The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales candidates make pitches at forum


April 26, 2018

PORTALES — A crowded Yam Theatre heard from political candidates from all manner of races Tuesday night.

Before kicking off two hours of political pitches, master of ceremonies Pat Boone reminded attendees of the event’s importance.

“It’s not just something that we are trying to do to get people to come together and eat and visit and have a good time. We’re trying to learn something about these people,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out who, according to our way of thinking, is going to be the best to serve our interests in Santa Fe or Washington or wherever it may be.”

Primary elections are June 5. Early voting begins May 8.

After candidates for state elections had said their peace, it was time for those running in Roosevelt County to make their cases to the audience.

First, the four candidates for Roosevelt County magistrate judge were called to the stage, the first being Christopher Mitchell.

He said he saw the position as a way to expand on work he had already started in law enforcement.

“When it comes down to it, I want to continue that service, that drive, where I’ve already been working with victims, suspects, lawyers, magistrates. Let me continue that, step up that service that I’ve already enjoyed, take it to that next level,” he said.

The next candidate, Jimmy Parrish, a former Roosevelt County commissioner — told the audience why he wanted to be magistrate judge.

“Public office is about serving the people. It’s not to service a particular corporation, a company, an attorney or whatever. It’s all about (equally) representing the people,” he said.

A love for those same people was the reason James Southard decided to run for the position; he said the magistrate judge exists “for the people of this great county.”

“I understand them, I respect them, I care about them. I’ve been one my entire life. I’ve always been here in Roosevelt County,” Southard said.

For Michelle Bargas, being elected to the position would mean fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“I have always had a dream to pursue the magistrate judge position,” she said. “I have the experience, I have the belief, and I do believe I do have the passion. I know I can help you,” she said.

The two candidates for Roosevelt County sheriff were up next, touting their law enforcement experience.

Incumbent Malin Parker recalled his 19 continuous years of law enforcement work and the numerous accolades he has received in that time, but ended with something he saw as a need in the county.

“I do believe in God and I feel like we need to bring him back into our meetings, our schools and our gatherings,” he said.

While Darrell Chenault acknowledged that he and Parker would have to say why one was more qualified than the other, he stated that protecting the community takes precedence over politics.

“I want to protect Roosevelt County, because it is my neighbors, it’s my friends, it’s who I grew up with.” he said. “The world is turning dirty in a lot of ways, and we’ve got to protect our way of life.”

District Four County Commission candidates Tina Dixon and Gene Creighton held up the rear of the forum.

Dixon said she would “like to be a voice for Roosevelt County,” and urged attendees to “speak out and tell what your problems are, what your issues are, your concerns, anything.”

Creighton, the incumbent, pointed out that a strong commissioner keeps in touch with county employees.

“You need to talk to the people at the courthouse, all the administrators and all the ones that run the departments out there. We’ve got a hard road. The budget is light revenues and heavy expenses,” he said.


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