by Carol Bridge
RATON — The Raton Professional Business Women (PBB) once again hosted a well attended forum for candidates vying for seats on the Raton City Commission. Lori M. Chatterley, Dee Burks, Robert P. Beaudette and Ronald D. Chavez all willingly put themselves in the hot seat to be questioned in depth about why they believe themselves to be the best candidates to sit on the city governing body. Roy J. Manfredi who is running unopposed for municipal judge, declined to attend.
Ron Chavez, who is running unopposed was present in the role of senior statesman and he made a strong case for keeping the commission’s positive momentum going. He reminded the audience of the achievements of the commission in the last four years and encouraged more forward thinking and citizen participation. He mentioned DOSS Aviation coming to Raton and the potential benefits that this will have on the local economy. He was also encouraged to relate that over 60 houses have been sold in the last year (mostly to retirees) and that about 20 businesses have been started. Ron wants to ‘Keep the Momentum’ and encourages everyone to vote and to vote yes on both of the the water issues that will be on the ballot.
The most common question coming from the audience was about economic growth for the town and all candidates addressed this issue. Beaudette declared that he is the best candidate because of years of experience and his background both with the IRS and as a business owner. He told the audience that he has spoken with Paul Modrich (a Nobel prize winner) and that Modrich will assist him in bringing a forensic lab to the town. Details of this endeavor were vague as to time frame and feasibility. He also stated that he had saved the city a great deal of money in the past by being instrumental in controlling a ‘runaway’ city manager and mayor and in yet another area he had renegotiated the pay back for the aquatic center which reduced city fiscal outlay. Although he presently spends his winters in Arizona, he will, if elected, remain year round in Raton.
Chatterley enumerated the many reasons that she is the best candidate for the job. Her youthful attitude and technical savvy, business experience, practical experience as a chairperson on the Cimarron Chamber of Commerce, marketing skills and her love for the region stand her in good stead to be a positive and forceful agent of positive change. She listed the many positive aspects of life in Raton and stated that her deep desire was to make it a place that her children could come back to and make a good living.
Dee Burks (whose name on the ballot will be Deaitra Lynn Virden-Burks) clearly did her homework and was knowledgeable about a range of subjects currently facing Raton. She displayed knowledge of the community as a whole and expressed her desire that all agencies and organizations will be stronger if they work together. She says her qualifications include a sound educational foundation in business, extensive experience working for the city of Amarillo in positions of high responsibility, experience with grants and government funding, personal business acumen and that she is an effective communicator. Burks also addressed the needs of the school district and local drug problems. She says she understands the nuts and bolts of workforce development, believes in cooperation between government entities and wants to be visible and available to the public.
The Raton Professional Business Women did an excellent job of organizing and moderating the forum that was sponsored by KRTN and hosted by the Shuler Theater.