Army vet, community builder runs for City Council

October 9, 2013 • Local News

Jerry Heck, a U.S. Army veteran and former New Mexico Military Institute contractor, has announced his bid for Roswell City Council Ward 2. T[auth] he seat is held by Councilman Jimmy Craig.

U.S. Army veteran and former instructor at the New Mexico Military Institute Jerry Heck has announced his bid to run for City Council in Ward 2, a seat held by Councilor Jimmy Craig.

Heck’s main motivation for pursuing the position is his concern about crime in Roswell.

“Convention centers are nice, but we have to prioritize,” Heck said. “Crime is so severe, we have to address that first.”

He said he is concerned most with crime and the number of abandoned buildings in the city. The council is “non-responsive” to the problem and disorder breeds disorder, he said.

“We’ve got to work on cleaning it up, because that’s what’s going to do more than having an additional servant working on economic development. I don’t think the criminals have any fear of being caught right now, it’s so blatant.”

Heck spent many years during his four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan organizing local governments. Heck, who specialized in military civil affairs, will retire as a lieutenant colonel.

“My big push was empowerment of the citizens,” Heck said.

His missions since 2004 included helping locals organize basic infrastructure, such as water, sewer, transportation, fire and police. He also dealt with corruption and creating transparency in governments. He also assisted communities in Haiti.

“The big lesson learned is that the more you give, the more dependent they become,” Heck said. “You’ve got to teach them to fish and not give them fish and you make them feel good about themselves.”

Most recently, Heck taught ROTC at NMMI after relocating to Roswell with his wife, Betty Ann, and his daughters, Maggie and Kate, in 2003. He left teaching and now concentrates on managing his investment properties.

He is a member of the Pecos Valley chapter of the Military Officers Association, the American Legion and on the board of directors at the Sertoma Club. He also is a member of an anti-terrorism group affiliated with that fights for the reduction of the influences of Sharia Law in American courts.

Heck said he hopes to encourage more participation in local government.

“I think, in Roswell, more people need to get involved in local government and come to City Council meetings.”

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