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Tarson, incumbents win Clovis city seats

Gail Tarson believes she won the District 2 seat on Clovis’ city commission because she represents the conservative values and priorities of the community.

“As a small business owner, I understand the importance of fiscal responsibility and economic growth. My commitment to upholding traditional family values resonated with many voters who prioritize stability and traditional principles,” Tarson wrote in an email to The News after Tuesday’s municipal elections.

Incumbents won the day as voters returned Chris Bryant, Helen Casaus and George Jones (who ran uncontested) to Commission seats and Mike Morris to the mayor’s position.

Tarson and Victoria Robledo competed for the chair of Lauren Rowley, who did not seek re-election. Tarson won, 328 votes to 156.

Tarson also said her platform and track record appealed to voters who wanted a representative who “shares their values and will work to uphold them in city government.”

Her “to-do list” for the next few years includes getting to know the department heads and their teams, and to familiarize herself with the city financials.

“And make myself available to the citizens of Clovis to maintain open and respectful communication,” Tarson wrote.

Robledo said one reason she didn’t get more votes was because she “could have done more voter outreach.

“I really think I could have done a better job at finding more disenfranchised voters,” Robledo said.

Robledo said she does not believe the city is in good hands after Tuesday’s election.

“Because nothing has changed. We’ve elected the same people who’ve made the same promises for years,” Robledo said.

“Between not listening to all residents and getting us into legal trouble (with an anti-abortion ordinance), it’s disappointing to see the same exclusionary elected officials in office.”

She said she will continue to be an advocate for the unheard citizens of Clovis as a constituent if not a representative.

“A movement has been started and change is coming,” Robledo said.

In other Commission races:

n In District 3 Zamora beat Chris Pettigrew, 188 to 120.

“The people spoke,” Zamora said.

Zamora wants to work on things to do for the city’s youth.

“They need to keep busy. If we keep them busy, they don’t have time to get into mischief,” Zamora said.

Pettigrew said name recognition played a part in his election loss.

“I couldn’t get my name out there well enough to overcome the obstacle,” Pettigrew said.

As to how the newly elected commission will do, Pettigrew said he believes the commission is doing a fine job.

n In the other District 3 seat, Casaus (154 votes) defeated Bryan Davis (96) and Paul Nelson (55).

Casaus said she believes she won because people have faith in her.

“They believe I can continue to do what I was elected to do,” Casaus said.

Casaus noted she helped secure funding for construction on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“I’ve gotten street lights and I actually have some residents who have cleaned up their homes and much more,” Casaus said.

Davis cited name familiarity as a factor in the race.

“I think Helen Casaus has a lot of name recognition. Being new to this environment I just need to get myself out there more,” Davis said.

He said he has faith in those those elected.

“I think for the most part the best candidates were selected,” Davis said.

Nelson did not respond to a voicemail request for comment.

n In District 4, Bryant (461 votes) defeated Dean Hardage (103) and Josefita Griego (82).

Bryant said he believes he won due to voter confidence.

“I’m hoping District 4 has the confidence in me to work on their behalf for the next four years,” Bryant said.

As for his “to-do list,” Bryant plans on continuing to work on many projects to make Clovis a better place to live, work and play.

“We need to continue on our public safety, on our infrastructure projects including water, our quality of life projects and economic development. I think all of those are important to our citizens,” Bryant said.

Griego said it’s always difficult challenging an incumbent.

“Statistically speaking it’s generally an uphill battle (competing against) one with as much tenure as Commissioner Bryant,” Griego wrote in an email.

Griego said she believes voters “made an extremely good choice electing Gail Tarson and re-electing Mayor Morris considering the choices.”

Hardage said his loss was due in part to the economics of campaigning.

“I went in on a shoestring. Basically, all I did was go to the public events, put up a few signs and created a webpage. That was pretty much all I did,” Hardage said.

As for the voters’ choices overall, he said:

“There are a lot of good things going on. I think we could open our minds a little bit.

“I don’t care for rather a lot. One of them was the deal passing the ordinance that would make it illegal to have an abortion clinic in Clovis,” Hardage said.

“Like most governments, not everything is all good or all bad,” Hardage said.