Mayor Mark Gallegos and Councilor John Anthony Ortega are competing for the Office of Mayor of Questa. Councilors Charlie Gonzales and Louise Gallegos are both up for re-election and are running in order to retain their seats. Jason Gonzalez is a resident of Questa running for a seat on the Council.
Councilors Brent Jaramillo and John Anthony Ortega are secure in their seats until 2024.
If Councilor Ortega loses his bid for Mayor, he will still be on the Council. If he wins, the Council will appoint someone to fill the rest of that term.
To vote in municipal elections one must be a Village of Questa resident.
Why are you running for the Questa Village Council?
Mayor Mark Gallegos: I love my community, I love serving people, and I want to continue the work I’ve been doing over the past eight years. I was elected back in 2014. Two months after my election, the [Chevron] mine closed. I hoped I’d be the person to change the community’s identity from a mining town. Most mining towns turn into ghost towns when their jobs finally go away. I don’t want that.
Councilor John Ortega: I think many Questeños are ready for a change. I will focus on a better future for Questa. The youth of our community have been neglected for too long. Questa needs more facilities, such as a skatepark and rodeo grounds for our youth. We also need to better utilize the current facilities like the youth center and library, and have programs for our youth. We also need to add more jobs and workforce development to make Questa an area where our youth can come back and make a living here. The drug and crime problems need to be addressed. These problems are not being addressed right and too many Questeños are suffering because of it. I will bring the leadership and energy to get all of this done.
Councilor Charlie Gonzales: I am seeking to retain my position as Village Councilor to continue to make a difference and help shape the future of Questa and to ensure that the community’s interests are taken into account.
Councilor Louise Gallegos: To continue the good work we are doing and see some of our projects to completion, particularly Cabresto Road and the Business Park.
Jason Gonzalez: Seeking knowledge within our community brought me to the point to run for the Council. Throughout our lifetimes we are given an opportunity to provide stewardship for our lands. During this time, I will provide my voice.
What do you think is the most significant issue facing Questa today?
Mayor Mark Gallegos: Economic development. We need to invest in our anchor companies that are creating jobs here in order to get more people to dwell here.
Councilor John Ortega: There are two that are equally significant. The clear lack of local law enforcement, [as] the Taos County Sheriff’s Department is understaffed and busy in the Taos area. Questa needs its own Law Enforcement. The other issue is the roads are still a major problem and in desperate need of repair.
Councilor Charlie Gonzales: The most significant issue is coordinating with the school district on providing training programs that will benefit our Questa students, such as computer training, welding, carpentry, plumbing, etc. Securing funding for repair and replacement of aging infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer lines etc. Purchase of water rights. Ensuring that the Superfund Project is administered and adhered to per federal and state guidelines, for the protection of the citizens, such as the Plume contamination in the Embargo area. Encourage the mine to make the property at the Tailings Dam available to the public for recreation purposes. Lobbying for retired police officers to return to work without losing their retirement. Also lobbying for compensation for volunteer fire personnel to be compensated while fighting fires. I’d like for the governing body to consider making available the Youth Center Building for organizations such as Vida Del Norte, Quilting Group, Community meetings, etc.
Councilor Louise Gallegos: Our lack of law enforcement. Because of our financial situation we are unable to offer competitive pay for police officers. We are doing all we can to reorganize the Village budget.
Jason Gonzalez: Way of life in the north has begun to fade over the years. We are a people of hard work and self-sustainability. Continuing the tradition of farming and hunting should coincide with the modern world. We the people of Questa should be leading and showing our ways of life to folks visiting, and those who are becoming permanent residents, guiding them to our hidden treasures so there is a mutual respect gained between tourists, new landowners, and generational residents, [and] the ability to work cohesively with one another to make Questa a point of interest on the Enchanted Circle, and create a strong ethical economic base.
Why should people vote for you and what do you think are your best qualifications?
Mayor Mark Gallegos: I believe that I’m fortunate to have longevity. I’ve been a public servant here for 18 years, I’ve been Mayor for the past eight years, I’ve built relationships all throughout this community, and I roughly know how things work. I would like to continue the work I’ve been doing with keeping this community together as well as trying to get it to grow.
Councilor John Ortega: Two of my greatest values are my honesty and integrity, and I will always remain true to those values. I have been a voice for the people for the last six years on the Village Council. I have gained the knowledge, experience, and understanding during the last six years to be the strong and effective leader that Questa needs. I have lived in Questa most of my life and have no personal gain in running for Mayor; I am only doing this for the people of the Village of Questa.
Councilor Charlie Gonzales: I have the experience and knowledge of local and state government, along with the skills and qualifications needed to fulfill this position. I participated in the success of the following:
- Design and construction of the new Taos County complex.
- Acquiring land for the Veterans Cemetery where our veterans can be laid to rest.
- New addition to the municipal library.
- Expansion of the N.C.R.T.D. Blue Bus routes and new buses.
- Allocated funding to build a new municipal water well, replacement and paving of water and sewer lines on Cabresto Road (scheduled completion, spring of 2022).
- Allocated funding for renovating the La Cienega school buildings.
- Acquired funding for replacement and repairs to the Embargo Road and river crossing bridges.
- Infrastructure to the Business Park which include water, sewer, paving, electrical hook-ups, etc.
- Purchase and maintenance funding for a new ambulance for the Village of Questa.
- Solicited funding from US Senator Ben Ray Lujan for a new fire station at the Business Park.
- Solicited our late State Senator Carlos R. Cisneros (and continue to solicit our State Senator Bobby J. Gonzales) to acquire funding from capital outlay to meet the needs of our community.
- Due to this governing body working together on these projects we have brought more than $9,940,824.00 in funding to the Village of Questa.
Councilor Louise Gallegos: I’m fair, I’m honest, I listen to the people, and I base my vote on what’s in the best interests of the Village of Questa and its citizens.
Jason Gonzalez: Respect for the office and colleagues. The role of holding public office is carrying the voice of our community. Communication is key with all parties involved moving forward.