CCC trustees election drawing more interest than in past years

Gary Mitchell

Seven candidates and three contested races have made this year’s Clovis Community College Board of Trustees election a bit more interesting than in past years, say election officials.
“We’ve already had more activity in this election than any other election of its kind in the past,” said Coni Jo Lyman, deputy chief county clerk. “We’ll see if it’s just the candidates’ interest or if it’s voter interest.”
As of 5 p.m. Friday, 61 people cast early ballots in the election.
Polls will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m. that day.
For specific information on where to vote, contact the Curry County Clerk’s office at 763-5591.
“We have consolidated the voting precincts,” Lyman said. “Member districts 1 and 4 are not up for election this time, so not everybody will get to vote in this election.”
This year’s trustee election will feature two candidates running for District 2, two candidates for District 3 and three candidates (including a write-in candidate) for District 5.
Incumbent Charlton B. Guthals will face challenger Simon L. Chavez for the District 2 seat.
Russell L. Muffley will square off against Teresa Ann Montoya for District 3. Trustee Abby Parrish is retiring after serving for 10 years on the board.
Incumbent Terry Martin will face challenges from Angelina Baca-Rodriguez and write-in candidate Marcella Reyes-Bell for the District 5 seat.

District 2
Guthals, 38, was appointed to the board in January 2002 to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Mary Tiffin-Williams.
“Trying to get the people out to vote — that’s the biggest battle,” he said. “It’s a little bit unusual to have these races contested.”
A college trustee should be nonpartisan and unbiased, Guthals said.
“You’ve got to be open-minded, not be selfish or have a personal agenda,” he said. “You have to be open-minded to deal with policy matters. And that’s what we deal with as trustees. Right now, we’re very excited about the growth of the college. It looks like this spring we will have the highest-ever enrollment, and that’s amazing when you consider Cannon’s numbers being down, especially with the recent deployments. It’s a really good sign.”
Chavez, 48, a native of Clovis, said he always has had a sense of civic duty.
“I wanted to be of service to the community ever since adolescence,” he said.
After being away from the area for about 20 years, Chavez returned five years ago and now serves as a housing inspector for Clovis Housing & Redevelopment Agency.
“My background as a student both here at CCC and at UNM will give a different perspective to the board,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has been a graduate of CCC who’s on the board now.
“I wish to be at the center of these changes and will continuously strive with CCC to exceed the expectations of the community,” he said. “As the student population grows, I will contribute my energy to the further expansion and change of the campus.”

District 3
Muffley, 55, owner of Muffley Funeral Home and former municipal judge, said he hoped for a good turnout for this year’s election.
“I hope we can get people out to vote,” he said. “Abby Parrish had been representing this district, and he and I visited recently. I felt I had the time now I could dedicate to the board and the growth of the college. I would like to see the development of new courses, especially trade courses.”
After his daughters had attended Clovis Community College, and a colleague of his received his associate’s degree there, Muffley felt he had a definite connection to the school.
“I’ve watched it grow and develop,” he said. “I just felt I could lend a little of my expertise or at least my desire to serve the public by being on the board.”
Montoya, a native of Clovis and an employee at Clovis-Carver Public Library, said she wants to serve the public as a concerned citizen.
“Through the past 47 years, I have seen my community grow in many ways,” she said. “I would like to enhance the growth of the community further.”
Among her plans for representation on the CCC board would be assisting in evaluating the educational program of CCC to better meet the needs of students; providing adequate financing for present needs and future plans of the community; assisting in recruitment and evaluation of an excellent faculty and staff; and ensuring a quality education for all students.
“I will serve as a member by listening to opposing views and defending the board’s philosophy and goals,” she said. “I will serve out of a sincere desire to benefit the community rather than for personal glory or to carry out personal objectives.”

District 5
Martin, a building inspector for the city of Clovis and pastor of Triangle Baptist Church, serves as the incumbent on the board.
“My belief in students fulfilling their educational aspirations” is the motivation in seeking re-election, Martin said.
“If you truly have a deep concern for the future of this community, then it’s quite clear that the foundation starts with developing and implementing an educational process that provides students from preschool to college with every opportunity to explore their learning potential,” Martin said.
Martin said his next project is to assist and be instrumental in forming the community-based program, “Clovis Educational Initiative.”
“This initiative will begin with identifying key individuals within the community that share concerns about our students,” he said. “A committee will be comprised of individuals from all walks of life, professions and, most importantly, parents.”
Martin said he will serve in an advisory role and let the committee determine its goals and objectives.
Baca-Rodriguez, 44, cites her educational and work experience as key factors in her being elected to the college’s board of trustees.
“The most motivating factor for me is that all the board members except one have been there for 12 years,” she said. “Some are on their third term. That would be 18 years. I think that’s not healthy to have someone in that position that long.
“Secondly, this race historically has been with candidates running unopposed,” she said. “A lot of the times, citizens aren’t even aware the election is going on. It’s not healthy for the democratic process. I felt if I put my name in , I would bring in some awareness to the race, and I believe I have.”
She began her academic career in 1980 by taking her first classes at CCC.
“I have no personal agenda except to serve in the best interest of students,” she said. “If elected, I will be totally accessible to the public.”
Write-in candidate Bell, 40, who works in the Public Defender’s Office, said she just wanted to be more involved in serving the community.
“What the college does, it does so much for people,” she said. “I went to school there. My sister works there, and my mom’s taking classes there as well. It’s a family affair. That’s what I’m hoping will happen — for the community to be more involved in the college.”
Bell said voters would need to write in her name, Marcella Bell, because that’s how she is currently registered on the county rolls.