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Sandoval County Offices

County Commissioner    Assessor    Sheriff    Magistrate Judge    Probate Judge

Sandoval County Commissioner

Seal of Sandoval County
Four-year term. Must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the district from which elected. The person in this office, together with other members of the County Commission, represent the County and its interests in all cases not otherwise provided for by law, and appoints elections officials to fill vacancies. The Commission is responsible for County government budget, county ordinances and resolutions, and zoning and business regulation in unincorporated areas, and sets policy for the operations of county government. Salary: $29,000 maximum.

District 1

Katherine A Bruch (Democrat)


1. What qualifies you to be a County Commissioner? (75 words)
I believe that we are all qualified and should participate in our representative democracy by voting and by serving our communities. I have been a volunteer and active member of my community since moving to New Mexico in 2011. With over 30 years of experience as a small business owner, my work history has also extended to Fortune 500 companies in capacities ranging from operations management to training and human resources.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities for your district and the county? What specific actions will you take to address them? (75 words)
The health and safety of all our residents is my highest priority. Ensuring that our water is protected today and for future generations is number one. A strong oil and gas ordinance that is tied to strict environmental controls and monitoring is critical. Access to emergency services through improved communication systems will also be a priority. My actions as a County Commissioner will be guided by how I will listen and engage with my constituents.

3. How would you balance the demands for economic growth with concern for the environment and our limited resources? (75 words)
The health of our communities comes first. Economic growth without solid cost benefit analysis, including hidden costs, is unsustainable. Water is our most crucial resource and all development requires long range water usage planning. The carbon footprint for our economic development warrants additional consideration. Economic development begins with asking local businesses what the barriers are for success and expansion. Repairing and restoring infrastructure along with improving connectivity are how we should invest our resources.

4. How would you manage development to ensure that adequate infrastructure and services, including roads and transportation systems are available, while maintaining public safety? (75 words)
Providing public safety services is the priority, we cannot accomplish this in our large county without maintaining our roads and emergency communication systems. Managing development will continue to be a challenge as we work to protect our resources and balance the reward expansion brings us. Encouraging business growth is often about making our interaction with government more efficient. The health and safety of our residents is always the highest priority.

James F Holden-Rhodes (Republican)


1. What qualifies you to be a County Commissioner? (75 words)
I am a leader. I have had a very successful year as County Commissioner for District 1. I have been able to draw on my extensive Leadership Experience as a U.S. Marine Corps Officer to identify problem areas, draw up plans and options to address them and then execute my plan. I have corporate experience with BAH, BDM, CSC, AFRL.I hold a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Ph.D in Public Policy.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities for your district and the county? What specific actions will you take to address them? (75 words)
My first and most important priority—which I have been working on for the past year—is the protection of our aquifer and source water. I created the Citizens Working Group that was directed to craft the Aquifer/Source Water Protection Oil&Gas Ordinance. Next, is the fight to insure that District 1 gets its’ fair share of County resources. That has not been the case to date.D-1 has been forgotten by Sandoval County.

3. How would you balance the demands for economic growth with concern for the environment and our limited resources? (75 words)
Any economic growth must be evaluated on its’ impact on our aquifer/source waters. Economic development efforts to date have been directed toward Rio Rancho. We must look toward small-scale, environmentally sound, agriculture oriented, alternative energy source growth in D-1.The real magic for economic growth is an educated citizenry. We must look to our schools to turn out citizens that can read, write, and be creative and look to their own economic well-being.

4. How would you manage development to ensure that adequate infrastructure and services, including roads and transportation systems are available, while maintaining public safety? (75 words)

D-1 has been forgotten for 15 years. It will be years before many of the roads are repaired. Fire safety is substandard. Law enforcement in northern and eastern D-1 is not adequate. I have successfully forced the creation of a GO Bond that will pay for increased public safety with no increase in taxes. It is going to take courage to fight for D-1. I Will continue to do this in the future.



District 3

Michale Meek (Republican)


1. What qualifies you to be a County Commissioner? (75 words)
As Fire Chief I developed a skill set that is crucial to accomplishing goals. I am able to analyze a challenge, determine its viability, attach an accurate budget to the project, and finally (and most importantly) set the priority of the goal versus other goals being looked at. In addition, I have twelve consecutive years collaborating with mayors, councilors, city managers and department heads to accomplish the identified mission of the organization.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities for your district and the county? What specific actions will you take to address them? (75 words)
My highest priority will be economic development. The SEA has commissioned a study of who the best candidates are to open business in the County. I will be a champion of this alliance and advocate to keep this plan on track and try to secure more funding. I will use my skills acquired at the City to search for grants and other funding mechanisms to ensure the success of this program.

3. How would you balance the demands for economic growth with concern for the environment and our limited resources? (75 words)
Economic vitality is critical for growth and protecting the environment is critical for sustainability. The limited resources in the County leads to making hard decisions regarding what top priorities can be successfully completed. Success should be judged by achieving identified goals that can be completed and allow the County to move forward. The balance required for success is the unbiased assessment of facts that can minimize gridlock and allow the County grow.

4. How would you manage development to ensure that adequate infrastructure and services, including roads and transportation systems are available, while maintaining public safety? (75 words)
Development requires providing services and infrastructure to court new business into the County. This needs to be balanced against maintaining the delivery of existing services and keeping current infrastructure in good condition. It is important to analyze existing conditions on a regular basis. Any duplication should be elevated and minimized so the County and City relationship is symbiotic and the entities are not competing against each other with like resources.

Kathleen M Colley (Decline to State)


1. What qualifies you to be a County Commissioner? (75 words)
I served as a Rio Rancho City Councilor from 2008-2012. During my term, I was Deputy Mayor for two years. I am a past member of the Mid-Region Council of Governments Executive Board, the Rio Metro Board and since 2011, I continue to serve on the Community Advisory Board of Presbyterian Rust Medical Center. I earned my Certified Municipal Officer designation from the NM Municipal League. As an Independent, I will put people before party.

2. If elected, what are your two highest priorities for your district and the county? What specific actions will you take to address them? (75 words)
Sandoval County is only 20% developed, a priority will be to address the needs of the underserved areas. There are funding mechanisms available – County Development Funds, IRBs, TIDDs, PIDs, etc. Utilizing these can bring jobs to Sandoval County’s remote areas. Priority two will be to ensure that all County communities have an open forum to discuss how they can work together for a more prosperous county that serves the needs of all residents.

3. How would you balance the demands for economic growth with concern for the environment and our limited resources? (75 words)
I am hoping to a bring broad based consensus back to the commission. Drilling and fracking will continue to be an issue in Sandoval County. I believe that through communication and concessions from everyone, a middle ground can be reached. It is in the best interest of all to find that center. Solar and wind energy are vital assets that can bring economic growth to the county, if all commissioners work together for the solution.

4. How would you manage development to ensure that adequate infrastructure and services, including roads and transportation systems are available, while maintaining public safety? (75 words)
Smart development of land around US 550 is a priority. I will encourage the commission to work with the Mid-Region Council of Governments, Sandoval Economic Alliance, governments of Native lands and other consensus builders and use this road as a “jumping off” point for new infrastructure. As a former City Councilor, I’m experienced with coordinating the agencies that are already working on solutions for transportation, workforce development, employment growth, land-use, water, and economic development.


Sandoval County Assessor

Four-year term. Must be at least 18 years of age and a legal elector and resident of New Mexico. Among other duties, the County Assessor is responsible for the tax related valuation of all county property, with certain exceptions, and prepares a periodic property tax schedule. Salary: $75,327 annually.

Linda P Gallegos (Democrat)


1. Describe the specific experience and abilities you have that prepare you for the office of County Assessor. (75 words)
30 Years of Banking, Managing and Investment experience. I have been a Title Director, Escrow Officer, Mortgage Loan Officer, Branch Manager, Private Banker, Underwriter, Loan Committee Member, mom, athlete, coach, referee and a Volunteer. I have been a CFO for a business with 4 locations and 82 employees. I have lived in Sandoval County for 40 years, have been a taxpayer for 25 years and am proud to be the current Deputy Treasurer.

2. What steps would you take as County Assessor to assure that property values are current and correct? (75 words)
First, I will listen to the staff and investigate current issues. We will identify and eliminate wasteful spending and use those funds towards critical needs, such as updated software. We will have stated goals and work together to attain them. We will adhere to state property tax codes to assure equal and fair assessments. There will be continued training and a productive and healthy teamwork environment. I will also continue to cooperate with other offices.

3. What is the biggest challenge for the County Accessor’s office and how would you address it? (75 words)
By far, the biggest challenge is lack of leadership. This office has a team of qualified professionals with decades of experience. They know their jobs but they need a leader and advocate. I have the experience and proven leadership necessary to oversee the Assessor’s Office and a willingness to serve. I will also improve our data availability to benefit taxpayers and customer service standards. I humbly ask for your vote. Thank you.

Christie L Humphrey (Republican)


1. Describe the specific experience and abilities you have that prepare you for the office of County Assessor. (75 words)
The Current Chief Deputy Assessor in Sandoval County with over 7 1/2 year experience. Over 25 years of experience in Real Estate and small business owner. I have title, mortgage, income tax and property tax protest experience. Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from UNM, New Mexico Certified Appraiser, Vice Chair Assessor’s Affiliate, Chair Legislative Assessor’s Affiliate, President IAAO NM Chapter, NMSU Instructor Edge Assessor courses and Mother of three boys which taught me perseverance and multi-tasking.

2. What steps would you take as County Assessor to assure that property values are current and correct? (75 words)
I oversaw the first Sandoval County reappraisal in decades. Over 90% of the account data was inaccurate. We found over 60 homes that were not currently being assessed which shifted the tax burden onto other taxpayers. This project lead to the most complete & accurate assessments records in Sandoval County history. Most residents of Sandoval County paid less taxes due to this reassessment. New technology, workflows for accountability & continued reappraisal leads to accurate values.

3. What is the biggest challenge for the County Accessor’s office and how would you address it? (75 words)
We must keep moving the office into the future & not allow it to slide back into the inadequate practices of the past. Due to decades of neglect in the Assessor’s office there have been a lot of changes but there is still work to be done. I have instituted policies to ensure accountability, installed technology that allows appraisal in the most efficient & effective way possible & developed a website to access records &…



Sandoval County Sheriff

Four-year term. Must be at least 18 years and a legal resident and elector of New Mexico. The Sheriff enforces the provisions of all county ordinances; aids in the arrest and detention of escaped prisoners; and serves and executes all process, writs and orders directed to him/her by magistrate judges and certain others directed by municipal judges. Salary: $78,554 yearly.

Jesse James Casaus (Democrat)


1. Describe the specific experience and abilities you have that prepare you for the office of County Sheriff. (75 words)
My career in law enforcement began after college. I have worked in law enforcement eighteen years, gaining extensive knowledge and practical experience. I was born in Bernalillo and Sandoval County is my home. Ten years of my career have been in Sandoval County. The training and experience there have given me good insight into the issues and the ability to effect positive changes for people, county, and the office. Professionalism will be restored to the …

2. Given recent events in New Mexico and across the nation, what would you do to address gun violence? (75 words)
Gun violence is complex. While the federal government is working on these issues, Sandoval County must address this now. Deputies require additional training. A summit of law enforcement officials, school officials, parents, students, and citizens must be assembled. Action to protect our children and citizens must result from this summit. Open communication is paramount to identify the problems with background checks, mental health needs, and critical incident recognition.

3. What do you see as the two most critical problems facing the Sheriff’s Department and what do you plan to do about them? (75 words)
The Sheriff’s Office has a lack of man power. This is unacceptable and unsafe for the deputies and the citizens of the county. A comprehensive plan is needed to recruit and retain the most qualified law enforcement officers. This would also address poor response times. The Sheriff’s Office has a lack of supervision. The office is top heavy with administrators. The patrol division is lacking supervision. Staffing levels must be adjusted.

Darrell K Elder (Republican)


1. Describe the specific experience and abilities you have that prepare you for the office of County Sheriff. (75 words)
My professional and leadership experience is quiet diverse and makes me an exceptional candidate for Sheriff. I have 34 years of direct law enforcement experience starting with the NM State Police. I retired from the State Police as a Sergeant. I continued my law enforcement career with Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office. I have served as a deputy, detective, patrol commander, court services commander, investigations commander, and I currently serve as an Administrative Lieutenant.

2. Given recent events in New Mexico and across the nation, what would you do to address gun violence? (75 words)
I would network with state and local agencies effectively to combat gun violence in our county through early intervention and investigation. We need to help people obtain the services that mitigate the root of the problem. As Sheriff, I would promote education to organizations and businesses that prepare them for active shooter situations. What do you see as the two most critical problems facing the Sheriff’s Department and what do you plan to do about them?

3. What do you see as the two most critical problems facing the Sheriff’s Department and what do you plan to do about them? (75 words)
The first critical problem is filling the open deputy positions. We will continually recruit for professional, high quality career minded applicants that have the safety of the citizens of our county at heart. The second critical problem is keeping up with technological advances by continually evaluating and purchasing high tech equipment that best serves the deputies.



Sandoval County Magistrate Court Judge

Four-year term. Each Magistrate shall be a qualified elector and resident of the district for which he/she is elected. No person is eligible for election or appointment to the office of Magistrate unless he/she has graduated from high school or has attained the equivalent education as indicated by equivalency certification issued by the state department of public education. Salary: $

Division 1     2     3

Division 1

Ann Marie Maxwell-Chavez (Democrat)


1. Describe the specific abilities and knowledge of the Magistrate Court that prepare you to be a Magistrate Judge. (75 words)
As a Magistrate Court Clerk I had the opportunity to work side by side with the Magistrate Court Judges in the courtroom. I have extensive knowledge with warrants, preparing court pleadings with regards to traffic, domestic violence DWI, and felony cases. My Clerk position with District Court has provided me with experience in documentation of criminal, civil, family and probate cases. I also assist the public with their court documentation and questions regarding court protocol.

2. What programs or changes would you implement to improve the Magistrate Court System? (75 words)
Due to lack of funding we are unable to implement new programs at this time, therefore I would ensure that we are taking advantage of programs currently available. However, I would work towards increasing the number of organizations who participate in the community service program, as funding is not required. I would also reach out to magistrate courts around the state for shared learnings and optimization of programs that would benefit all of us.

Daniel J Stoddard (Republican)


1. Describe the specific abilities and knowledge of the Magistrate Court that prepare you to be a Magistrate Judge. (75 words)
Having studied Magistrate Court cases, from felony preliminary hearings to DWI/DUI, I believe common sense and life experience are necessary to arrive at the best solutions for those involved. My business and public service include owning an Assisted Living business in NM, serving as a city and county commissioner in NM, on the boards of the NM Association of Counties and the NM Municipal League. These experiences have prepared me to be the best candidate.

2. What programs or changes would you implement to improve the Magistrate Court System? (75 words)
I will institute a video arraignment system which will save taxpayers’ money by avoiding the unnecessary transport of criminals to other locations for in-person hearings. I will support Veterans in a manner they deserve by creating a Veteran’s Court. This court will utilize existing VA treatment plans to address the underlying causes of Veteran’s behavioral and substance abuse issues. My objective: closing the revolving door on criminals and keeping Sandoval County and its residents safe.



Division 2

Bill M Mast (Democrat)

Unopposed



Division 3

Delilah M Montaño-Baca (Democrat)

No reply received

Justin L Garcia (Republican)


1. Describe the specific abilities and knowledge of the Magistrate Court that prepare you to be a Magistrate Judge. (75 words)
In 2004, I made a solemn promise to serve and protect the citizens of Sandoval County as a Law Enforcement Officer. I’ve faithfully and honorably protected the families of Sandoval County both as a Deputy Sheriff and a Police Corporal in Rio Rancho. These positions work with and through the court system every day. I have testified, completed and filed search warrants, arrest warrants, affidavits, criminal complaints, presented evidence, filed motions, and worked effectively with …

2. What programs or changes would you implement to improve the Magistrate Court System? (75 words)
As your Magistrate Judge, I would like to implement a first offender program for both juveniles and adults. This program would provide first offenders the opportunity to truly learn from their mistakes and empower individuals through this educational process as well as reduce the recidivism rates in the court. Another wonderful program that I have found has been very effective in Rio Rancho, is the Driver Improvement school. Traffic offenses heard at the Magistrate level …



Sandoval County Probate Judge

Four-year term. Must be at least eighteen years of age and a resident of the county where elected. Probate Judge serves the public in exercising jurisdiction over cases of informal probate necessary to the proper settlement of estates of deceased persons. Salary: $33,143.

Charles J Aguilar (Democrat)


1. Describe the specific legal training and knowledge of New Mexico probate law that prepare you for the office of probate judge? (75 words)
Having served as Probate Judge for Sandoval County for a total of six years I have the experience in processing probate cases. The league of counties provides training for all incoming judges at the beginning of each term.

What new programs or changes to existing programs would you recommend to improve the probate court process? (75 words)
The probate process is pretty cut and dry. The probate court appoints the personal representative for the estate brought forth for probate, changes to the process would mean changes to the state statute.

What is the most important information New Mexicans need to know about the probate process? (75 words)
The most important information New Mexicans need to know about the probate process are the documents required for filing for probate. Families should be familiar with the documents such as will, the titles to properties and names of all heirs. The probate can be done with a will or without a will.

Sandra Jean Atwood (Republican)


1. Describe the specific legal training and knowledge of New Mexico probate law that prepare you for the office of probate judge? (75 words)
The office of Sandoval County Probate Judge does not require legal training or background. This position is largely administrative with the privilege of performing marriages. My background as a small business owner prepares me for the administrative requirements. I have 17 years of experience guiding clients to prepare for their families by having a will and/or trust. My 45 years of serving my communities and beyond as a volunteer prepare me to serve Sandoval County.

What new programs or changes to existing programs would you recommend to improve the probate court process? (75 words)
The process needs updated with more online accessibility and functions. Sandoval County is 3716 sq. miles, stretching from Albuquerque to Cuba with a population of 142,000 including 10 Pueblos. Everyone deserves the services of the Probate Judge, so the Judge must be willing to travel when needed. I am also excited about the opportunity to educate the public on how to prepare ahead so families can avoid stress and uncertainty at an already difficult time.

What is the most important information New Mexicans need to know about the probate process? (75 words)
Get informed and have your business in order. Should the services of the Probate Judge be necessary, having a competent, full time, dedicated public servant, will make the process easier. I believe I am the best candidate, and would be honored to serve the people of Sandoval County. My full resume and more information can be found at sandraatwood.com, at Sandra Atwood on LinkedIn and on Facebook at Sandra Atwood for Sandoval County Probate Judge.