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With Main Street in the background, Ken Miyagishima announced his candidacy for a fourth consecutive four-year term as mayor of Las Cruces.
“Las Cruces just keeps moving forward,” Miyagishima said in a brief news conference in the downtown plaza next to Rad Rectrocade held Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Miyagishima was elected mayor in 2007 and re-elected in 2011 and 2015. Miyagishima, 56, served six years on the Las Cruces City Council before being elected mayor and eight years on the Doña Ana County Commission before that.
Four others have announced their candidacies for mayor in the Nov. 5 nonpartisan election: City Councilor Greg Smith, former city councilor and unsuccessful 2011 mayoral candidate Dolores Lucero, 2015 mayoral candidate Gina Ortega and businessman Mike Tellez. The mayor, three members of the city council and the presiding municipal judge will be chosen by ranked-choice voting for the first time ever in the election. Tuesday, Aug. 27 is filing day for all candidates.
The mayor said he still has “a lot to accomplish” if he is re-elected by Las Cruces voters. A top priority, Miyagishima said in a campaign announcement, will be “the development of city-owned land near the corner of Roadrunner Parkway and Lohman into open areas, a model residential neighborhood and commercial space as an ongoing source of non-tax revenue for city operations.” At the news conference, Miyagishima said revenue from the land could generate $1 million a year for the city’s Telshor Facility Fund, a portion of which supports Las Cruces nonprofits. Continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers being brought to Las Cruces by the U.S. Border Patrol will also be a priority, Miyagishima said.
The mayor said he also wants to make Las Cruces a no-kill animal shelter city and said the city will consider taking over full control of animal-control services instead of continuing to share that responsibility with Doña Ana County.
When he was first elected mayor 12 years ago, “the main issue was growth and development,” Miyagishima said in his re-election announcement. Today, he said at the news conference, there is a greater focus on quality of life for Las Cruces residents, with more recreational opportunities, including multi-use trails and a downtown plaza that is the site of many popular events. Last year, Miyagishima noted, city voters passed general-obligation bond spending for the first time in more than 50 years, and that will mean a new animal services center for the city, as well as a new fire station and more trails and athletic facilities.
Because of its fiscal discipline, high bond rating and strong leadership, the city has no major problems at present, the mayor said. A new city manager, he said, likely will be chosen by the city council in early 2020, after the November election and the swearing-in of new council members next January.
Miyagishima, who owns an insurance agency in Las Cruces, said he devotes at least 50 hours a week to being mayor and is available 24-7 on his cell phone. “I am a full-time mayor,” Miyagishima said.
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