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As a registered Republican for well over 15 years, I did change my affiliation and I am an independent candidate for County Council. That decision brings some interesting challenges to anyone seeking elected office. For instance, unlike candidates who are affiliated with the two major parties, independent candidates must provide a nominating petition “signed by a number of voters equal to at least three (3 percent) of the total number of votes cast for governor at the last preceding General Election in the state, district, division, or county, as may be the case.” (1-8-51 NMSA 1978)
At first I thought it was an unfair requirement levied on only those without party affiliation however; after balancing priorities between my job and my work on the UNM-LA Advisory Board, I discovered the time spent getting signatures for my petition was a very worthwhile endeavor.
Specifically, the process of asking friends, colleagues and supporters for signatures offered a unique opportunity to engage in dialogue and to listen to citizen concerns.
I found the experience to be both enlightening and enriching. It also reinforced my notion that our community values independent judgment and decision making.
My vision is that an elected official that is not bound or committed to a political party can be elected to our governing body and can be an effective public servant. Luckily, we live in a wonderful country where I am free to pursue that vision despite it being the more difficult path.
Although Mr. Kerr’s verdict saddens me, he is also free to choose to only vote for a member of one of the two major parties. I respect his decision.