Back in the race: Former counselor seeks re-election

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By Carol A. Clark

Michael Wismer is going after one of three county council seats coming vacant at year’s end. His decision follows a two-year hiatus from serving on the seven-member council.“The reason I didn’t run last time was my professional world,” Wismer said. “LANS was taking over the lab and I had been given the job to create a program that didn’t exist, stand it up and mature it with very few resources  – and didn’t think I would have the time to do that and to devote to council.”Wismer works in security at Los Alamos National Laboratory and indicated he has the support needed to serve on council. “I have excellent bosses in Jack Killeen and Paul Sowa, and my work has stabilized, making this a good time to serve on council again,” he said. “It takes commitment and hard work and I’m ready to do that.”As a registered Independent, Wismer is prohibited from running for council during the primary by state law. Only Democrats and Republicans run in primaries. He is a former Republican who switched parties in 2004.“Part of the challenge for me is philosophically I’m Independent but the electoral process makes it easier for Democrats and Republicans,” Wismer said.As a third-party candidate, he must gather signatures equal to 3 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last election (8,783 in 2006), in order to get his name on the general ballot. Wismer is required to obtain 264 signatures, a process he began Friday. “I have received a favorable response with lots of encouragement and that’s very gratifying,” Wismer said.If elected in November, Wismer said he wouldn’t focus on personal interests but rather those major issues facing the county. “I want to work with the six other councilors to forge successes and to find the path forward for growth and development of our community,” he said.He continued, “In serving on council and in observing other forms of government, I really believe our home rule form of government (the county may exercise all legislative powers and perform all functions not expressly denied by general law) can work as designed if the wide range of opinions and options can be galvanized toward community action. “I believe I have the ability to help make that happen because of my experience on council and service other local boards in recent years.”Wismer currently holds a seat on the UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board and teaches sociology as an adjunct professor at the college.“If you’re going to live in a place you might as well be part of it instead of sitting on the sidelines,” Wismer said. “And I miss serving on council – and I miss Councilor Nona Bowman’s cherry cobbler that she sometimes brought to our sessions.”Bowman (R), and councilors Jim West (R), Ken Milder (D), Fran Berting (R) and Mike Wheeler (D), all served on council with Wismer.“I found Mike to be a very level-headed kind of councilor who brought a diverse and unique background to the council,” Wheeler said Monday. “We didn’t always agree on everything. We were opposed when it came to the current administration’s policies on Iraq and the Patriot Act. But I respect Mike and think he would be a positive addition to the council.”Milder also served with Wismer on the council for two years and said he was happy to hear he is running again. “Mike is very insightful and I learned from him,” Milder said. “Guys like him don’t have an agenda and they have the ability to focus in on what’s really important, they have a real clarity. I really enjoyed working with him and I’m glad he’s decided to run again.”Milder’s term ends Dec. 31 and he said during an interview Monday he will seek a second term. “I really enjoy public service,” he said. “There are also some things I want to see continued. A major interest of mine is the economic development needs of the people of White Rock. They don’t need more housing; they need more business - that’s what I’ve been hearing since the 1980s. With A-19 we have an opportunity to provide that for them and I don’t want to see them lose that opportunity.”Milder also wants to help provide support and see the community as a whole through the impact from the changes at the lab, he said, adding that he “truly loves this community with all its idiosyncrasies.”Berting is completing her second term this year and will term out Dec. 31. Councilor Jim Hall (R), finishes his first term this year but stated in an e-mail he will not seek re-election because his wife is retiring and they want to spend more time together.Along with the three council vacancies, the county clerk position is coming available this year. Current County Clerk Mary Pat Kraemer (D), could not be reached before press time to determine if she intends to seek re-election. The clerk’s office is responsible for recording public documents, issuing marriage licenses, processing voter registrations, conducting elections and serving as clerk to the Probate Court.  Election dates and data

March 18 – The one and only day for Republicans and Democrats to declare their candidacies for the primary election.

May 6 – Voter registration closes for the primary election.

June 3 – Primary election.

June 4 – The one and only day for third party candidates to declare their candidacies for the general election.

Oct. 7 – Voter registration closes for the general election.

Nov. 4 – General election.

For election information, visit the Los Alamos County Clerk’s office at 2300 Trinity Drive, Modular Unit-Suite D, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, call 662-8010 or e-mail Clerks@mail.lacnm.us.