Clovis Mayor David Lansford, left, examines a time capsule in April that was buried in 1957. Lansford has been a huge proponent of a project to pump drinking water from Ute Lake to a half-dozen eastern New Mexico communities.
Clovis Mayor David Lansford announced Thursday during a scheduled press conference he is not seeking re-election in March’s municipal election.
Lansford said he chose Thursday to announce his political intentions because the date to be placed on the ballot is drawing near.
“The filing day is 60 days away,” he said, “and I want to give any interested party ample time to consider their candidacy for mayor.”
Lansford left City Hall immediately after making his announcement.
In the parking lot, a choked-up Lansford declined to elaborate on his reason for ending his 12 years as mayor, only saying that “it’s time.”
Lansford won a three-candidate race for re-election in 2004, earning 73 percent of the vote.
Commissioner Len Vohs said Lansford’s announcement was a surprise.
“This is a shock to all of us. I’m sure someone’s going to step up ... it’s going to be huge shoes to fill,” he said.
City commissioners lauded the many accomplishments Lansford accrued during his tenure.
Clovis has attracted several new businesses in the last few years, including Southwest Cheese, several bio-diesel plants and retail stores.
Lansford also helped steer Cannon Air Force Base off the base closure list and is credited with helping the city recover from a tornado in March.
Commissioner Juan Garza said Lansford’s support of Cannon was unwavering during the base-closure process.
“He has been working too hard and he needs some free time,” Garza said.
A pharmacist, Lansford said he would remain on the Ute Water Pipeline Project committee if the city commissioners will allow him.
Lansford serves as chairman of the committee.
“His leadership in the Ute reservoir pipeline project has been immeasurable,” Mayor Pro Tem and commissioner Randy Crowder said.
“That project was — no pun intended — dead in the water, until he stepped out and took control and then resurrected it. And (water) is the long-term greatest need in our community ... There’s no way around that.”
City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said mayoral candidates must file their intent to run for the position on Jan. 8.
CNJ staff writer Tonya Fennell contributed to this report.
Reaction from the city commissioners:
“I don’t think it was something our community was anticipating or prepared for. When you’ve had a really good, strong leader for a number of years and he announces that he is not going to continue on, it’s shocking.”
“David and I are good friends, it’s a sad, sad moment.”
“This is a shock to me. I’m at a loss.”
“I don’t agree with him all the time, but I have a lot of respect for him.”
“He’s going to be missed and I hate to hear he’s not seeking re-election.”
“He's been a great mayor and addition to the city and I was just really disappointed that he chose not to run again. I can certainly understand, he's put in a lot of years.”
Fred Van Soelen:
“I’m sad to see him go.He has been a wonderful leader for Clovis.”
“He has the right to do this. We are all under a lot of pressure.”