Dennis Kintigh announces from the steps of the Chaves County Courthouse his intention to run for mayor, Thursday morning. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Former state legislator and career lawman Dennis Kintigh told a group of friends and supporters gathered in front of the Chaves County Courthouse Thursday that a mayor must be a community leader and this is a role he is prepared to fill.
“If we come together, we can make this into a place we are proud to call home,” Kintigh said. “I would be honored to be your mayor and get Roswell moving again.”
Kintigh, a Chaves County detective, announced his bid to run for mayor on patriotically decorated courthouse steps during a fanfare that included a band and a live performance of “America, the Beautiful.”
Kintigh was joined onstage by several supporters.
“We do need a new mayor,” said Alice Eppers, former chairwoman of the Chaves County Republican Party. “I’m so pleased Dennis is running for mayor.”
Chaves County Commissioner Greg Nibert said it was time for “this journey to end.”
“A new horizon begins, led by a new leader, led by Dennis Kintigh,” Nibert said.
With Kintigh, Nibert said he envisioned Roswell as continuing to become the hub of southeast New Mexico.
“He is the type of leader we need,” Nibert said. “He has great vision.”
Kintigh spoke strongly about his belief that his first priority, should he be elected, would be public safety.
“Public safety is city government’s first responsibility,” Kintigh said. “It is the foundation on which economic development must be built.”
He spoke about building a first-rate police force and avoiding turnover. But, public safety included more than just the police department, he said.
“We must strive to make this an attractive community,” Kintigh said.
He spoke about removing derelict structures, pulling down “eye sores” that devalue homes and erode the morale of neighborhoods and attract criminal activity. He promised to make the clean up a priority of his administration.
Kintigh also said one of his essential stands would be to grow the economic development of the community.
“We need not wait to set in motion initiative to promote good, rewarding job creation,” he said. “We need to build on our strengths: energy, agriculture, aviation, tourism must all be encouraged.”
Kintigh spoke about the region’s proximity to the Permian Basin, which he said was undergoing a “remarkable renaissance.” The Permian Basin, a large oil and natural gas producing area, may promise future exploration and extraction. The job possibilities and economic development would be valuable.
“These are great jobs in the oil patch,” Kintigh told the Record earlier this week. “Let’s do it. Let’s get moving.”
Nibert said the county would be supportive of Kintigh’s economic ideas related to the Permian Basin.
Chaves County has the advantage of a rechargeable water source in the aquifer system, compared to Hobbs and other oil and gas regions.
“We have something they don’t have, which is water,” Nibert said. “I’m hopeful that if the Woodford Shale is proven to be productive, it may extend into Chaves County.”
Kintigh then spoke about Roswell’s agriculture, which he felt was another crucial part of the city’s economic future. He began to tear up when he described the men and women who “at the end of the work day, have mud on their boots, sweat on their cap and dirt on their hands.”
“People so employed are the salt of the earth and these good, hard-working people are Roswell’s greatest assets,” he said.
Other supporters who came out to the event were former Mayor Bill Owen, Commissioner Bob Corn, Chaves County Republican Women President Joan Boué and State Representative Bob Wooley.
“I see a fire in his belly,” Boué said. “I feel very strongly he can win in March.”
Kintigh and his wife moved to Roswell in 1992, after he was transferred to the Roswell FBI office from the Washington Field Office.
Kintigh retired from the FBI in 2007. He is also a former Air Force officer who worked in the military and civilian space programs and a veteran of the Army National Guard.
He worked as an oilfield pumper for HEYCO in the Loco Hills area southeast of Roswell, utilizing his bachelor’s of science degree in engineering from the University of Arizona.
In the fall and winter of 2010, he served as the Roswell chief of police.
Kintigh served two terms at the state Legislature. He was first elected to the New Mexico State House of Representatives in November 2008. In 2010, he had no opposition.