Forums offer opportunity

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By The Staff

This week, area voters will get a chance to see the candidates for county and legislative offices up close and personally. If you want to vote as an informed citizen, here’s an opportunity to get educated on the candidates and where they stand on the issues.

On June 3, voters in San Miguel County will select the Democratic nominees for three County Commission seats, county clerk and county treasurer. Meanwhile, Mora County voters will make selections for county commissioner, treasurer and clerk. And in other area races, voters will decide three Democratic races, for Districts 68 and 70 in the state House of Representatives and for Fourth Judicial District judge.

Republicans are also running in San Miguel County and have been invited to participate in the forums. But in four of the contested races, the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election, since no Republicans filed. Needless to say, such races elevate the importance of the upcoming election.

To help ensure that you are an informed voter, two candidate forums are being held this week. The Optic and the Committee for the People are sponsoring them, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The first one will focus on the District 70 House race, with incumbent Richard Vigil, Democratic challengers Naomi Montoya and Travis Regensberg, and Republican Mel Root. The second one will be for the two contested San Miguel County Commission seats — including Democrats Joe Lopez, Marcelino Ortiz, Eloy Gonzales and Ramon Lucero and Republican Mary Bridget Maloney in District 2, and Democrats Richard Maestas and Nicolas Leger and Republican Fred Romero in District 5. Both forums will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Memorial Middle School lecture hall.

Meanwhile, the Mora Taxpapers for Honest Government is trying to pull together a forum for District 3 County Commission candidates Laudente Quintana, the incumbent, and challenger Johnny Espinoza; county treasurer incumbent Ida Mora and challenger Dolores “Lola” Valdez; county clerk candidates Alfonso Griego, Christine Barela and Joanne Padilla; and District 68 House incumbent Thomas Garcia and challenger Bengie Regensberg. We hope the group gets the necessary cooperation from the candidates to provide such a service to Mora voters.

The forums are an opportunity for the candidates to present themselves to the larger community. It’s their chance to stand out, or not, by directly addressing citizens’ issues. Questions will mostly come from the audience, as citizen-initiated inquiries. So not only are the candidates’ responses informative, it’s interesting to hear what’s on voters minds.

We hope you will attend. After all, the best government begins with an informed citizenry.