Hakes, Buckingham seek District 5 seat
Kim Hakes, former senior vice president of Citizens Bank of Las Cruces, and Craig Buckingham, a captain with the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s office, have announced they have thrown their hats into the ring to take the District 5 seat on the Doña Ana County Commission.
The seat is currently filled by Leticia Duarte-Benavidez, who is ineligible to seek re-election.
Hakes, 67, reports he has served in various leadership roles. He has served as a U.S. Army officer and previously served as chairman of Memorial Medical Center. Hakes has also served in various capacities for the Boy Scouts of America and will begin serving on the Yucca Council board. He also serves as a lay leader of his church. He obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University.
“During my 40 years in the banking industry, I learned what it takes for an organization to be successful,” he said. “You need competent leadership, with the core values of integrity, trust, concern for people and the ability to prioritize.
“Our county has so much potential,” Hakes said. “We have a variety of natural resources that draw people and businesses to our community, such as the sun, climate, Whites Sands and the beautiful mountains. Other resources include the university, new medical school and the new intermodal railroad, to name a few. There has been a lot of time wasted on self-inflicted crises that have been a distraction to the community. We need to do a better job of governance.”
Buckingham, 46, is a Desert Storm veteran who reports he has more than a thousand hours of police and leadership training. With more than ten years of supervisory and administrative experience, Buckingham, a married father of two, said he has three issues he will champion as a county commissioner: repeal the gross receipts tax; repeal the land control plan; and enhance public safety.
“I will work to repeal the Gross Receipts Sales Tax (GRT) that damages our economy and drives jobs away from our community,” Buckingham writes on his website, www.votebuckingham.com. “In spite of this excessive taxation, the budget is running on reserves – with only the bare minimum of services to show for it. This must end.”
In an effort to repeal the Land Control Plan, Buckingham would like to eliminate the ETZ and establish unelected rule-making committees, based on his belief that the plan is an “undemocratic scheme that denies property rights and uses excessive regulation to benefit special interest groups, corporations and government bureaucrats” at the expense of Doña Ana County residents.
Finally, Buckingham believes the current county commission has not made public safety a priority. “Our sheriff’s office is cutting services,” he said. “Our fire departments have a shortage of firefighters, and there are not enough ambulances to cover emergencies throughout Doña Ana County.”
He promises to make public safety a true priority by “bringing together mental health professionals, hospitals, public officials and law enforcement to develop procedures and training for all who interact with those who are living with a mental health illness.”
Solis seeks District 4 seat
Isabella Solis announced her candidacy for Doña Ana County Commission in District 4. She is seeking the Democratic Party nomination. The District 4 seat is currently held by Wayne Hancock, a Democrat, who was elected in 2012, and serves as commission chair.
Solis, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University, has worked for the federal government for nine years. Her service includes the State of Louisiana for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) providing disaster recovery following Hurricane Katrina.
“My experience put me directly in front of families who lost their homes and personal property,” she said.
Solis was appointed to serve the City of Las Cruces as a member of the City of Las Cruces Retired Senior Volunteer Program advisory board.
She reports her family was raised and educated in Las Cruces.