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Yvonne Flores will seek a second four-year term on the Las Cruces City Council in this November’s combined local election.
A late entry into the 2017 District 6 council race, Flores won a 57-43 percent victory over first-term incumbent Ceil Levatino in a sprawling district that stretches west from Telshor Boulevard, south from U.S. Highway 70 and north from Hillrise Drive, zigzagging along its southern edge to include residents south of Missouri Avenue and of Vista Primera Road and Paseo de Oñate.
Flores, 70, said she made the decision to run again “to preserve continuity on the council.”
District 5 Councilor Gill Sorg has announced he will not seek re-election this year. Councilor Gabriel Vasquez has also announced that he won’t be running again in District 3.
Only those three council seats are on the 2021 ballot, which will also include seats on the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education and the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors.
“I love Las Cruces,” Flores said. “I love the people here. I love the potential.”
The City of Las Cruces “is a five-star organization,” she said.
“I can only speak in superlatives” Flores said of City Manager Ifo Pili. In hiring him in 2020, the city council “hit the jackpot,” she said. “He was everything he was on paper and then some.”
Flores also praised city staff, including Sustainability Officer Lisa LaRocque, Public Outreach Manager Jamey Rickman, Grants Administrator Amy Johnson Bassford, Las Cruces International Airport Administrator Andy Hume, Chief Budget Officer Leeann DeMouche and new Utilities Director Delilah Walsh.
Flores expressed admiration for Mayor Ken Miyagishima and her fellow council members, listing Mayor Pro-Tempore Kasandra Gandara as “one of my heroes.”
Being a city councilor is a 24-7 job, Flores said. “It’s full time, and I love it.”
In a second term, Flores said she wants to “continue with projects that we set as priorities,” including getting roads paved and septic tanks installed in District 6, along with completing other infrastructure projects.
Flores said she has a passion for Branigan Cultural Center and looks forward to the completion of its renovation this summer, and to “more equity in (city) cultural programming that reflects more of who we are historically.” Flores said she also wants to continue to “participate in solutions” to climate change issues facing the city.
“Every decision we make has an impact on everybody who lives in Las Cruces,” Flores said.
Quality of life should be a consideration in all council decisions, she said.
Flores is a member of the City Art Board; city Airport Advisory Board; and the city economic development, finance, health, housing and public safety policy review committees (PRC), serving as chair of the economic development PRC. She also serves as secretary of the South Central Regional Transit District Board of Directors.
“A lot of these projects are like my children,” Flores said.
“I look at life as a glass half full, as a cloud having a silver lining, that nothing bad ever happens,” she said.
Dealing with Covid-19 during the past 13 months “forced us to look at the inequities in our city, our state, our country and our world,” Flores said. “It forced us to look at what we should have been looking at years ago.”
The pandemic was “a travesty on the lives of our children more than anyone else,” she said, and pointed to the “extraordinary work to keep children’s programming going” at Thomas Branigan Memorial Library.
The city council and city staff “are working very hard to assure we continue to contribute to agencies to ameliorate hardships Covid has brought,” she said.
Flores was born in El Paso and raised in Ciudad Juarez and Los Angeles. Her father, Ernesto Rey Flores, was a planning commissioner, councilor and mayor of Santa Fe Springs, California, for 20 years.
Flores has a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish literature from California State University at Sacramento and a juris doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. She bought a home in Las Cruces in 2005 and has made Las Cruces her permanent home since 2012. Flores has two grown sons, Joaquin and Gordon.
Connie Chapman is Flores’ re-election campaign manager. Doña Ana County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds is her campaign treasurer.