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UNM-LA board candidates file for ballot

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Education > Incumbent Boerigter, fire chief among those running

By Tris DeRoma

Besides school board candidates, the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office also had plenty of candidates from the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos Advisory Board, show up, as four candidates showed up at the office to officially declare their candidacy Dec. 16.
According to state election laws, candidates wanting to declare their official candidacy for the board in person must do so on that date.
On Tuesday, UNM-LA Advisory Board Chairman Stephen Boerigter put in his reelection bid, declaring for “Position Four.” Since no other candidates for the position came in that day, most likely Boerigter, the incumbent, will go unchallenged during the Feb 3 elections, unless a write-in candidate files on or before Dec. 30, the cutoff date for doing so.
That same date applies for potential Los Alamos School Board candidates as well.
“Position Three” was the only other seat up for grabs, as the person who occupied that position, Linda Hull, opted not to run again.
Candidates that showed up for the position on Tuesday included Troy Hughes, Michael Di Rosa and James Nealy Robinson.
For Boerigter, running for reelection was an easy choice.
“We have a lot left to do,” he said, adding that a lot has changed since he was elected to the advisory board in 2011. Those changes include a new campus director/CEO in Wynn Goering, as well as a renewed focus and effort attracting young people to live, learn and work in northern New Mexico through UNM-LA.
“I think that’s a key piece of what I’d like to see continue to happen with UNM-LA,” Boerigter said. “College-age people bring a certain vibrancy to a community, and we need to have more of that.”
Other goals Boerigter said he’d like to see accomplished in the next four years include continued enrollment growth, and a solution in regards to permanent student housing.
One of the things Boerigter enjoyed about his last term was being part of the effort to persuade Los Alamos voters to support a property tax increase that would have guaranteed at least $1.5 million a year in financial support to the school.
Even though the voters ultimately rejected the increase, Boerigter said he and the board learned much during their campaign efforts to get the levy passed.
“In that process, we were able to interact with a large segment of leaders in the community and get a lot of strong feedback in how they envisioned UNM-LA and UNM-LA’s role in the community…The community told us a few things in that loss, and I think it’s important that we absorbed that lesson.”
Hughes, who is the chief of the Los Alamos Fire Department, decided to run due to his past efforts to help the college.
During the mil-levy effort of 2013, Hughes served as treasurer of the committee that organized those efforts, the Los Alamos Committee For Higher Education. The fire department and the school also are partners in creating valued and recognized programs to help jumpstart or enhance the career options of firefighters and paramedics throughout the region.
“I think there’s a lot of good the college does for the community, and it can be even better,” he said. “I feel like I owe them some service after all they’ve done for us and our department.”
Hughes also said he would like to concentrate on remedying the housing situation and as boosting enrollment.
Terms on the board are for four years.
The University of New Mexico Los Alamos Advisory Board consists of five members. The board’s primary purpose is to advise the school on matters of curriculum, finance and other matters.
The board meets once every odd month, on the Monday preceding the second Tuesday of that month, except July. To find out more about the board, visit losalamos.unm.edu/faculty-staff/administration/advisory-board/index.html