Dona Ana County Comission District 1 Seat Up For Grabs

Las Cruces, NM – The current District one commissioner Oscar Vasquez-Butler is term limited which leaves the seat open for the general election.

Democrat Billy Garrett who is a retired national Park Service Administrator is up against Republican challenger John Zimmerman, a retired missile test engineer and Navy commander.

One issue that the winner will work on the next two years is balancing the county budget. County officials will have to find ways to cut spending or raise revenues to stop deficit spending.

Zimmerman says there is a projected shortfall of around ten million dollars and it's his top priority to see that number decline.

Zimmerman-"We need a balanced budget. I think that is one of the most important issues we need to tackle immediately. There is only one option and that is to raise taxes and I believe that is the absolute wrong thing to do, especially in these economic times."

Garrett says he wants to see a budget that is organized around objectives and not departments. He says he would like to see a re-organized budget before any decision is made about raising taxes and slashing programs.

When it comes to the legislation in Congress that would create a federally designated wilderness in Dona Ana County Garrett says he supports the measure.

Garrett-"I think if we accept the idea that taking care of our iconic landscape that makes the county so special, the beauty of the area, wildlife and access to it, I think we can do that and at the same time have a vibrant economy, deal with security issues and take care of our storm water concerns. This is a very important value to the people of this county and it's worth preserving."

Zimmerman says he is concerned the passage of the bill will result in the inability of ranchers to maintain dirt tanks in arroyos. He says they will fill up and over flow causing flooding issues as well as border security concerns.

The County Commission four-year term begins January 1st. Early Voting runs now through the 30th at the Dona Ana County Government Center.