MONTE VISTA—Four candidates have qualified to have their name on the ballot for Monte Vista’s 2017 city council elections. City Clerk Unita Vance verified the candidates on Friday, Sept. 1.
Incumbent Matthew Martinez and challengers Gary Johnson and Victor Sigala will be seeking to win two council seats open for election.
Dale Becker is the only candidate for mayor and is presumed mayor-elect.
Mayor Debbie Garcia and Councilor Jason Lorenz are not seeking re-election.
Three individuals will be competing for two open council seats. Incumbent Councilor Martinez will hope to heed off one of the challengers.
Martinez, a Monte Vista native, is the interim director for the Correspondence Education Center at Adams State University. He is a 2005 graduate of Monte Vista High School and a 2013 graduate of Adams State University earning a Bachelor’s degree. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran where he completed three deployments including Operation Iraqi Freedom. Martinez took office for the Monte Vista City Council in 2014 and serves on several boards and commissions.“This community is at a turning point and we must continue to be proactive to ensure Monte Vista’s success for the next 25 years. I want to to see this town continue to adapt and grow and be the heart of the San Luis Valley,” said Martinez.
Johnson grew up in a small farming community where the seasons are mild and the winters are cold. Much like in Monte Vista he was around hard-working people tending to their crops and who united in their worship to God. Johnson studied business administration and ministry. A combination he says is not much different from the founding fathers of the United States. He has a heart for Monte Vista because of its perfect location, climate and its “down-home folks.” Over the last five years he has witnessed the drug problem, crime and poverty that has stricken the community. He has been a part of and presided over the well-known and influential Neighborhood Watch Board for several years. “I have a passion to rebuild this town and erase the blight that this economy-killing drug culture brings. This town is worth working hard for and that’s why I’m heading for our city council,” said Johnson.
Sigala, another Monte Vista native, attended Monte Vista High School and the Byron Syring Delta Center and received his GED in 2007. He recently enrolled at Colorado Technical University seeking a degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in human services. He has been ministering for over 20 years and has been hosting a bible study at the chamber of commerce for the last three years. “I have come to realize the importance of people making the difference in our community. I feel we as a community must all come together to make a change to make our city better,” said Sigala.
Presumed Mayor-Elect Becker, a fourth-generation Valley native, is the branch manager at Wilbur-Ellis. He has lived in Monte Vista for over 30 years where he has raised his family. He is well known for having been part of the San Luis Valley Fair for 20 years and having served on the board for 18. “I look forward to working very hard on moving Monte Vista in a positive direction,” said Becker.
The Monte Movement
Becker, Johnson and Sigala are running on a united ticket and platform named “The Monte Movement.” More details on this movement will be provided in next week’s edition.