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

By Jack King 

Candidates file for city offices


Ten candidates registered Tuesday to run for Clovis mayor and city commission positions in the March 2 election.

Tuesday was the only day to register for the race. The mayor’s position and one chair in each of the four commission districts are up for election.

Randal S. Crowder was the only candidate to register Tuesday for the District 1 seat. Crowder is a lifelong Clovis resident who studied industrial technology at Eastern New Mexico University for two years. He is president of Randy Crowder Construction Inc. and a general partner in American Self Storage, he said.

Crowder said the issues he wants to concentrate on are water and economic growth for Clovis.

In District 2, incumbent Gloria Wicker will seek a second term. A lifetime Clovis resident, she graduated from Clovis High School and worked for the Santa Fe railroad for 30 years, in a number of capacities, and for the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1959, she said.

Her top priority in a second term would be to get purified water from the Mississippi River pumped to the Ogallala Aquifer, she said. Her second priority would be seeing improvements made at Hillcrest Park and getting the park listed on state and national historic registers. She also wants to invigorate efforts to beautify Clovis, she said.

Fred Travis Van Soelen is one of two challengers in District 2. Van Soelen, also a longtime Clovis resident, is an assistant district attorney in the 9th Judicial District. He graduated from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, and received his law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, he said.

Van Soelen aim as a commissioner would be to improve pay and training for the Clovis police and fire departments, make city parks more enjoyable and improve the condition of city streets, he said.

The second District 2 challenger is Len A. Vohs, a senior sales executive for KICA and KKYC radio stations. A lifetime Clovis resident, Vohs has studied business at ENMU and Clovis Community College. He said he wants to make Clovis a better place.

In District 3, incumbent Robert O. Sandoval was the only candidate to register. Sandoval is a lifetime Clovis resident and a graduate of Clovis High School. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 38 years.

His main focus as a commissioner, Sandoval said, would be to continue work on the Clovis Civic Center, on the Ute Pipeline Project and on economic development for Clovis.

In District 4, incumbent Lunell H. Winton also will seek a second term. Winton was born and grew up in Hollene, N.M., but her family moved to Clovis when she was a sophomore in high school. She graduated from Clovis High School. She was in the travel and real estate businesses in Clovis for 20 years and is a licensed Realtor.

Her goals as a commissioner, she said, would be to continue growth and economic development for Clovis and to continue a study of raises for city employees.

Jack W. Twite Sr. has registered to run against Winton for the District 2 seat. Originally from Fort Collins, Colo., Twite served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, for most of that time as a member of the security police, he said.

He has been the grocery manager at Clovis’ Wal-Mart for 15 years. He has an associate’s degree in law from the Community College of the Air Force, with classes in criminal investigation, corrections and psychology, he said.

Twite said he would concentrate on improving parks and recreational activities, especially for those in the 14-17 and 57-68 age groups. He said he would like to see pay raised for city police, firefighters and medics.

He supports a proposed gross receipts tax increase, and said the money should go first for police and firefighter pay increases and secondly to pay for the Ute Pipeline Project.

In the mayor’s race, incumbent David Lansford is challenged by Raymond Eugene Atchley and Stephen J. Muscato Sr.

Atchley was born and raised in Clovis and received associate’s degrees in liberal arts and criminal justice from Clovis Community College. He is a part-time desk clerk at the Clovis Inn and a part-time sociology major at Wayland Baptist University. He said he worked as an investigator of economic crime for the U.S. Defense Department from 1980 to 1999. He also worked for the Clovis Police Department in 1976-1978 and in 1983-1984, he said.

Atchley said he is running for mayor because the majority of Clovis’ population feels disenfranchised and needs a more moderate candidate who will represent everyone. He said neither a gross receipts tax increase nor a property tax increase would be fair to Clovis residents. Before the city tries to pass a gross receipts tax increase it should give the public a clear idea of how the money will be spent, he added.

Lansford, born and raised in Clovis, has a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s School of Pharmacy and owns Roden Smith Pharmacy. He has served as mayor for eight years, following two years as District 1 commissioner.

He is running for reelection because he wants to see ongoing projects completed, such as the Ute water pipeline and continuing economic growth, he said. He especially wants to ensure all public employees are paid competitive salaries and benefits, and increase a focus on youth, children and families.

Muscato did not return phone calls requesting comment by press time.


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