By: Izabella Kubiak and Connor Currier
Residents of the Los Ranchos village will vote to either re-elect Mayor Donald Lopez or a new mayor on Nov. 7. Three candidates are running against the current mayor: George Radnovich, Gilbert Benavides, and Joe Craig.
Lopez has been elected as a trustee for several years and has served as Mayor since May 2018.
Lopez, if reelected, plans to continue projects started under his administration, like the construction of the “Palindrome project” for affordable housing at the intersection of Osuna and 4th Street.
“The village center project is a mixed-use development,” Lopez said. “It’s a place for Los Ranchos to gather.”
If elected as Mayor, Radnovich’s primary focus will be tackling affordable housing and improving Los Ranchos’ open space.
“There is a need for more affordable housing within the village while at the same time respecting the village character, and the current administration hasn’t shown to be able to do that very well,” Radnovich said.
Los Ranchos’s second mayoral candidate is Gilbert Benavides. Gilbert Benavides is a multi-generational New Mexican and is an engineer involved with Sandia Labs.
Benavides wants to create open lines of communication with village residents and preserve agricultural roots in Los Ranchos.
“It’s our job to look out there and try to find a solution where everyone can be at least somewhat happy with, right? And the important thing is to give them (the villagers) a voice,” Benavides said.
Benavides, if elected as mayor, will continue ‘character’ projects in Los Ranchos.
“I have the right vision for the village, and I’d like to get things done. I think 4th Street is an important project to continue with to revitalize that. I understand what people mean by village character,” Benavides said.
The final mayoral candidate for Los Ranchos is Joe Craig. Craig is the founder of Craig & Company and is an engineer. If elected, his focus will be on the preservation of heritage and solving traffic issues in Los Ranchos.
“I founded the Los Ranchos Historical Society and I feel a connection with Los Ranchos and preserving its natural beauty for future generations,” Craig said.
If elected as mayor, Craig wants to tackle speeding and traffic overflow in partnership with the Department of Transportation.
“Traffic, traffic, traffic. I have walked every Street in the North Valley, all the way to Sandia Pueblo, and asked them what their problem is, and its speeding and its traffic. So, traffic control is number one,” Craig said.
Lopez, if he is not re-elected as Mayor, hopes New Mexicans will remember his dedication to service.
“I want to be Mayor to serve the people. The people I have served and have known for years like me. I don’t have a problem meeting with folks that don’t know me as well.” said Lopez. “It’s all about electing the right person who can get the job done right.”
Voting will be held on Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., and early voting day polling locations can be posted on the losranchosnm.gov website.