Town of Center to hold election for Town Board Trustee positions

CENTER — On April 5, registered voters of the Town of Center will vote on three open positions for the Board of Trustees.

A meet-the-candidates session was held on March 8 at Town Hall, which allowed citizens to ask the candidates questions.

Six people are running for three seats — Bernadette Arellano, Richard Barela, Miriam Gonzalez, Bill McClure, James Sanchez, and Herman Sisneros.

Three candidates responded to the Center Post-Dispatch's request for information regarding their candidacy.

Candidate Gonzales responded with, “My name is Miriam Gonzales. I’ve been a resident of Center for 12 years. I previously worked for the Center Head Start for 11 years. I currently still drive for Center Consolidated Schools and work at the dental office located here in Center. I have had the privilege to meet the community, engage with children of various ages, communicate with parents, and the community. Being bilingual has helped me accomplish a lot because my goal is to hear all voices and take into consideration what the needs and wants for our town are from all members and residents of Center. I have big goals for the town of Center to grow and expand. My hopes are to involve more of the youth in our town. Hear opinions and make a change. We often can speak from a resident view on what we want but I want to actually make a change in my town. Especially because I come from a hometown in México that has expanded and has tourism and that’s what I would hope to bring to Center. More businesses and tourism. Working with children, I understand how important it is to set a good example for the younger ones to look up to and be involved in the future as well in the town hall and community. Which is what I am aiming for as well, to set a good example.”

Candidate Sanchez responded with, “I’m running for town board first and foremost to represent the fine people of Center. The town is facing important issues affecting its people and as a representative, I will talk to citizens and hear what they want done. As a board member, we should not vote for what’s right for us by what’s best for the entire population of Center. I would like to see the North 90 development move forward at a faster pace. There have been many great ideas presented by the people which I would like to make possible. A board member is given a tremendous responsibility by the voters and we have to give 110%. I’m very proud and excited about the direction the town is headed and I would work my hardest if elected to move, kick and keep the ball rolling toward the right direction. I thank all the Center Voters who will support me and will represent all voters and all people if they voted or not. I have taken my duties very seriously including my 25 years as Center's Municipal Judge and as Center's Postmaster. I have served as a town board member and also served on the town utility board. I’m currently a member of the Tierra Nueva Housing Development a member for 15 years, a past member of the Colorado State Veterans Center at Home Lake. I’m a military veteran and served fighting for our country in Vietnam. I would be honored in serving as your Center town board member.”

Candidate Arellano responded with, “Allow me to introduce myself to everyone. My name is Bernadette Duran and I am running for Town Board for the Town of Center. I decided to run for this post due to the passion I have for our town and my desire to bring Center back to its hometown feel. I believe there have been great strides made but, I feel there are still a few improvements that need work. The biggest issue we are facing in our community is the drug epidemic. I give credit to Chief Meek and his officers for the great work they are doing to reduce drug activity. I feel the police department needs as much support from the town in order to continue with their work. I also feel that we as a community are lacking many other needs. Our youth need some form of recreation. When there is nothing to do, many of our young ones tend to get into trouble because of boredom. We also need to work on cleaning up our town. Certain parts of Town have become an eyesore. Driving around you see various things such as furniture, yard debris and trash that are strewn about many of the yards. We need to attract people to our town, not have them turned away by the things that homeowners should be disposing of. Another thing that I want to be part of is the North 90 and the growth of Center. We need additional housing and I can vouch for this need as I manage two apartment complexes here in Center. I became manager of Casa de Cortez and Valle Vista Apartments in January of 2021. When I got hired, I made a commitment to help ‘clean up’ the complexes. Since that time, I have seen a change and many of the tenants will agree that they feel safer and their young ones have a place to play outside. Many of the parents kept their children indoors because of fears for their safety. This is no longer the case but, I do know our work is not done. I work to make sure that safety is no longer a concern and I will do anything for those I care about. I can promise that if I am elected, I will put the same amount of passion, dedication and love into the wonderful Town of Center.”