MRGCD board candidates

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Name: Jericho Sanchez

Jericho Sanchez

Residence address: No. 9 Miranda Road, Veguita, NM 87062

Years a resident of Socorro County: 8 years

Years operating as an irrigator in Socorro County: 25 years

Description and location of farming/irrigation activity: Veguita, Las Nutrias, Bernardo (various years between 1990 and 2007) – San Antonio (2008)- Bosque and Jarales.

Describe the major issues facing district landowners and irrigators in Socorro County. Explain how you plan to remedy these problems.

The biggest problem that we face is protecting our most precious resource which is our water. There are many outside agents that would like to take our water away from us and use it to profit from.

If we allow our water to be taken off of our property then little by little we will watch our historic culture and futures fade away. I want the future generations of Socorro County to have the opportunity that I had growing up learning about how life in the Rio Grande starts with dirt and water.

To get ahead of this issue we need to inform people of the consequences selling water rights has and if they are sold we need to explore avenues that retain a percentage of those waters within the district instead of letting them all go. DROUGHT. We need to control the water we do have in the most efficient way from the water delivery system to the end user. We need a strategic drought plan that is specific and in place before a drought hits instead of coming up with regulation on the fly. Communication and confidence between the district and irrigators is vital and needs to be improved.

We need to speed up our irrigation times and we cannot afford to miss opportunities to work with other agencies that are willing to assist in our drought situation. Our water availability is not what it once was and we need to slowly redesign our system to accommodate for that.

What experience/training/education do you have that qualifies you to be a MRGCD board member? I have farmed my entire life in this valley just as my ancestors had before me stretching back 400 years. Owning and running a business has taught me problem solving, patience, listening and diplomatic skills that I believe would be an asset to the district.

I went to college at UNM and I currently serve on a resolutions committee that represents farmers from around New Mexico on a national level.

Convicted of any felonies or misdemeanors? No.

Bankruptcies?

Personal — no. Business — yes. After the bank failures in 2009 my business went through a reorganization process to accommodate for lower milk prices, higher feed prices and to meet the stricter lending guidelines imposed on banks.

 

Name: Chris Sichler

Chris Sichler

Residence address: 111 Farm to Market Road, San Antonio, NM
Years a resident of Socorro County: 28
Years operating as an irrigator in Socorro County: 28
Description and location of farming/irrigation activity: I am a partner, along with my wife Paula and son Steven, in Snake Ranch LLC, a farming operation in San Antonio. We are currently farming about 600 acres comprised of alfalfa, corn, wheat and oat hay, chile and many other fruits and vegetables which we sale in our road side stands (Sichler Farms Produce).
Describe the major issues facing district landowners and irrigators in Socorro County. Explain how you plan to remedy these problems.
It goes without saying that the drought is the biggest problem we are currently facing and only God can remedy that. What the district has done to deal with the drought while I have been on the board is to revise the water distribution policy and the waterbank policy which will help the district and irrigators become more efficient in the way they deliver and use water.
It is important for people with homes within the district, that the district continue to work with the Corps of Engineers to ensure that the San Acacia to Bosque del Apache levy project is completed.
This will be about a 15 year project, of which the first 3 will take the city of Socorro out of the flood plain.
For irrigators the most pressing need going forward is to resolve the long standing ESA issues concerning the silvery minnow. The district is currently in the process of negotiating with federal and state agencies over contributions to be made by the district toward recovering the silvery minnow required by the Endangered Species Act. The district has held the position that under state law the water is owned by the irrigators and the district only delivers it.
I have always advocated for this position; there are a lot of things the district can do to help recover the Silvery Minnow but they cannot give up any irrigator water. If we can get these negotiations done in a way that is favorable to the district, irrigators will be better protected going forward.

What experience/training/education do you have that qualifies you to be a MRGCD board member? I believe that the best experience, training and education that I could aquire for this position has been serving as an MRGCD director representing Socorro County for the last four years. Prior to that I Served on many boards such as: The Socorro County Land Use Commission, the Boys and Girls Club, San Antonio Water Association and the Rio Grande Water Rights Association. I have also been a business owner and employer since 1988.
Convicted of any felonies or misdemeanors? None.
Bankruptcies? Details, dates? Never

 

MRGCD ELECTION
Who can vote?
You don’t have to register to vote. Anyone listed on a property deed within the district’s benefitted area is eligible to vote in the MRGCD election, even if you don’t irrigate your land. If a husband and wife are listed on the deed, both can vote. Check your property tax bill to see if you are paying MRGCD levies. If so, you are qualified to vote. If you are still not sure, call MRGCD at 505-247-0234. One of the district’s mappers will be able to tell you right away if you are qualified. However, you can only vote once, even if you own more than one property within the district.

How do I cast an absentee ballot?
First, visit www.mrgcd.com to download an absentee ballot application or obtain one from the Socorro MRGCD division office on 2401 State Road 1. Fill out the form (it does not need to be notarized) and mail it. You will receive your ballot back in the mail in three to five days. Mark your ballot and mail it to Automated Election Services, the company processing the ballots. The ballot has to arrive in Rio Rancho no later than 7 p.m. on June 4. If you don’t mail in your absentee ballot, you can hand deliver it to the MRGCD office in Albuquerque or to Automated Election Services, 7000 Zenith Ct., N. E., Rio Rancho, N.M, 87144.

How do I vote early?
Early voting started May 20 and ends June 1. Vote at the Socorro Electric Cooperative engineering building on Manzanares Street (just east of the main office) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday, June 1, ballots and voter lists will be available.

How do I vote on election day?
Regular voting is on Tuesday, June 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You may cast your ballot at the Abeytas Fire Department, La Promesa Elementary School, Midway Elementary School, Socorro Electric Cooperative, or San Antonio Elementary School. If you arrive at a polling location and your name is not on the voter list, you may still vote provisionally.

 

Socorro County MRGCD Facts
• Northern boundary of Socorro County: just north of Veguita
• Number of Socorro County landowners qualified to vote in the MRGCD June election: 3,580
• Registered voters in Socorro County as of September 2012: 11,858
• MRGCD Socorro Division (from San Acacia to Bosque del Apache) cropland: 14,770 acres
• MRGCD Belen Division within Socorro County (San Acacia dam north to Veguita) cropland: 7,400 acres
• Total MRGCD cropland in all divisions: 63,555 acres