10 Questions with Otero County Democratic Chairperson Candidates Brianna Martinez and Monica Davalos
AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org streaming 95.1 FM attempted to coordinate a candidates' forum to be hosted by Chris Edwards to bring information forward on the next potential leader of the Democrats of Otero County.
Mr. Edwards received a verbal commitment to conduct one from each candidate then unfortunately, candidate Brianna Martinez opted out due to a safety concern.
Out of respect for the care and safety of each candidate AlamogordoTownNews.com then asked our radio partner KALHRadio.org and radio personality Anthony Lucero to contact each candidate via phone and ask our 10 questions for the candidates.
Neither candidate was aware in advance of the questions and both candidates had the phone sprung upon them on 3-22-23.
Each candidate agreed to participate in the phone interviews.
Below is a transcript of each phone interview. Also below are links to each interview which are archived on the KALHRadio.org website under our archived newscasts and featured interviews.
AlamogordoTownNews.com and KALHRadio.org 95.1 FM appreciates that each candidate elected for transparency to participate in our interview process.
AlamogordoTownNews.com and KALHRadio.org as independent news sources and a community radio station believes it is our obligation; in service to our community, to better understand the dynamics of the two dominate parties in the local political process. Those personalities that are leading those parties and the political dialog of Otero County are important to the political process and citizens need to know who those leaders are. We often host interviews with the Republican Chairman Luna, have hosted dialog with Representative John Block and other Republican leaders, and are seeking a balance, to also show the inner workings and dynamics of the minority party of power in Otero County. Transparency has not always been easy for either party in relation to the local media and our position is to shed more light on the workings and dynamics of both party machines within Otero County.
What follows is a further attempt to shed light as an attempt to provide transparency to the public, of this competition within the Otero County Democratic Party for the position of leadership.
Both women, Brianna Martinez and Monica Davalos are strong Latina women of influence, passion and commitment to their vision of the party. Whoever is selected, as the eventual leader of the local party, they will add a new dynamic and different face to Otero County politics going forward.
What follows is the interviews, beginning with Brianna Martinez...
Complete Radio Interview Link on KALHRadio.org of Brianna Martinez
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (00:00):
We'll go through these rather quickly cause I'm sure you have a lot more to do than talking to a radio loudmouth. All right. So first and foremost, tell me who is Brianna Martinez?
Brianna Martinez (00:13):
Brianna Martinez. She is a hard worker. She cares about the people in the county. She, huh, that's a good question actually. I like that. I'd like to think of myself as somebody that works hard for people. I take care of people. I mean, hard worker at the end of the day, and I do what I think is best. I try to walk a fine line of honesty and integrity and hold myself up well and hold others accountable.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (00:51):
Okay. Where did you grow up?
Brianna Martinez (00:54):
I grew up here in Alamogordo New Mexico.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (00:56):
Okay. Now, what makes you the better choice to lead the Democratic Party of Otero County?
Brianna Martinez (01:04):
Okay, so I think that, well, I don't like to say it like that, but I understand the question. So, I think what makes me a good choice for chair would be my experience. I have hands-on experience. I've ran voter registration booths, I've worked on campaigns, canvased, all of it. I, I've been involved. I have a basic, a good understanding of the bylaws of the group. I understand the functions. I've been involved the past three years heavily.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (01:43):
Brianna Martinez (01:43):
I know how to work with the people and I have for years, and I'll continue to, regardless of this election, I'm still going to be here and I'm still going to serve my fellow Democrats.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (01:54):
In recent months, there has been seemingly a large amount of online mudslinging, looks like the old guard versus the new. So what are you going to do in order to unify the party?
Brianna Martinez (02:08):
Well, as I said in my interview with Chris, I can't really force people to unify, but I can lead by example. I can work with other people to the best of my ability if they allow me to. Of course, I can't force anybody to work with each other, but I can set, like I said, set an example and do what I can.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (02:30):
But you can serve as an inspiration. What would you do?
Brianna Martinez (02:37):
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (02:38):
I said you could serve as an inspiration doing something early on to say, okay, this is the person we want to follow. What would you do?
Brianna Martinez (02:50):
I think the most important thing to do is get to work. Just get to work. Let's do what we're supposed to do. There's no targeting. I'm not going to target people. I'm not going to do any of that, if that's what you're asking.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (03:04):
Me. No, no, no. I was asking what you were going to do to inspire people to know that you are the new leader and this is the new direction
Brianna Martinez (03:15):
Right away. Get to work. I do have a lot of plans that I'd like to do, start-up committees within the party to get out voter registration, voter education, and just let, let's kind of, I don't want to talk about the infighting. I know it's a big problem, but I think what we can do is just move forward and look to the future more than focus on what's happening here within other people.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (03:36):
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (03:38):
That's a good answer. I like that. Okay. Now, here's another kind of an ugly one, but I think you'll be able to handle this. The Democratic Party of Otero County has not been very cooperative nor transparent under current leadership. I think we can all agree. As a matter of fact, Jeff Swanson hung up on me on the 1st of March, as soon as I identified myself. So what will the Democratic party of Otero County's relationship be with the press and the public under your watch?
Brianna Martinez (04:11):
So as far as the Jeff Swanson situation is concerned, because I don't like to let misinformation go out there, he did have an unfortunate situation. He was at the vet with his dog, so that would be why he hung up on you. But I believe he had stated that publicly already,
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (04:28):
Not to me, and he was in the car, but go ahead.
Brianna Martinez (04:32):
In the car driving to go get his dog. But as far as that, I think that if people want to work with the press, then they can. If they don't want to, then they don't have to. But if you're asking as far as leadership goes, I think so long as everything is respectful and cordial that there's not a problem working with the press.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (04:59):
The Democratic Party of Otero County is significantly smaller than the Republicans, and as a consequence, the influence influences rather limited. So under your watch, what will you be doing to extend the Olive branch across the aisle? Or do you have another plan to grow the impact?
Brianna Martinez (05:18):
So that kind of goes back to some of the committees that I would like to start. For example, the voter outreach, voter outreach committee. I would like to expand some of those, get a committee together of dedicated volunteers that would reach out to these areas, especially those Mescalero and Chaparral that are kind of forgotten about. So maybe if we can extend our branches that way, talk to these people, get 'em involved, educate them on politics, whatever it is that they need, that we can actually help with. I know it's, it's very limited, unfortunately, but if we can reach out to them and offer voter education and voter registration booths, even coordinate with local places, see if they've let us set up. And also, another focus would be in trying to get more minority groups. And that falls not just with people here, minorities, and they oftentimes think it's race, but that would include the LGBTQ plus community and even those of different incomes. There's a big income issue here. A lot of the people live in poverty, so we have got to make sure that we're doing things to reach out to all of these people. And I believe that we can do that if you find your target the audience and you work your way to 'em, interest them.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (06:44):
Okay. All right. The most recent commissioners, both city and county, were appointed Democrat commissioners. And it seemed not one, the city one did well, but the county one seemed to not be so welcomed. What do you feel, do you feel that these appointments will have a lingering effect on the constituents?
(NOTE Mr. Lucero was mistaken in this question, the last commissioner appointed to the city was Republican Karl Melton who was not well received. Mr. Lucero reached out to Commissioner McDonald who was elected to ensure she understood he was not referring to her since she is the sole elected Democrat in the county and she was indeed elected)
Brianna Martinez So as far as?
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (07:19):
Do you think that since the only Democrat that have served as County commissioner was appointed versus elected, do you feel that that will have a lingering effect on constituents, or are they going to be open to looking at new faces, new ideas?
Brianna Martinez (07:36):
I think in a way it can. So it will have an effect. I don't necessarily think it'll be a negative effect. What we have seen, especially with the county, is somebody that did give it more of an appointment allowed for a different voice to be heard than what we're usually used to. Obviously, I mean, let's not act like, that's not the case. I think that it may, in a way, inspire people to possibly be more open to democratic candidates in a way, or just hear them out more. I can't, I guess it depends on who you're thinking will be influenced by this. I assume that probably somebody that's a Republican won't be so influenced, but maybe Democrats might feel more inspired by it. I think that it was exciting personally to see a Democratic candidate, even though she was appointed up there. It was exciting to see, and it was very interesting, and I think it did inspire people to push harder to work, to get a Democrat actually elected to these positions.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (08:53):
How does someone learn more about you?
Brianna Martinez (08:57):
So I think anybody or just, yeah, the party members. Anybody can, I mean, I'm open. I mean, wherever I am, I'm not hard to contact. They could call me, they can email me, find me wherever in the stores. I mean, I'm open and I'll talk to anybody.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (09:18):
Okay. And do you have anything else to add?
Brianna Martinez (09:22):
No, I don't. Not currently at this time.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (09:24):
All right. Well thank you so much for your time. Have a wonderful day.
Brianna Martinez (09:27):
Of course, you too. Bye-Bye.
The next complete transcription of the interview is the 10 Questions conducted by Anthony Lucero as the interview with Monica Davalos...
Complete Radio Interview Link with Monica Davalos on KALHRadio.org
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (00:00):
So let's start with this. Who is Monica?
Monica Davalos (00:05):
Who is Monica? Monica was born and raised in the Tuly area. I was actually born in a little clinic in Tularosa. I am a fifth generation new Mexican and the fifth generation ranch owner to my family's ranch in Bent. And I graduated from Tularosa High School in 1988. Left home for about 20 years, traveled the world and when Covid hit, I moved home, took over our family ranch and started my cannabis business.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (00:46):
Fantastic. So what makes you the better choice to lead the Democratic Party of Otero County?
Monica Davalos (00:56):
I'm going to go with my age and being that I am a fifth generation new Mexican and I have traveled the world as well, and when I came back home, I noticed that really nothing had changed. And I saw that there was a need, as I always had growing up, that there was a need for unity in Otero County. And I noticed there was only a certain demographic being represented, and I felt that with our diverse community, we were not utilizing all of the facets of our demographic. And so I wanted to change that. I wanted to bring more diversity to the table.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (01:43):
Well, it's interesting that you talk about that because my next question is, in recent months there has seemingly been a large amount of online mud slinging the old guard versus the new. So what are you going to do in order to unify the party?
Monica Davalos (02:00):
You know what? I really think it's time to put the past. In the past, we as a party need to start looking forward to 2024, and in order to do that, we need everyone involved to make that happen. So rehashing the past with personal vendettas is not going to accomplish our goal.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (02:26):
Okay. The Democratic Party of Otero County has not been very cooperative or transparent under current leadership. There's no denying that. So what will the party's relationship be with the press and public under your watch?
Monica Davalos (02:45):
Well, I think you said it best. It has not been transparent for a long time. And so what I immediately started to do when I was asked for to run for this position is I started reaching out to those communities and areas that were not being brought to the table. And I'm happy to say that the Melo tribe has just endorsed me, and I've also already been to Chaparral and have already start to help the people of Chaparral to understand how the ward system works. So I think there's much to be done and it's going to need to happen sooner than later, which I've already demonstrated.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (03:30):
Very good. Now it's kind of funny, it seems like you're kind of reading my mind and knowing my next question. I like that the Democratic Party of Otero County is significantly smaller than the Republican party, and as a consequence, the Democrats have very little influence in the county. So under your watch, will you be extending the Olive Branch to the Republicans or do you have another plan to grow an impact?
Monica Davalos (03:59):
You know what, I think it's first and foremost important to get our number for the Democrats up. We're at 30% right now for Democrats who are registered to vote. 18% of that only showed up to vote in the last election. So first and foremost, that's my number one priority as a Democrat, as chair of the Democratic Party of Otero County, that is priority is getting more democratic. Good Democrats voted into office Now as far as reaching across and extending the Olive branch, the Republicans, I believe that's absolutely necessary. You cannot have a one-party institution. You have to create a checks and balances in order for it to work. So that will be another priority of mine going forward.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (04:55):
Interesting that you say that since the state of New Mexico is essentially a one-party state at this time, but I understand where you're coming from,
Monica Davalos (05:03):
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org
The most recent commissioners, both city and county, were appointed, not elected. And this was not welcomed by a big chunk of the population, especially in the county. Do you feel that the appointments will have a lingering effect on constituents or do you have a plan to get past that?
Monica Davalos (05:24):
You know what, I think it's important to have elections. Appointments can create a little bit of nepotism, and once again, you use the term old guard, we need to incorporate elections because it will bring out the best in our community that will lead our community to better results.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (05:47):
Do you consider yourself to be a classical liberal or how are you a progressive? Where do you see yourself on that end of the spectrum?
Monica Davalos (05:57):
That's a hard one. I, I'm going to go with a progressive because there's so much changing in our society right now. And one of them, like I said, I'm a cannabis producer and one of them is cannabis. That is one of the progressive things that are happening in our society right now. And I hope going forward we have more laws lifting restrictions like that. It'll only benefit us as humanity going forward. So yes, I am definitely a progressive.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (06:32):
It's funny you say that as a libertarian, I'd like to see less laws in order to gain freedom, but I guess the end result's the same. And I'm also all for legalizing drugs, tax the hell out of 'em. We do with alcohol and tobacco. Let's do the same with drugs.
Monica Davalos (06:51):
Well, interesting that you say that. I really feel that cannabis, the reason it hasn't gone federal yet is because there's no patents on it. And I feel once we start to gravitate towards patents on cannabis products, especially medicinally, we'll probably see a change in on the federal level as well as in society.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (07:15):
Excellent thought. How does someone learn more about you?
Monica Davalos (07:21):
Oh gosh. Let's see here. We have our Facebook page, which we just put up. And let me see here. Chris, I know we have our new website as well. Let me see if I can pull it up for you.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org
Incidentally, I'm Anthony. Chris is the ugly one.
Monica Davalos (07:44):
Sorry, Anthony. Well, I hate to that
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (07:53):
I'm younger and have dark hair. I'm not much younger, but I am younger.
Monica Davalos (07:58):
Gotcha. Gotcha. Let me see here. I, I've been so busy that, let's see here.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (08:08):
Monica Davalos (08:14):
Okay, so our website is Monica four oterro county dot poly engine.com.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (08:27):
Okay. Incidentally, this is a perfect example why I like to do these on the phone versus email. You cannot be prepared for questions. You have no idea where I'm going and well, somehow you did or read my mind, but most people don't. And this really shows the public who you really are. Last question, do you have anything else you'd like to add so the people can hear it?
Monica Davalos (08:50):
Yeah, you know what, we as Otero County have a very diverse community, and it really is time that we start utilizing everyone in our community all facets. And now that this ward system has been created with 10 wards, I really feel that people are going to be more engaged. It's going to be more grassroots based and not so top heavy. So that is going to be a huge benefit to Oterro County and to the Democrats because it's going to give everyone a voice across the board.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (09:28):
That sounds absolutely wonderful. All right. I know you're a busy lady. I'm going to get out of your hair, but thank you so much for your time and we're going to, Anthony,
Monica Davalos (09:37):
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (09:37):
We're going to, so share some of this online on the Alamogordo Town news site, and some of it will be on the radio. All right.
Monica Davalos (09:44):
Perfect. I appreciate it, Anthony. Have a great day.
Anthony Lucero AlamogordoTownNews.com on KALHRadio.org (09:44):
You do the same.
The interviews were conducted 3/22/23 and the transcription was by an artificial intelligence program via Rev software which is the official transcription software provider of Alamogordo Community Radio KALHRadio.org 95.1 FM.
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