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Two announce runs for commission

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By David Giuliani

Two area residents have announced their candidacies for the County Commission in this year’s Democratic primary.

Rancher Eloy Gonzales, 70, plans to run for the District 2 seat on the five-member commission. That district covers much of the western part of the county, including Pecos and San Juan.

Hugh Ley represents District 2 currently, but he is not allowed to run for a third consecutive term.

Former City Councilman Richard Maestas, 51, said he would put his name in for District 5, which covers much of the eastern part of the county, including Trementina, Trujillo and Conchas as well as part of the Railroad area and slivers of the east and west sides of Las Vegas.

Kenny Medina represents District 5, but he, like Ley, is term-limited.

Both Gonzales and Maestas will be candidates in the June 3 Democratic primary. In heavily Democratic San Miguel County, June 3 is when the races will likely be decided. No other candidates have announced their interest yet in the District 2 and District 5 seats.

District 4 Commissioner David Salazar’s is up for election. No one, including Salazar, has announced a candidacy in that district yet.

Gonzales, a Pecos resident, said he wants to serve the people of the county. He served two terms on the commission from 1993 to 2000.

He is a self-employed contractor, rancher and owner of a self-storage company.

Maestas, who lives on Railroad Avenue, worked for the county for 11 years, serving in such positions as appraiser, solid waste director, safety officer and administrator of the county fire departments.

He served as a city councilman from 2000 to 2004. He received an applied science associate’s degree in computer information systems.

Maestas said he is running to put his 11 years of experience in the county government to good use for the people.

“I’ve been in the trenches,” he said.

As a former administrator of volunteer fire departments, Maestas said he wants to provide resources for the firefighters. He said when he was an administrator, the county got four new buildings for the departments.

“These guys need a lot of help,” he said.

Maestas said he knows many state lawmakers, so he could essentially serve the county as a lobbyist, trying to get as much state money as possible. He said he would be a full-time commissioner, as he was on the City Council.

He said he could also get money for streets projects inside the city limits because those areas are also in the county.

Maestas said County Manager Les Montoya has done a good job.

“San Miguel County has advanced forward,” the candidate said.