District 2 County Commission candidates share thoughts

By Sarah Meyer, PNT Staff Writer

David Sanders faces opposition in his bid for re-election to the District 2 County Commission seat.

Sanders, a Republican, is being challenged by Rick Leal, also a Republican. The winner of the primaryelection will be the sole candidate in the general election.

Sanders, 72 and retired, has held several elected offices. He said he is working on several projects that he would like to see completed and enjoys the challenge of trying to keep the county running smoothly.

Leal, 50 and general manager of the Roosevelt County Water Cooperative, also has held elected offices and currently is assistant fire chief for Dora. He said he is interested in the county’s welfare, has relevant experience, and wants to give back to the community.

Here is what they had to say on some of the top issues facing the county:

Increased fuel expense/road maintenance

Sanders: We’re going to have to start using caliche. It’s more expensive but requires less maintenance. When it’s dry like this, grading doesn’t do much good. We cannot afford to do what we’ve been doing. We have to be good stewards of our money and cut back where we can.

Leal: Don’t use equipment if we don’t have to. Don’t drive as much. Get with the state and try to get more money. We need to do a lot more lobbying in Santa Fe. If the county commissioners go as a group, we’ll have a stronger voice.

Trash/dead animals

Leal: I don’t know if it’s feasible, but maybe we could have an incinerator for dead animals. The ashes could be used for fertilizer.

Sanders: A lot of scrap metal is being picked up for recycling because the price is so high. I don’t know if there is a solution.

Water

Sanders: Water is a major issue. I’m on the Ute Water board and we’re hoping there’s some way we’ll be able to get that. It’s the only renewable water source we’ve got. I don’t think we’ll ever see the time we don’t have drinking water in the county, but we will see a time we don’t have irrigation.

Leal: We’re installing more meters where people are losing wells — they’re pumping up sand. The water situation is getting real severe. We need to watch our water use, cut down on lawn care. We need to try to back the Ute Water Pipeline as much as we can in Santa Fe and Washington, D.C.

Other comments

Leal: I’ll listen to the public. We’ll discuss it. We’re not going to please everybody, but I’ll look at what’s good for the people and the community.

Sanders: Commissioners are country people, country raised. You don’t spend it unless you’ve got it. Sometimes we have to say we can’t afford it.