Independent files for council

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By Carol A. Clark

Registered Independent Michael Wismer filed his candidacy for county council Wednesday afternoon at the county clerk’s office. The former councilor served from 2002-2006 and switched parties from Republican to Independent in 2004.

“While the requirement to obtain 265 signatures of registered voters represents just one of the many challenges associated with being an Independent candidate,” he said, “I believe the process of obtaining the 321 signatures I turned in today provided me with an opportunity to listen to the concerns of citizens that I would not have had, had I just been required to fill out a form to declare a party affiliated candidacy.”

Wismer joins a field of two Democrats and two Republicans who ranked as follows in Tuesday’s primary election:

• 1,576 - former council member Sharon Stover-R

• 1,184 - council incumbent Ken Milder-D,

• 1,170 - Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Staff Member Vincent Chiravalle-R

• 869 - medical office manager Manual Baca-D

With Wismer in the race, the five candidates vie for three council seats coming open at year’s end.

Along with Milder’s, Chairman Jim Hall’s term is up but he has opted not to seek re-election. The remaining seat belongs to councilor Fran Berting, ineligible after Dec. 31, because of term limits.

Wismer seeks to engage voters from all sides.

“I’ve been encouraged by the support and enthusiasm that I received from those I’ve talked to, while gathering signatures, regardless of party affiliation,” he said. “I want to thank all who signed my petition and offered their support and I look forward to an exciting campaign season based on issues.”

As group leader for Classified Matter Protection in the Physical Security Division of the Security & Safeguards Directorate at LANL, Wismer has the support of his bosses and said this is a good time for him to serve on council again.

“It takes a lot of commitment and hard work and I’m ready,” he said.

He intends to focus on the major issues facing the county if elected in November.

“I want to work with the other councilors to find the path forward for growth and development of our community,” Wismer said.

He cites his experience on council and service other local boards in recent years as evidence of his desire and ability to galvanize a wide range of opinions and options into community action.

Wismer chairs the UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board and teaches sociology as an adjunct professor at the college.

“I believe that if you’re going to live in a community, you have a responsibility to participate and serve your community rather than sit on the sidelines and complain,” Wismer said.

Wismer received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and holds two graduate degrees. His master’s degree in science and criminal justice is from Eastern Kentucky University and his master’s in public administration is from Troy University in Montgomery, Ala.