Nate Duckett, Roland Berkey square off in race


FARMINGTON — Farmington residents will have the opportunity to select a mayor, city councilors and municipal judges during Tuesday's election.

The Daily Times sent questionnaires to the candidates. Here are their responses:

Mayor candidates

Nate Duckett

Occupation: Farmers Insurance agent

Previous political experience: Four years as Farmington City Councilor District 4

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

The accomplishments of the next four years will hinge on the energy and determination of the citizens and businesses of Farmington. As our next mayor I believe our focus must be on economic diversification and promoting local business and job growth, implementing new strategies to improve public safety, growing quality of life opportunities for residents of all ages, and aggressively promoting our amazing outdoor recreation amenities to enhance tourism and put Farmington on the national map of places to go for cultural and outdoor experiences. As a council we approved exciting community driven projects in 2017 in order to pursue this vision. These ventures included; Main Street Complete Streets project, Brookside Water Park, River Trails Connection, Civic Center renovation, and the addition of dry camping at Farmington Lake. Each of these undertakings is aimed at enhancing quality of life, promoting local business and tourism, and attracting new residents to call Farmington home. It will be our responsibility over the next four years to shepherd these projects to completion as well as to set future strategies through a new comprehensive plan to set the stage for the next 20 years.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

The economy is our biggest challenge. We are fortunate to live in an area where we are rich with natural resources and the high paying jobs that go along with managing them. Historically this was enough to propel our economy forward. Power plants, coal mines, natural gas exploration and extraction has made Farmington the star city in the Four Corners. Going forward, if we lose the 1,500 direct and indirect jobs associated with San Juan Generating Station and the San Juan Coal Mine, if our critical industries here continue to choose to focus their resources in other states where they are more profitable, and we don’t do all that we can to diversify our economic and quality of life advantages, then the bleak picture that many people have painted for our city will come true. I, however, like many of my fellow Farmington brothers and sisters, will not succumb to this idea and will do all I can to work diligently, in a responsible and expedient manner, to maximize new opportunities for local businesses and new industries to grow jobs and attract people to our community. We will need all of our partners to do this, including but not limited to: San Juan College, who provides this community and its work force training and education that can help people improve their position and open new opportunities; our medical professionals and San Juan Regional Medical Center who provide growth opportunities in high paying careers; and our school districts who are preparing our students for the realities of the world ahead. This is not going to be easy. It will take an organized and concerted effort on the parts of all of us who are invested in this city to fight for its future.

Farmington has identified tourism and outdoor recreation as ways to diversify the local economy. What do you think the city can do to attract tourists and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation?

I have been involved with the outdoor recreation industry and tourism initiative from its beginning stages. Currently representatives from local government agencies, business owners, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts are working through the Farmington Citizens and Visitors Bureau’s Branding Alliance to implement a laser focused strategy to grow outdoor tourism and industry. The part that the city plays is critical. First, we have to be the leader of this initiative. We have passed a resolution, as a government body, in support of outdoor recreation and tourism and we have funded critical projects towards this vision with the opening of Farmington Lake, completion of the river trail system, and the construction of Brookside Water Park. Second, when we look areas of our local economy that we can improve in quickly and efficiently, outdoor recreation is on the top of the list. We have more natural outdoor amenities that are geared towards adventure tourism than any other city in New Mexico. Canyons, rivers, lakes, dunes, fishing, hiking, four-wheeling, mountain biking, boating, camping, dirt biking, we have it all right here, right now. Not to mention the cultural sights and the mountains that sit just north of us. What we are missing are the private businesses that provide the outdoor recreation tourist the experience they want to keep them coming back, and showcasing our amenities so anyone visiting our city knows that we are an “Outdoor Lover’s Paradise.” I am happy to say that the city hosted a work shop the first week of February for those interested in opening an ORI business and we are working now to find funding for wayfinding and destination signs that will highlight where to find our amazing outdoor recreation amenities. It is important for people to know that the involvement and buy in from our regional partners like San Juan County, BLM, and Four Corners Economic Development are critical to the long-term success of this plan.  As an elected official it is easy to say that I want to build regional and national partnerships, actually doing it, and having the full engagement of all of the interested parties, is another thing. We have that synergy right now, and I believe our determined efforts will pay dividends for this community.

Roland W. Berkey 

Occupation: Retired power plant supervisor 

Previous political experience: No time in elected office. Thousands of hours in volunteer work and church callings.   

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected? 

I hope to contribute to having a kinder, gentler city. I hope to improve communication and cooperation in all city departments. I hope to review all city department mission statements and assure that they represent an attitude that indicates that city employees are dedicated to serving the community.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city? 

The closing of power plants causes a lower tax base. Some city employees lack basic civility training which leads to perception that the city does not care about serving the public. There are so many people working at minimum wage part time jobs that it is difficult for them to realize the American Dream. 

Farmington has identified tourism and outdoor recreation as ways to diversify the local economy. What do you think the city can do to attract tourists and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation? 

We can publicize our great golf course, the Bolack Museum, Snake Bridge, and the great fishing. We should work to correct the rating that the area is a bad place to raise a child. We should actively work to gain recognition as a city with a very positive "Feeling of Well Being". We should publicize our great climate and work toward getting known as a good place to retire. We should let our good friends from the reservations know how much they are appreciated.   

City Council District 3

Jeanine Bingham-Kelly      

Occupation: Finance

Previous political experience: No response.

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected? 

I want to ensure Farmington provides the best possible service to residents and visitors.  We all want streets that are maintained, fully equipped and staffed first responders to insure our safety and a solid infrastructure.  I also want to make sure responsible choices are made.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

In the midst of many great things that our cities enjoy, we do have some challenges that we face that are very important. We enjoy economic diversity in our city but it needs to be more broadly dispersed so we are not relying on any one sector too heavily. It will be important for us on the city council to continue to work with Four Corners Economic Development among other organizations to help with this diversification. Marketing Farmington as an outdoor recreation hub is a great place to start and I am confident more opportunities will be developed. The challenges we have with our energy sector, including potential shutdown of PNM, only heighten our need for a strong city council to mitigate effects to our great city.   

Farmington has identified tourism and outdoor recreation as ways to diversify the local economy. What do you think the city can do to attract tourists and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation?

The city can promote Farmington as the place for outdoor recreation by advertising and encouraging every citizen to share the outdoor recreation opportunities they enjoy with visiting friends and family. The city can host more workshops to showcase outdoor recreation and the opportunities it offers while also promoting a business friendly environment.  It will also be important for those that don’t participate fully in our local outdoor recreation to be aware of many of the benefits to help attract those considering our area for tourism.

City Council District 4

Janis Jakino

Occupation: Accountant/project manager

Previous Political Experience:

  • Vice Chairwoman – San Juan County Republican Party (current)
  • Vice Chairwoman, Fundraising – Four Corners Federated Republican Women (2016-2017)
  • Delegate, County and State Republican Pre-Primary Conventions – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018
  • County Captain/Coordinator for the Following Campaigns: Chief Justice Judy Nakamura – New Mexico Supreme Court, Mick Rich - New Mexico Senate Candidate, Steve Pearce - New Mexico Governor Candidate
  • Volunteer for numerous local, state and national campaigns for past decade
  • Active Member of both San Juan County Republican Party and Four Corners Federated Republican Women for past decade

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

  • Ensure fiscal responsibility through transparency and accountability of taxpayer funds.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting processes.
  • Improve safety and security for residents, business owners and patrons of Farmington.
  • Pursue sustainable economic growth opportunities.
  • Support transportation and infrastructure initiatives.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

  • Potential job losses in our primary industries.
  • Support for existing businesses and promoting economic development.
  • Public safety — burglaries, theft, school safety, growing transient population.

Farmington has identified tourism and outdoor recreation as ways to diversify the local economy. What do you think the city can do to attract tourists and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation?

  • Continue focused marketing including “Jolt Your Journey” and “New Mexico True” initiatives.
  • Welcome Center at or near entrance to Glade, Bisti or other tourist destinations.
  • Recruit outdoor industry related providers such as off-road equipment and vehicle suppliers, large event managers and promoters, and guides for fishing, hiking, trails, or other tourist attractions.
  • Return commercial aviation to Farmington.

Patrick Manchester

Occupation: Owner/insurance agent Farmers Insurance for the Manchester agency

Previous political experience: None

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I hope to help guide the city of Farmington through the next four years by keeping a balanced budget, helping to increase economical development and continuing to keep an open line of communication with the people of Farmington. This communication will help the council to work through a lot of the problems that the citizens want to get addressed. I want to find a way to get to where the city has a full complement of Police Officers and Fire and Rescue Personnel along with consistent rates of pay. This could be a safety issue along with an economic issue just like Albuquerque is experiencing. My top priority is to serve the citizens of the City of Farmington.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

The loss of the coal mines and power plants will be such a large loss to the entire surrounding area. This has to be the front runner as biggest challenge. We will need to find away to replace the lost JOBS, revenue, wages and taxes. We need to increase our economic development quickly. This comes about by working together with the City, County, State and Navajo Tribe. We also have to keep the City Government running while dealing with such a loss. Another one that may come into play is water supply. With the weather the way it is there will be less snow pack, if any. That could cause a very big water shortage. This could be one of the first issues that come up.

Farmington has identified tourism and outdoor recreation as ways to diversify the local economy. What do you think the city can do to attract tourists and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation?

We need to continue work with the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau (Tonya Stinson) on their campaign, “Jolt Your Journey.” Also, working with the 4CED (Four Corners Economic Development) group on their economical development plans to build a better economy (Warren Unsicker). Both of these groups are working hard to help the whole area prosper through promoting and strategizing what needs to be done. I will continue to support any and all plans or ideas to increase economic development, thus increasing quality of life for the entire community. We have some of the most beautiful areas in the country around Farmington — from the Red Rock Bluffs and some of the best fishing in the world on the San Juan river, to fantastic mountain biking trails in the La Plata Mountains and some of the best weather anywhere you can find. We need to promote the area as a whole, not just the City of Farmington, to help to bring in more tourism. Together we can soar. Life can be a free fall until you learn to fly. Farmington has amazing things to offer, we need to turn it from a town you drive through to get to somewhere else, to a destination, a place you want to stay and enjoy. 

Part-time municipal judge

Bill Standley

Occupation: Municipal court judge

Previous experience:

  • Elected Part-Time Municipal Court Judge in 2014.
  • Appointed as Alternate Municipal Court Judge by the Farmington City Council in 2012.
  • During my twelve consecutive years as Mayor of Farmington (1998 – 2010) I was instrumental in the revision and/or implementation of city ordinances.
  • Appointed by Governor to serve on the Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee (JPEC)
  • Appointed by the President of the New Mexico Municipal League to serve as a Board Member of the Municipal Court Judges Association.

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

To uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary while impartially and diligently executing the duties of my office to the absolute best of my abilities. I have no other agenda.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the courts?

Challenges will come from volume of work, budgetary or staffing limitations, as well as ever evolving court policy and law. As a Municipal Judge, it is not predicting challenges that is so important to this office, rather it is how you manage any challenges while administering justice for those who find themselves in the Municipal Court system. I will draw upon my previous experience as a manager, policy maker and Judge to address these challenges to ensure they do not hinder the efficiency and accessibility of the court.

Brian Kenneth Erickson

Occupation: Operations manager at Western Energy Sales

Previous experience: Local Business Manager, Farmington High school Graduate, NMSU Graduate, over 30 Years as a resident of Farmington, experienced in Business Management, Administration, Marketing, and Technology. 

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

Many of the issues facing Farmington cannot be solved overnight and will take time.  One such issue is that we need to do a better job of reducing the amount of street inebriates in Farmington. This is especially important in our downtown area and needs to be an integral part of the revitalization project. Some feel we should treat the underling addiction issues through mandatory treatment programs. Others feel that tougher laws and more jail time is the key to success. The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle and should be determined on a case-by-case basis. We need to constantly evaluate our community programs for effectiveness and see what we can do to make them better. Any advancement in alcohol monitoring and prevention technologies should be implemented quickly. In the end, I hope to make a positive impact that reduces repeat offenders and improves public safety.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the courts?

Alcohol and drug related issues are the biggest challenge facing our courts today. These issues deeply impact our entire community in several ways. There is a link between alcohol and poverty, violence, traffic deaths, and child neglect. It negatively affects our society as a whole in terms of the resources required for criminal justice, heath care, and other social programs to treat addiction and support victims. Prevention, treatment, and enforcement activities are commonly enacted at the local level. Our local leaders are constantly trying to come up with creative solutions to combat this problem. It is by far the biggest challenge we face as a community.

Full-time municipal judge candidate Bill Liese did not submit answers to the questionnaire. Liese is running unopposed for the position.








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