City mayoral candidates answer our questions

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Ravi Bhasker

Ravi Bhasker

Describe the duties and responsibilities of the position you are running for.

The City of Socorro has a Mayor/City Council/City Clerk form of government.  The Mayor is elected as the Chief Administrative Officer.  This means the Mayor’s position is an active and hands-on Mayor who has comprehensive knowledge of the budget, legal matters and all projects throughout the City.  A leader who has a vision for the City’s future with an eye on managing the budget.  The Mayor must have the trust of all of the employees.  The Mayor must know how to utilize the talents of all the employees and in turn, they know the Mayor has their best interest at heart.  Finally, the Mayor’s team of appointed officials must be competent, impartial and honest.  They are the glue that holds the Administration together and carries out the desires of the elected officials.  They must have a calm yet confident personality.

How would you improve the operation and efficiency of the office?

We need to continue to roll out our initiatives.  Improve connectivity using digital, video and interactive applications throughout the City’s departments while introducing and utilizing today’s technology in a manner that is good for all parties involved.

What do you consider to
be the most important unmet need in City Government?

City government continues to run very lean and as such, I think we can benefit from continued education in all departments.  We can certainly institute helpful health initiatives/activities for our employees in order to protect our most valued asset – our employees.

What sets you apart from the other candidate in this race?

My qualifications differ from my opponent in many ways, i.e., my experience, my work ethic and the quality of my team members.  You just have to look at the partisan and mean-spirited individuals supporting my opponent to see the difference.  My team has moved the City away from the unhealthy/unproductive political practices of the past.  I have been committed to the day to day affairs of the City whether big or small.  I bring a knowledge of management and budget expertise that is comprehensive and extends to all areas of City government.  My consistent relationship with the public, Socorro Schools, Socorro County, MRGCD and NM Tech is obviously a significant difference between me and my opponent.  I have had success in the private sector in creating 75+ jobs, managing employees, budgets, building projects and working with other businesses throughout the City.

Have you been in a leadership position before, if so, what did you accomplish in that role?

Accomplishments:  Have maintained a stable and non-partisan team that runs City government, as well as administered a budget that is not at risk when it comes to deficits, layoffs or the need to raise additional revenue by increasing taxes.  This includes expenditures on streets, landfill, recreation facilities and activities, sewer extensions, water improvements, etc.  The list could go on and on.  This balance of expenditures, revenues and expectations could only be accomplished through a commitment from the City’s workforce and an enlightened City Council.  A low cost of living and a high quality of life are, and have been, a priority of my Administration.

Have you ever been terminated from a professional position and why?

No. I have maintained employment and a strong commitment to Bhasker Medical Center for 37 years.

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a Felony?

DWI in 2003.

 

 

Michael Olguin, Jr.

Michael Olguin, Jr.

Describe the duties and responsibilities of the position you are running for.

• Supervises the conduct of all officers and department supervisors in the City.
• Manages the day-to-day operations and long-term planning strategies of City government.
• Makes recommendations to City Council members as to the best course of action when considering legislation.  Provide Council members with information they request in order to help them make good decisions for the residents.
• Officially speaks for both the government and the community as a whole.
• Ensures the city fulfills its duties under the law. Lawfully and ethically exercises its powers.

How would you improve the operation and efficiency of the office?

• Provide more educational outlets for the community by promoting vocational education. More educational opportunities will increase our pool of skilled workers to attract new business.
• Increase our average gross receipts tax income by capitalizing on current tourism and Chamber of Commerce efforts while exploring and implementing new ideas to promote local businesses. This will help aid infrastructure and make wages more competitive for emergency service personnel and city employees.
• Develop a strategic plan that will guide future business and job growth. Seek and write grant proposals and establish and maintain private/public partnerships for long-term economic change and growth.

What do you consider to be the most important unmet need in City Government?

Economic development strategies and lack of high wage jobs. As Mayor, I want to improve and expand on the current infrastructure to help attract new business and industry. Give the current workforce the opportunity to advance themselves professionally to gain the experience and knowledge needed to attract newer higher paying salaries.  This will improve the local business climate by increasing the City’s average annual income while decreasing our poverty rate. Bigger paychecks will mean more money available to spend in Socorro to support local established businesses and restaurants.

What sets you apart from the other candidate in this race?

I am part of six generations of family history in the Socorro area.  I was born and raised in Socorro.  I have the energy, drive and passion to improve the lives of my neighbors.  I have been on the front line for education as a High School Teacher and coach, worked in two different departments at NMT and have six years of experience on the City Council.  I am now part of the local business community working in my family business.  I have been exposed to the different dynamics in Socorro and feel I can bring everything together to take Socorro to the next level.

Have you been in a leadership position before, if so, what did you accomplish in that role?

I have been in leadership positions my whole life.  The position that had one of the biggest impacts in my life was being a Soccer Coach for the high school.  I was able to guide the team on a journey that ultimately got us to the State Championship for the first time in Socorro High School history.  Pushing the student athletes to be their best day in and day out producing results. I want to do the same for the people of Socorro.  This community deserves to be the best.

Have you ever been terminated from a professional position and why?

No, I have never been terminated from a professional position.

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI or a Felony?

No, I have never been arrested, convicted, investigated or charged with a Felony or DWI.

 

Next week, the candidates will answer your questions

El Defensor Chieftain is hosting a mayoral candidate forum Feb. 20 for the upcoming March 4 municipal election in Socorro. People are invited to submit questions they would like to see the candidates answer at the forum. Submit questions to editorial@dchieftain.com or bring them to the office at 200 Winkler St. in Socorro.