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Our picks for primary

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By Optic Editorial Board

4th Judicial District Judge
Voters in San Miguel, Mora and Guadalupe counties are fortunate to have three exceptionally qualified candidates running for the district judge post. Simply put, we don’t think there’s a bad choice among the three Democrats seeking the job, and that’s a good thing considering how critical the position is. Anna Aragon, Suzanne Gaulin and Gerald Baca are all veteran attorneys who know the law inside and out. That said, we are endorsing Gerald Baca for the position because he is the only one of the three who has actually served in the position. He has been appointed to the bench twice and has served as a judge for more than two years. He will be able to hit the ground running if he’s elected.

San Miguel County Magistrate Judge Division 1
Three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for this position: Las Vegas Police Chief Christian Montaño, businessman Mark Dominguez and paralegal Ruth Trujillo. We recommend Montaño for the position because of his successful tenure as chief of the Las Vegas Police Department. Running the city police force is no easy task, but Montaño has served his department well, demonstrating the right temperament and the desire to do the right thing. He has handled his job with integrity, and we feel that will help him succeed if he ends up being the next Division 1 magistrate judge.

San Miguel County Commissioner, District 1
We urge voters to re-elect Ron Ortega to the County Commission. Ortega has been an engaged commissioner who asks lots of questions and strives to make the best decisions possible for San Miguel County. We admire Rock Ulibarri for his work with our community’s youth, but we worry about his misguided support for community rights ordinances. We’ve long expressed our opinion that community rights ordinances, like the one adopted by Mora County, are unconstitutional and have no chance of being upheld by the courts. They attempt to do away with long- established constitutional rights, and while the intent may be good, the likely outcome should San Miguel County decide to go down that road will be protracted litigation for the county and its taxpayers. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to protect our county from the environmental consequences of fracking, but let’s do it in a manner that is legal. For those reasons, we endorse Ortega for the District 1 Commission seat.

San Miguel County Commissioner, District 3
There’s an old saying that 80 percent of success is simply bothering to show up. We bring this up because one of the candidates running for this position didn’t even bother to answer a few questions to give you, our readers, an idea of where he stands on the issues in this weekend’s Optic Voter’s Guide. We’re speaking about commission candidate Albert J. Padilla, who politely declined to participate in the Q&A’s featured in the voter guide. In our view, that’s simply unacceptable for a candidate seeking your vote. By contrast, incumbent Art Padilla did take the time to respond. Beyond that, Art Padilla has been a dedicated public servant, taking your calls and doing his best to advocate for his constituents. We endorse Art Padilla for this position.

Editor’s Note: Endorsements will continue in Friday’s edition.