ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque voters have three choices for their next mayor and KRQE News 13 will be profiling each of the candidates. Each candidate will be asked the same four questions and an individualized fifth question.
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For Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, winning the mayor’s office is about making his hometown better. Taking over as mayor would mean Gonzales hanging up his law enforcement badge for the first time in 40 years but he says his history as a business owner, Marine and long-time lawman, makes him right for the job.
“All I’ve done is devoted my life to the service of people. To me, what it’s all about is serving people. I’m a representative for them. It’s not about me, in terms of being a politician, but being a leader and understanding that my job is to provide an excellent service for the people,” Gonzales said.
When asked about his opponents’ weaknesses, the sitting sheriff did not have much to say about the incumbent mayor and Democratic candidate Tim Keller or radio talk show host and Republican candidate Eddy Aragon.
“I believe they don’t have the backgrounds to lead the city. Mayor Keller is politically driven. and I don’t know a whole lot about Eddy, I just know that he’s a radio host and so for me, I believe what we need to do when we’re making decisions on who’s going to run the city next, is look at our backgrounds,” Gonzales said.
Crime is one of the top issues being discussed in the mayoral race and a key focal point of Gonzales’ own campaign. KRQE News 13 asked Gonzales why he thinks he can fix crime when no one else has.
“I understand the Albuquerque Police Department needs leadership. They need to be de-politicized and their role in government is to be neutral. I understand that because I’ve been doing it, practicing it and laying out the strategy to make sure that our services are the most excellent, and they are. People appreciate the services that we’ve provided and now we need to bring those services to Albuquerque,” said Gonzales.
Gonzales’ fifth and final question comes down to if voters can trust him to actually solve crime in the city. The most recent crime statistics show Bernalillo County‘s crime rate is actually higher than the city’s.
“I love that question and there’s a reason because we’re fighting crime in Albuquerque and we report all crime. Crime is up in Bernalillo County, and I warned of this four years ago, because they don’t support law enforcement in the city nor does this mayor and what we’ve done on our own initiative, at my direction, have jumped in the middle of the city and fought crime. So, of course, our crime stats are going to be higher and they’re going to go through the roof when I take over because we’re going to arrest people when they commit crimes, they’re going to jail and they’re going to be held accountable,” Gonzales said.
Election Day is less than two weeks away.