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FARMINGTON — Forty-four Kirtland residents turned out to signal their approval of the jobs done by three incumbent candidates who ran unopposed in Tuesday's town election.

All three candidates — Mayor Mark Duncan, Trustee Thomas W. Wethington and Trustee Peter H. Emery — will remain in their current seats in Kirtland's town government. The three re-elected officials will serve four-year terms.

Wethington received the most votes with 43, Emery got 39 votes and 38 residents voted for Duncan, according to unofficial results from Kirtland Town Clerk Gwen Warner. She said the town has 369 registered voters.

Duncan, who works as the San Juan County treasurer, could not be reached for comment because he was out of the country.

Reached earlier in the day, Wethington — a maintenance manager for CH2M Hill, a Farmington contractor — said that he voted at Kirtland Town Hall on his lunch hour.

"I'm looking forward to completing the work we started," he said.

Wethington said establishing ordinances tailored to the Kirtland area would be one priority of the town government this year. Annexing more land is another.

He also would like to see more civic involvement from residents and the business community.

"Last time, I ran as a write-in candidate. I would like to see a huge turnout. I'd like to see greater interest. I would have liked to have had an opponent," he said. "If (residents) have some issues they want me to consider, I hope they contact me. I like that dialogue."

Emery, a crude oil hauler for Western Refining in Bloomfield, was also reached earlier in the day. Emery said that he would head to the town hall after he got off work in the evening to cast his ballot.

Emery lamented the low numbers of residents turning out to vote.

"It's a privilege to vote," Emery said. "I wish more people would take that opportunity."

Emery said the town council will work hard to help the newly incorporated town — the 105th municipality in New Mexico — develop.

"As a council, we just want to keep on building this thing to help the town and set it up for people in the future," he said.

One of those projects, Emery said, is establishing the town's waste-water infrastructure. And to pull in a business that sells groceries.

"We have a lot of things to do that we are trying to get," he said. "We'd love to attract a grocery store. We're kind of a food desert out here. We really want to make Kirtland a place where the citizens enjoy living and are proud of the town they live in."

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

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