ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque voters have three choices for their next mayor and over the next three nights, KRQE News 13 will be profiling each of the candidates. Each candidate will be asked the same four questions and an individualized fifth question.
Incumbent Mayor Tim Keller is seeking his second term. Keller wants to keep his job and says running for reelection is about finishing the job and seeing the city through growth and recovery. “I’m committed to seeing through things like our Gateway Center for the homelessness, also our Albuquerque Community Safety Department, which is an alternative to 911. And the thousands of new jobs we’ve announced,” Keller said.
Keller says he’s right for the job and calls himself ‘battle tested’ as the only candidate who has led a city through the pandemic. He says his leadership is helping Albuquerque come out of the pandemic in a stronger place than surrounding cities.
“We did that by doing a couple things. We made decisions that preserved our lives and livelihoods. We tried to keep our businesses open with grants. We put $300 million out for infrastructure, investments in roads and community centers and libraries,” Keller said.
Of course, this is not an uncontested mayoral race. When asked about his opponents’ weaknesses, Keller says Republican and Conservative talk show host, Eddy Aragon, doesn’t have the right experience. “Well, I think one of them has a lot of good sayings. He’s a radio host and so that makes sense, but he just has no experience at all in leadership or in city government or government of any kind,” said Keller.
Keller says fellow Democrat and Bernalillo County Sheriff, Manny Gonzales, isn’t the one to solve the city’s decades-long crime problem. “The other one I think fundamentally is basing their campaign on a glasshouse. You know, the sheriff has been with me but also for another four years before that and has little to show for crime. Crime is our biggest challenge, so is homelessness, but the sheriff has been nowhere to be found dealing with those issues,” Keller said.
Crime is one of the top issues being discussed in the mayoral race. KRQE News 13 asked Keller why he thinks he can fix crime when no one else has. “We’ve got to understand that we have to build on the foundation that we’ve created. We’ve put in $80 million in crime-fighting technology… that’s gunshot detection technology — that’s also speed cameras and so that’s what we have to do going forward,” Keller said.
Keller’s fifth and final question comes down to if voters can trust him. During his first mayoral campaign, Keller promised he wouldn’t raise taxes without voter approval. “I don’t believe we should raise taxes at all unless we go to the voters,” Keller said.
However, just a few months in, Keller signed a bill passed by city council that did raise taxes. Keller says he still deserves the city’s trust. “They should because I showed that courage and integrity matter more than things like what you say on the campaign trail. I walked into a situation where I had to give our police officers a raise, that’s why we raised taxes. Had we not done that, our department literally would’ve fallen apart,” Keller said. “That’s something I think people know they get with me when they go forward. I’ll be honest about the problems. I’ll get the big decisions right. And we’re going to keep moving forward.”
Wednesday night, KRQE News 13 will sit down with Republican mayoral candidate Eddy Aragon. Election Day is exactly two weeks away.