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Baca announces run for council

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By Carol A. Clark

Citing a lack of recreational facilities and activities for youth along with the need for more shopping choices as key elements of his platform, White Rock resident Manuel Baca officially announced his bid for a seat on county council.Baca, 43, is a lifelong Democrat who is courting what he calls the underrepresented people in the county: teens and young families age 14-30.This demographic doesn’t seem to have a voice on the council or within the community, he said, adding that they need someone who will speak up for them and work for their goals and issues. He believes he can be the  voice of the young and pledges to find ways for the county and the council to meet their needs.“If elected, my first order of business would be to create safer recreation areas for our teens because the biggest problem in this town is our kids have nowhere to go and nothing to do,” Baca said during an interview Wednesday. “I want to ensure teens have places to go and things to do to get them out of the canyons where they hang around and drink, and wrap their cars around trees.”Baca discussed his stand on other issues including a situation he terms “death by analysis,” which he says is causing many county projects to “fall on their face.” “I don’t believe it’s productive to the community for council to spend large amounts of time and money analyzing and re-analyzing a project until it is killed by apathy and inaction,” Baca said. “It is time to make changes in Los Alamos, to move forward at a pace that will keep the citizens involved in the changes that affect them.”Regarding economic development, Baca said Los Alamos is in a position to grow, with a focus on increased retail opportunities. “I believe that the Trinity Site development plan is a good thing for Los Alamos,” he said. “The ability for the citizens to have many more choices in shopping will enhance our tax base by keeping business on the Hill.”The take-over by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, (LANS) of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Baca said, can only be used as an impetus for the county to move forward to becoming more self-sufficient. “With our largest employer now focusing on profit and bonuses for its management, as well as science,” he said, “we need to focus on creating employment opportunities for those who have lost their jobs and for those family members affected by the lab’s changes.”To date, Baca, current councilor Ken Milder and former councilor Michael Wismer have announced their intention to run for the three county council seats coming available at year’s end, those being vacated by councilors Fran Berting, Jim Hall and Ken Milder. All of the seats are elected at large rather than by district.Baca and his wife of 14 years, Dr. Kate Barnard, arrived in New Mexico four years ago. They moved to White Rock from Baltimore, where Barnard completed her residency and he completed his degree in theater arts with an emphasis in acting and directing, he said.“It’s bizarre, because I’m working in health care, which I’ve done my whole adult life,” Baca said of his theatrical education. He also worked in health care for eight years in the U.S. Navy.The couple opened Corozon del Oso Healthcare inside the Los Alamos Medical Center 18 months ago. Baca serves as practice administrator. “My wife specializes in internal medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation,” he said. “The business is going real well – we have a large client base.”In his free time, Baca is active in the Los Alamos Little Theater and the local film industry. He and his wife have two sons, Manuel Baca Jr., who graduated from Los Alamos High School in 2006 and works at Quick Lube, and Steven Baca, 22, who lives in Albuquerque and works in the landscaping industry.Three dogs live in the Baca household: Pancho, 6, is a chihuahua; Allegra, 4, is a Doberman Pincher and Australian Shepard mix; and D.O.G., 1, is a Boston Terrier.To learn more about Baca and his run for council, access www.bacaforla.com.