Ten candidates file for March 4 election

By Emily Crowe and Kevin Wilson
CNJ staff writers

On the lone day to file for Clovis municipal races, 10 candidates filed for five races in the March 4 election.

Of the five races, only one is unopposed — Juan Garza faces no opposition for his fourth term as a commissioner for District 1.voteCheckMark2

In the other three city commission races, incumbent Len Vohs will face Gary Elliott in District 2, incumbent Fidel Madrid will face Gloria Wicker and Jose Griego in District 3 and Tom Martin will run against Jennifer Williams in District 4. The District 4 seat is open, with Dan Stoddard declining to file for a second term.

In the municipal judge race, Jan Garrett is running for re-election against Ray Mondragon.


Commission District 1

Juan F. Garza, incumbent

Garza, a local restaurant owner, has served three terms on the city commission since 2002. He also sits on the Clovis Community College Foundation Board of Directors.

“There’s a lot of things that are not finished yet,” Garza said of his decision to run for another term. “We’re still working on streets, we’re still working with water issues.”

Garza said he believes the city’s biggest issues are water conservation issues and streets.

“I’d like to help the community,” he said. “I’m not going to make a career out of this but I think I can still contribute to the community.”


Commission District 2

Len Vohs, incumbent

Vohs, sales manager for Rooney Moon Broadcasting, is seeking his third term with the commission. He currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem.

Prior to his election to the city commission, Vohs’ service including time boards for the chambers of commerce in Clovis and Portales, a term as president of Clovis American Little League and membership in the city’s Public Works commission before he took chair tasks as a commissioner.

“I still believe water is one of the biggest issues,” Vohs said, “and I intend to figure out how to make the Ute project a reality, as well as other water conservation efforts. We still need better roads and better streets, and I’ll continue what I’ve been doing.”


Gary L. Elliott

Elliott, the owner and operator of A1 Alignment, has never run for office and feels this is an opportunity to give back. He believes he can do a good job and be fair without any attachment to special interests.

“Of course, water is a big issue,” Elliott said. “We’ve got some streets, including some in my district, need to be prepared. We made some mistakes (on Beauty Health and Science Innovations), but there was no one person to blame.”


Commission District 3

Fidel M. Madrid, incumbent

With four years under his belt on the city commission, Madrid also serves on the city’s Public Works and Parks and Recreation committees, and represents the city with the Eastern Plains Council of Governments.

The retired UPS worker said the biggest need for Clovis is for people to start working together instead of fighting in order for the city to move forward.

“This is our city, this doesn’t belong to anyone else but us,” he said. “In my district, there’s a lot of stuff we need to do, but I think we need to quit this petty stuff and start working together for our city.”

One of Madrid’s priorities for his district is the installation of tee-ball fields at Potter Park.


Gloria Wicker

Former commissioner Wicker served the city from 2000 to 2004 and said she sat on several boards during her tenure.

Wicker, who is retired from the Santa Fe Railroad, said her decision to run came in part from several people in her district calling and asking her to do so.

“I don’t scare easily,” she said. “I am a Clovis native, born and raised in Clovis. My father was a commissioner in 1939, I believe it was. I’m very fond of Clovis and I usually try to go do anything for the best of Clovis.”


Jose A. Griego

Griego, a retired educator with Clovis schools, is running for his first city office. He ran twice unsuccessfully against George Dodge for the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Griego feels District 3 is underlooked when it comes to numerous aspects of city infrastructure and economic development.

“We need to have neighborhood meetings to organize a plan for improvement of District 3,” Griego said. “The city did a town hall meeting last February and it took seven months to put it together. I’m challenging that plan. It doesn’t reflect Clovis when the needs of District 3 aren’t included in that plan. The city needs to look at ways to improve the whole city and not just portions.”


Commission District 4

Thomas W. Martin III

Martin, a local restaurant owner, previously served on the city’s Planning and Zoning and Lodger’s Tax committees, and currently sits on the newly formed Economic Development Review Ad Hoc Committee.

“I felt the desire to serve the community,” he said of his decision to run for the seat.

Martin said he would not have run against an incumbent because he thought they were all doing a good job, but when he heard that former Commissioner Dan Stoddard would not be seeking re-election, he saw an opening.

“I would like to see the commission working together for the common good and to focus on Clovis issues,” he said.


Jennifer M. Williams

An office manager for her family’s agricultural insurance business, Williams is involved in local philanthropic organizations and church activities.

“I just thought we needed some different representation in our district and I’ve always been interested in it,” she said. “But I thought if you’re going to be interested, you might as well get involved.”

Williams said she sees the city’s biggest priority as getting over the hump of the Beauty Health Science Innovations issue and trying to figure out where things went wrong.

She is also interested in city issues such as water.


Municipal Judge

Jan M. Garrett, incumbent

A former court reporter, Garrett was first elected to the position in 2002 — the same year voters moved the position from part-time to full-time.

Attempts to contact Garrett Tuesday were unsuccessful.


Raymond Mondragon

Mondragon, a former police chief and city manager for Clovis, is currently serving as interim city manager at Santa Rosa as part of his duties with Eastern Plains Council of Governments. He has held numerous board and committee positions, including presidential terms with the Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce and the Curry County United Way. In his lone run for office in 2007, he lost to Charles Guthals by six votes for a position on the Clovis Community College Board of Trustees.

“I had thought about (running for a judge position) a long time ago when I retired as chief,” Mondragon said. “I decided against that because my wife was a judge’s clerk. She retired last year; however, and I decided municipal judge would be a better fit for me because of my knowledge of city ordinances.”

Fast facts

Important municipal election dates to remember:
•  Filing day for write-in candidates is 8 a.m. and 5 p.m Jan. 14 at the city clerk’s office.
•  Absentee voting begins Jan. 28.
•  Early voting begins Feb. 12 at the city clerk’s office during regular business hours.
•  Election day is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 4.