The incumbent vice president of the Roswell Independent School District School Board is running for re-election in what is expected to be a tightly contested race.
George Peterson, 40, will be up against City Councilor Barry Foster and former state House Representative Pauline Ponce to represent southern and southeastern Roswell in District 4.
â€œAnytime you go into an election, youâ€™re worried about it,â€ Peterson said when asked about his competition. He added that every vote counts when voter turnout is low, as it usually is in school board elections.
Peterson, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1990 through 1994, was first elected to the school board in 2007. He ran unopposed since his predecessor, two-term incumbent Albertina Silva, declined to throw her hat into the ring.
During his four year term, Peterson has spoken out against budget cuts and promises to keep fighting for financing from the state if elected again.
â€œI would like to see the state fund us like they are supposed to,â€ he said.
He also promised to push for better security in schools by adding more cameras.
â€œThe principals and teachers would be able to monitor who comes in the building better,â€ he said.
Peterson himself is a product of the Roswell public school system. He attended Pecos Elementary and Mountain View Middle School and graduated from Roswell High School in 1989. He also has taken classes at ENMU-R. He has been a water production operator for the city for the past seven years, though he briefly was employed by the State Highway Department as a highway maintainer.
Previously he has served as president of the League of United Latin American Citizens-Council 8051 and the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO Local 51, City of Roswell Blue Collar Employees.
Peterson is no stranger to politicsâ€” he has run in three races in the past eight years. In 2002, he ran for a vacated county commissioner seat as a Republican in a four-way race, but lost to Democrat Michael Trujillo. Two years later, running as a Libertarian, he was bested by Republican Candy Spence Ezzell for the state House District 58 seat.
He gunned for the state House position once more in 2008, this time as a Democrat, but Rep. Ezzell maintained her seat by roughly 1,500 votes.
The RISD school board is a nonpartisan organization and elections will be held Feb.1. For information on polling places, contact the Chaves County Clerkâ€™s office at 624- 6614.