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Stover files for council

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By Carol A. Clark

Well-known youth advocate Sharon Stover officially filed her candidacy for county council Tuesday afternoon.Stover is a familiar face not only in the community but  also in county government, having previously served as both county staff and on the council.She worked in an administrative capacity for Los Alamos County for nearly 15 years in the Parks and Recreation Department, and later as the county administrator’s assistant.County Councilor Ken Milder, a Democrat, is running for re-election. He served on the Utilities Board in the 1980s and worked with Stover through her position at the county. Upon hearing she filed for council, Milder praised Stover for her professionalism. “Sharon has a lot of energy and when given a task, you never had to worry because she always got it done,” he said. “She’s very pleasant to work with and definitely has the community’s interest at heart.” In early February, former county councilor Mike Wismer announced his intention to run again for council. As an Independent, he will formally file his candidacy June 4, as required by law. He spoke of his esteem for Stover after learning she had filed for one of three seats coming vacant at year’s end. “I was absolutely delighted to hear that Sharon Stover has decided to run for county council this year,” Wismer said. “I have known Sharon for seven of the nine years I have lived in Los Alamos and I know her to be a bright and insightful person who is dedicated to the community of Los Alamos.”On a personal level, he said, she has been a friend and mentor who encouraged him to run for council in 2002. “She also helped me campaign, raise contributions, taught me the ropes with respect to community involvement and action,” Wismer said.Twelve years ago, Stover accepted an appointment to fill the term of County Councilor Ginger Welch, who moved away. Two years later, Stover launched a successful campaign and was elected by the highest number of votes to continue serving on council.She served as both council vice chair and council chair.“I learned quite a bit from my council experience, particularly when initiatives were drastically altered in May 2000 with the Cerro Grande fire,” Stover said. “I feel extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with great community people who have always supported and helped champion many of the projects I have worked on.”Since completing her term in 2002, Stover has continued her community involvement, focusing primarily on teen programs and activities. She developed the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) together with Municipal Court Judge Alan Kirk. The board has attracted some 30 board members who, under Stover’s coordination, have created some of the most successful programs to benefit youth.“Through my participation in JJAB, I’ve been quite active in youth initiatives, particularly the Los Alamos Youth Leadership program which models itself after Leadership Los Alamos,” Stover said.Her experience also includes serving on the steering committee and as first chair of Leadership Los Alamos. Stover is a member of the Family YMCA board of directors, Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, and the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation.She also serves on the White Rock Downtown Redevelopment Master Plan steering committee, the 60th Anniversary committee and  Kiwanis Club.Stover is a Republican and has lived in White Rock for 25 years. She expressed excitement about the opportunities that exist in the proposed White Rock master plan.“I believe that although a member of council represents the entire community, it is beneficial to have someone from White Rock on the council,” Stover said. “When I was on council, I was supported in holding meetings once a month in White Rock. I would joke with former Councilor Lawry Mann that the only reason he agreed to have meetings in White Rock was because of the cake I would bring to eat during the break.”Stover hopes to use her knowledge and experience gained during the last six years. Through her work with JJAB, she said she learned how the world of nonprofits exists in trying to provide social services for the community and particularly local youth. “I enjoy campaigning and meeting and talking to people in our community,” Stover said. “I will have a website set up, but until then people can contact me at sstover@cybermesa.com or by telephone. I hope to be easily accessible and am willing to listen to the concerns of our residents.”Stover describes Los Alamos as a great community to live in.“It is safe and we feel fortunate with the quality of education our children have received here,” she said. “There are tremendous opportunities for our community and I look forward to working hard to continue to preserve what we value and implement initiatives that will make Los Alamos sustainable. I hope to add demonstrated energy and the experience to move forward.” Stover is married to school board president Steven Girrens. The couple has two children, Quinn and Craig. Quinn is a sophomore at Colorado State University and Craig is a senior at Los Alamos High School.  Stover grew up in Pojoaque, where her parents ran La Mesita Restaurant for more than 50 years. She graduated from Santa Fe Business College.Republican Vincent Chiravalle and Democrat Manuel Baca also filed for the council race Tuesday.