrell

What makes you qualified to be a city councilor?

I am a servant leader—authentic and trustworthy. I acquired these qualities growing up in the Powdrell’s Barbeque family restaurant business where customer service, excellence and community philanthropy were priorities. As a lifelong resident of District 9, I continue my family’s legacy through volunteer service on city boards {Urban Enhancement & Headstart Policy Council) and through the successful community radio station I operate 24/7. I vow to bring constituent-focused dialogue to what has become a dysfunctional bureaucratic City Council-led monologue.

What are the top priorities for your district?

Top priority is directing citywide integrated public safety overhauls that include optimum police presence, quality zoning enforcement and appropriate behavioral health services. We must restore a sense of community safety that is long-term and does not simply move the problem to another neighborhood. Further, I’ll use my broadcasting and marketing background to create a true dialogue with the residents to restore credibility and trust--the keys to developing constituent-driven agendas that serve not only District 9, but the entire city.

Is transportation a problem in your district? What needs to be done?

Adequate public transportation is a citywide issue that affects some District 9 residents. If we create a system that MEETS the needs of our most vulnerable transit-dependent citizens, it will exceed the need for residents who can choose to use public transit to reduce individual carbon footprints. Overall, we need increased frequency, buses running later in the evening, earlier in the morning, on holidays and weekends and we need to teach our kids early the benefits of using public transportation.

What type of crimes most affect your district and you would you address them?

Sadly, our city is #2 and #3 in property and violent crimes, respectively. Community policing strategies have proven effective in other cities and could work here. Strong neighborhood associations and an active, engaged constituency are key elements to reducing crime. I’ll work with established entities to spearhead a comprehensive overall review of the city’s current disjointed public safety approach. We desperately need cross sector collaboration – government, private and non-profit sector to find solutions to this District 9 and citywide crisis.