Sanders faces May in commissioner race

The new District 2 county commissioner in Roosevelt County will face a number of difficult decisions, from road and budget issues to an overcrowded jail.
The battle is between Democrat David Sanders and Republican Charles May.
While early voting continues, election day is Tuesday.
The current District 2 County Commissioner Chad Davis decided not to run for re-election. Davis served from 2000 to 2004.
“I have a young family with two young sons (ages 3 and 6) that I want to spend more time with,” Davis said. “I know both of the candidates and I know they are both qualified candidates.”
Davis said the winner of the election will be faced with tough decisions, especially regarding road issues.
“They’re going to have to get money back into the county from the state,” Davis said. “Roads are a high priority in the district. It’s a highly industrial district with major dairies. There is a lot of traffic even though there are fewer roads than in other districts because of the dairies.”
Sanders works as a lobbyist for Roosevelt County and is the Roosevelt County representative for the Ute Water Project. He served as a county commissioner from 1990 to 2000.
Sanders said he was forced to quit as county commissioner because of term limits.
May said he favors term limits.
“I feel like there should be a limit in years of service for all of our government representatives,” May said. “I supported (U.S. Sen.) Pete Domenici and he represented us well his first years as a representative, but I don’t feel that is the case anymore. I think it’s the same thing with (U.S. Sen.) Jeff Bingaman.”
Sanders said he feels his experience as a commissioner is an advantage.
“I have dealt with budgets, sheriff and road departments,” he said. “I have lobbied in Santa Fe for Roosevelt County and know what they expect.”
May said he has served on the Elida school board and with Roosevelt County Electric Co-op.
One issue commissioners dealt with recently was an increase in pay for Roosevelt County sheriff’s deputies. The pay hike was approved early this month, outside of the normal budget session, which is in April and May.
Candidate May said the timing was wrong.
“I’m not saying they don’t deserve a pay raise, but let’s do it during the budget session,” he said. “It could have been done in the spring of 2004 or spring of 2005. It opens the door for other departments to make budget requests outside of the budget session.”
The overcrowding of Roosevelt County Detention Center is also something the winning candidate will have to tackle with the help of the other commissioners.
“There has to be something we have to do to eliminate the large amount of detainees because we can’t afford it,” Sanders said. “We should continue the work programs for inmates. We need to do more to discourage them from being repeat offenders.”
County commissioners have explored the cost of a new detention center, which would be between $3.6 million and $5.2 million depending on size. They have also explored portable jail facilities added to the current RCDC, but those plans fell through when General Marine Leasing of New Orleans could not arrange a trip for commissioners and RCDC Administrator Jesse Luera to view a portable facility in operation.
“I’m standing on the outside looking in, but I believe if it’s at all financially feasible then we need to bite the bullet and (build a new detention center),” May said. “We may have to do it through property or other taxes.”
District 1 County Commissioner Dennis Lopez is running uncontested.