Candidates seeking votes in the upcoming November election met face-to-face in Roswell Monday night, during a community forum that gave voters a chance to hear from the contenders.
The Leadership Roswell Alumni Association hosted the event that featured 17 candidates running for nine different positions. The hopefuls told voters why they should cast their vote for them in the coming weeks.
â€œI want you to know that Iâ€™m running … because I believe in the values that made this country great,â€ said Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, who is running for re-election.
The state lawmaker told the audience â€” who were either attending the forum at the First Baptist Church of Roswell, watching on television or listing from a radio â€” her thoughts on limited government, fewer taxes and her position opposing gay marriage.
Ellen Wedum, the Democratic opponent who is running against Espinoza for the third time, told listeners why restoring the Constitution, focusing on education and creating jobs was her focus.
â€œ(Iâ€™m) violently opposed (to it),â€ said Wedum, referring to proposals that have gone before the Legislature for a gross receipts tax on food.
Although Espinoza also opposes the tax on food, she and her opponent differ on the issue of gay marriage, which Wedum supports.
In the only other local contested House of Representatives seat, incumbent Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, and Democratic contender Michael Trujillo, a Chaves County commissioner, gave their talking points.
The candidates found a lot to agree on â€” including the importance of creating jobs, protecting local water and fighting cap-and-trade â€” before differing on Arizonaâ€™s controversial immigration law and spending the stateâ€™s rainy-day funds.
â€œWe cannot have this type of law (thatâ€™s) in Arizona,â€ said Trujillo, who referred to discrimination he faced while serving in the National Guard. â€œWe were profiled and thatâ€™s what the Arizona law has done.â€
Ezzell warned the audience lawmakers tapping into the stateâ€™s reserve funds, saying spending needs to be cut, not increased.
â€œThis is not the time to get into our rainy-day funds. We have to protect whatâ€™s there,â€ she said. â€œWhat we need to do, is back off on government.â€
In the time for their closing remarks, Trujillo made mention of vandals destroying campaign signs.
Ezzell told the Roswell Daily Record earlier in the month that people were maliciously singling out her signs and destroying them.
â€œWhoever is taking the signs, and this includes mine too, needs to stop,â€ Trujillo said. â€œIt needs to stop today.â€
Other candidates who attended and spoke their platforms included Ray Powell, the Democratic candidate for commissioner of public lands. Public Regulation Commission hopefuls Stephanie Dubois, D, and Pat Lyons, R; Court of Appeals candidates Ned Fuller, R, and Robert Robles, D; Fifth Judicial District Court judge contenders Mark Sanchez, R, and James Templeman, D; county commissioner hopefuls James Duffey, R, and Eloy Ortega, D; Magistrate Court judge hopefuls Oscar Gonzalez, D, and John Halvorson, R; and county assessor candidates Ron Lethgo, R, and Fred Moran, D.
The forum will rebroadcast on Oct. 11 and Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. on Cable ONE channel 75.
Another forum is slated for Oct. 4 and will feature candidates running for statewide office.