Current city councilor for District 8, Trudy E. Jones, will not be running for re-election, making her last term and 16 years in the position.
Located in the Northeast Heights and Foothills this year, there’s two new candidates that are vying to assume the role: Idalia Lechuga-Tena and Dan Champine.
Lechuga-Tena, a Democrat and a former state representative, is an immigrant who grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Lechuga seeks to address homelessness by working with the City and county to create a Divergent Program Homeless Coalition where all nonprofits collaborate and align their efforts and secure funding together instead of competing for the same funding.
“To prevent homelessness, it has to be with education and helping them before they become homeless,” Lechuga said.
Lechuga said she also acknowledges how a certain percentage of homeless residents are going through addiction and behavioral health and doesn’t see incarceration as a solution.
“We can’t incarcerate our way out of addiction and mental illness, so we need to treat it,” Lechuga said.
The Divergent Program alongside working to prevent homelessness would also help those in need of rehab and prevent recidivism as well. The project would need a budget of $3.5 billion, and calls over over 1600 new police officers to develop the program, Lechuga said.
“Not only will it clean up the city, it will reduce crime because we are diverting the homeless. We’re diverting them from the streets and from the criminal justice system to treatment,” Lechuga said.
Champine is a Republican, former APD officer and detective who grew up in Albuquerque. He is a small business owner and currently works in real estate. He did not respond to the Daily Lobo’s request for comment.
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From his past experience, he states online that his main goals are making police enforce the public safety laws and to keep taxes low to support the economy, according to his campaign website.
He is willing to forward more accountability by empowering police officers to enforce more laws of such to the City, according to his website. In order to do that, he states he wants to have more officers hired for the job.
To address homelessness, he wants to take preventative measures whilst not losing focus on helping those who need it. He states on his website that he opposes the legalization of homeless tent encampments and would want to maintain safety laws in order to protect and keep the homeless from camping.
Kat Gomez is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo