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Los Alamos County Councilor {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Los Alamos County Council is the County s governing body and was created by the Los Alamos County Charter. The Council consists of seven members elected at large for four-year staggered terms. Three seats will be filled in the 2024 election by the three candidates receiving the most votes. The County Council generally holds two regular sessions per month, plus one work session. Its members also serve as liaisons with the County s Boards and Commissions and other governmental entities.

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    Denise Derkacs

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    Ryn Herrmann

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    Beverly Neal-Clinton

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    David W Reagor

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    James Curtis Wernicke Jr

Biographical Information

To what extent should the County use its limited resources to support the LANL expansion while still maintaining the community's quality of life?

Have you served on any County Boards and Commissions in the recent past? What have you learned from that experience?

Should the County consider rezoning open space for residential development or should open space be protected against development? Why?

What aspects of the Los Alamos Resiliency, Energy, and Sustainability (LARES) recommendations and action plan would you support or not support? Why?

What do you see as the current critical challenges for the County?

The County can continue to support LANL’s expanded national security science mission while maintaining quality of life, which is one of Council’s strategic goals. County infrastructure can support moderate population growth, which in turn, should help stimulate our local economy and help revitalize our downtown areas. Managing growth responsibly, consistent with the County’s downtown Master Plans and using the County's revised Development Code, will be essential to maintaining quality of life.
I served on the Community Development Advisory Board for two years. I am now serving in my fourth year on Council and my second year as Council Chair. I have gained an understanding of Council procedures and authorities and knowledge of County operations and challenges. I have learned the complexities of the County budget and the importance of fiscal responsibility. I have worked with fellow Councilors on strategic planning to establish priorities and develop tools to track County performance.
County residents strongly value our open spaces, as documented in the 2016 Comprehensive Plan. Not all vacant properties in the County are designated open spaces. Officially designated open spaces, as well as trails, parks, and recreational spaces, should be protected and maintained. Other vacant properties should be considered, with robust community input, for development compatible with surrounding neighborhoods to address the diverse housing needs of a growing population in the County.
I support Council’s acceptance of the short-, medium-, and long-term phased implementation of the LARES recommendations related to natural gas; electricity; transportation and mobility; waste, consumption, and natural resources; and community planning. I acknowledge the findings of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. I anticipate Council’s adoption of the Climate Action Plan, which is currently under development, and its specific recommendations for community resiliency and well-being.
Housing development, downtown revitalization, and community services are critical to support growth and preserve quality of life. Development of low- and middle-income housing is essential for a growing population. Downtown revitalization is needed for small business sustainability and expanded shopping and social activities. Enhanced community services, including utilities, broadband, roads, transportation, parks, recreational facilities, trails, and open spaces, contribute to quality of life.
Campaign Mailing Address 5252 Quemazon
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Campaign Email
Campaign Phone 505-660-1191
Occupation Chamber of Commerce Director
The LANL expansion has created a large need for additional housing. Much like the County supported LANL with expanding childcare options, the two should partner in developing solutions to our housing crisis. Creative housing solutions and support of small businesses will greatly contribute to maintaining our community's quality of life.
I served 6 years on the Los Alamos County Lodger’s Tax Advisory Board, serving as Chair for 4 years. From this experience I learned how the Boards and Commissions give important guidance to the County Council to aid in their decision making process. I have attended many County Council meetings when I was serving on the LTAB Board, as well as in my current role as the Chamber of Commerce Director, gaining considerable insight into the workings of the County Council.
Open spaces need to be protected for our community, while current residential projects must be pushed through to completion. The DOE/NNSA should consider possible use of some of their current property for residential development. Some of this land could be appropriate for housing the unprecedented growth in LANL workforce.
I believe global warming is an existential threat for the world and specifically our community, and that we need to be proactive in adopting the General Recommendations of the LARES report. In many ways LARES has already been merged into the County's Climate Action Plan. At this time, I would say I support all of the specific recommendations.
Housing and traffic safety are the two critical challenges I see for the County. I propose that workforce housing should be a primary focus. For traffic, the Los Alamos Police Department, along with regional partners, need to consistently enforce traffic safety laws to deter speeding and reckless driving. Road infrastructure needs continual maintenance and upgrade to handle the increased commuter traffic.
Campaign Mailing Address 3780 Ridgeway Dr
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Campaign Phone 505-412-0995
Occupation Small Business Owner
The County has a symbiotic relationship with LANL. It is imperative that we value our contribution to LANL as well as LANL value our contribution to it. The County is in a position to use its resources to support LANL while holding LANL accountable to its support of the County. It would not behoove either of us to distance the other. The bigger question is how. What tools are available to us to partner with LANL for our benefit.
Yes, I have served on the Planning and Zoning Commission in the past and have gained value working relationships that I believe will support my position as a LA County Councilor. The experience I have gained has reinforced the importance of volunteering within the community and understanding the importance of civil responsibility.
The decision to rezone open space for residential development or protect it against development should involve careful consideration of all relevant factors, including community input, environmental impact assessments, and long-term planning goals. In many cases, a balanced approach that preserves valuable open space while also meeting housing needs through thoughtful urban planning and development may be the most sustainable solution. I need to hear more from the community.
Regarding LARES, two specific issues come to mind: (1) Cost-effectiveness: Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of proposed actions is essential to ensure that investments in sustainability yield tangible benefits and are economically viable in the long term; (2) Equity: Ensuring that sustainability initiatives do not disproportionately burden marginalized communities and considering the equitable distribution of benefits and costs are important aspects of any action plan.
Without question: Affordable housing. Having lived here for over 25+ years, it has always been an issue and it is not getting any better. We can do better.
Campaign Mailing Address 500 Brighton Dr
White Rock, NM 87547
Campaign Email
Campaign Phone 505-660-1867
Occupation retired scientist
The county can do infill projects to satisfy the large demand for student and new hire housing for LANL. These would be higher density projects inside the current town sites. In addition, we also need more low-income housing for the county as a whole and have space for this as higher density projects. Such solutions are already underway in the county. The difficult case is providing single family homes for the long term employees of LANL and the laboratory has to provide land for their hires.
I have served on the Los Alamos county council for one term and am currently running as an incumbent. An issue of great concern is the mental health of our youth. They are being bombarded with nonsensical information that produces fear and depression. The media world that creates the fear campaigns is fundamentally dishonest and our youth need to be convinced of the bright future that is ahead.
We need to protect our open space from residential development. This is the backbone of our quality of life. One important issue is to develop better transportation southward towards ABQ. This could include highways or light rail connections. This will act as a buffer for the housing market and improve access to the laboratory and the county. This will, in turn, allow us to preserve the lands we treasure.
Conservation efforts are always important to the county. This applies to electricity, water, and natural gas. The remainder of the LARES plan is built on alarmist climate models that have never worked. Man-made carbon dioxide mostly helps plant growth and has little effect on an atmosphere dominated by convection. In our county we should ignore these alarmist measures and do what is best for our middle class rate payers.
We are really facing a world where the governing elites create a flood of junk information: President Trump is a Russian asset, manmade climate change is a threat to civilization, Covid measures were for public health, Congress can run unlimited federal deficits, children should make permanent changes in their body to match transient psychological states, unlimited immigration helps the country, etc. These nonsensical ideas and their media promoters are the main problem we face.
Campaign Mailing Address 3034 Nickel St
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Campaign Phone 619-800-1282
Occupation Scientist
Set clear, long-term strategies to balance LANL's expansion with preserving community character and quality of life. Continuously assess LANL's impacts on infrastructure, housing, and sustainability. Collaborate with stakeholders and engage the community to address workforce needs while minimizing adverse effects. Allocate resources strategically to improve infrastructure, housing, and local businesses, with a focus on sustainable and inclusive growth.
I'm on Personnel Board, Parks & Rec Board, and Election Canvass Committee. I've learned to balance personal and public duties, active listening, incorporating stakeholder views, maintaining decision transparency, and setting accountable goals. I'm still mastering effective cooperation with County staff. The County needs to clarify decision-making to citizens and align more closely with their will, streamline outdated processes, and focus on equitable oversight rather than control.
Open spaces offer vast physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, habitats for biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and water filtration. They improve aesthetics, enhance recreation, boost property values, and draw tourism. Strategic infill can alleviate demand without compromising open spaces. The County should consider zoning reforms, streamline permitting, and explore public-private partnerships and innovative policies like the Land Value Tax to increase housing capacity sustainably.
Reducing fossil fuel reliance through electrification and sustainable energy adoption, concurrently addressing grid resilience and equitable access. Enhancing public transportation, cycling, walking, and equitably sourced hybrid/electric vehicles. Recycling and composting with more emphasis on reduction and reuse. Environmental education and community engagement. Success hinges on addressing economic impacts, equity, continuous performance assessment, collaboration, and action.
Enhancing trust through transparent decision-making, robust accountability, and citizen engagement. Addressing housing affordability with zoning reforms and public-private partnerships, and supporting small business growth with simpler regulations and resource access. Additionally, exploring innovative solutions like the Land Value Tax could shift tax burdens and promote development, aiding economic and community growth.