ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The longest-serving current representative on Albuquerque City Council, Brad Winter is now getting ready to say goodbye to his position.
After 20 years representing “district 4” or Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, Winter is in the last few weeks of his final term on council. Come 2020, he’ll be replaced by a new councilor, Brooke Bassan.
“You know for me, it was wonderful,” Winter said in an interview with KRQE News 13 Friday. “I mean it’s time for me to move on and let someone else (do the job), and I think (Bassan’s) going to do an excellent job.”
Winter’s two-decade city council-run began in October 1999 after defeating incumbent city councilor Sam Bregman. Winter watched the voting results from his living room on election night, unsure if he’d win.
“I remember I was in my house because I didn’t want to have a party, I wasn’t sure I was going to win,” Winter said.
The council race represented Winter’s first try at running for elected office. At the time, Winter was a vice principal at La Cueva High School. He says he ran for council to give the board an educator’s perspective.
“What I get most satisfaction out of is representing my constituents,” Winter said. “I really have enjoyed being a city councilor.”
In 2005, Winter attempted a run for Albuquerque mayor, but lost to incumbent Marty Chavez, who won his third term that year. He continued his work on council, leading the district through projects including the Paseo del Norte flyover. Winter says he’s most proud of the North Domingo Baca Multi-Generational Community Center which will soon open a gymnasium, while plans are in the works to build a pool at the site.
“I’m very happy with that because we didn’t have any community centers up there,” Winter said.
Winter says he sees traffic safety as one of his district’s continued issues. Major thoroughfares Paseo del Norte, Wyoming and Alameda Boulevards all sit within Winter’s district.
“How can we balance all the traffic with the neighborhoods and keep their quality of life?” Winter said.
Winter says he’s also proud of helping write the bill that made what is now known as the Civilian Police Oversight Board. When asked about crime, Winter said he thinks the city is on the right path for tackling crime by putting its focus on hiring more officers.
“The number one priority that’s going to fix crime is to get tons of more police officers on the street,” Winter said.
In 1999, Winter told KRQE News 13 that he saw collaboration as one of the key things he wanted to bring to Albuquerque City Council. A Republican, Winter was often outnumbered by Democrats on the council.
“I believe in collaboration and problem solving, I believe you have to work together to find solutions and not butt heads with each other,” Winter said in 1999.
Reflecting on his comments from his first election night, Winter said, “I hope I’ve made a difference in my 20 years, but I think if I have, that’s the reason I have, because you’ve got to work with people,” Winter said.
Now retired, Winter says he isn’t sure what he’ll do next. In November, Winter lost an election for a House seat at the State Legislature.
“I think I’m going to retire from politics as far as running again,” he said.
Winter says he ultimately plans to remain active and may look toward other leadership opportunities outside of elected office.
“I love Albuquerque, I was born and raised here and it’s my home, but anything I can do to make it better, than I’m going to do that,” Winter said.