Voters’ Guide


Candidates for Mayor of Albuquerque

The mayor controls and directs the executive branch of city government. The mayor is the chief executive officer with all executive and administrative powers of the city, and is the official head of the city for all ceremonial purposes.

Four-year term. Must be at least 18 years of age, a United States citizen, a registered qualified elector and a resident of the city prior to the date of filing the Declaration of Candidacy. Must submit a petition containing at least three thousand (3,000) registered city voters to the City Clerk within a period specified by the City Charter. The Mayor earns $125,000 annually.

Michelle Garcia Holmes

Michelle Garcia HOLMES

What makes you qualified to be mayor?

The mayor’s office requires strong management experience and leadership that focuses on the city’s needs. I was born, raised and educated in Albuquerque, attending Saint Mary’s, Valley High and WBU (Bachelor of Science). I served 20 years with APD, retired as a detective. I served as the Chief of Staff with the NM Attorney General’s Office. I have 28 years of experience working in the criminal justice system and I will bring that leadership and experience to the mayor’s office. 

What are your top priorities?

Crime, economy, joblessness, education, homelessness, drug addiction, and traffic issues in our city. My top priority will be to swiftly and effectively reduce our crime rates. A safe city is a prosperous city. I can solve our crime issues. I am the only candidate running that has 28 years of law enforcement and management experience. I will make it a priority to eliminate corruption in city government, spend our tax dollars wisely and help small businesses in our community grow.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the city?

I will not allow staffing levels to drop. I will increase the size of our police department to the budgeted 1000 officers. My experience will enable me to select the right Chief who possess strong leadership and management skills. Collaborating with state & federal partners, DA’s office, courts, Probation and Parole to ensure criminals are prosecuted. I will use policing technology techniques to increase efficiency and reinstate the Albuquerque Regional Auto Theft Team and Repeat Offender Program to fight crime.

What is the best way to improve economic development and draw businesses and create jobs?

Crime is holding us back from economic development. If we are a dangerous place, businesses will not re-locate or remain here, and tourism will decrease. Providing businesses with a safe environment enables them to thrive. Growing an educated workforce, increasing tourism and marketing Albuquerque as a place to retire. I will work with our local businesses, holding business summits to expand our local job base, increase business connections with Sandia labs, work on technology transfer and the existing technology industry.

Brian S. Colón

Brian S. COLÓN

What makes you qualified to be mayor?

I have a long history in both public and private life of bringing stakeholders together. Now more than ever, our community needs to be united. As mayor, I will show the leadership that has been lacking by being fully engaged and present in our city. The 11th floor will be about community, not politics, and will be re-energized with the pride for our city’s unique ancestry, landscape, and culture. It is time our actions reflect our values.

What are your top priorities?

Public safety must be the first priority of our next mayor. Our crime epidemic has spiraled into a state of lawlessness. This is the current administration’s failure. We must rebuild trust in APD through an appropriately staffed and highly-trained police force. My goal is to create a Safe City and a Smart City that engages its citizens to move forward. We must immediately address Albuquerque’s crime epidemic, then focus on growing our economy and improving our public education system.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the City of Albuquerque? (80 words)

APD must scale up to 1,200 officers through aggressive academy enrollment strategies. Albuquerque needs targeted police units to reduce violent and property crime. Community policing and partnership efforts must be supplemented with stringent pre-trial procedures, repeat-offender review with enhanced criminal prosecution, mental health training, substance abuse treatment and gang prevention. A public safety action plan will be implemented immediately with the new Chief of Police reporting directly to the Mayor.

What is the best way to improve economic development, draw businesses and create jobs in Albuquerque

Our city must provide effective incentives to assist local businesses, secure the relocation of major national employers, and grow workforce skills through UNM and CNM. These public private partnerships will complement the growth the technology and entrepreneurial industries have provided. As mayor, I will invest in our local businesses and showcase Albuquerque’s attractiveness to larger national companies looking for a new home. The entrepreneurial energy of our arts economy, Innovation Corridor and downtown district must be replicated across Albuquerque.

Susan Wheeler-Deichsel


What makes you qualified to be mayor?

During 8+ years I have accumulated an enormous body of experiences as a deeply committed Citizen Advocate in many arenas throughout the city including but not limited to: led the redevelopment of a declining urban grocery store, led the redevelopment of 2 parks in the urban core including obtaining financing through the state and city, formed 2 organizations that are still vibrant: one to revitalize the city, and one as a grassroots economic development organization, worked hundreds of hours to improve public transit, worked hundreds of hours to update zoning codes

What are your top priorities?

There are at least 100 items that need to be addressed in ABQ but the 3 that rise to the top at this moment are: Crime and Public Safety, Economic development of all kinds, Partnering with schools to enhance educational outcomes.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the City of Albuquerque?

92% of all police calls are for mental and behavioral health crises and addiction related I will prioritize neighborhood- based substance abuse clinics all over the city. Patients will also receive either onsite or remote medical care for other physical and behavioral health issues such as that developed at UNM, Project Echo. For every $ spent on treatment, we save up to $12 on policing and crisis medical interventions. Teach everyone willing to learn how to access public dispensers of Narcan and how to use it, just like CPR, the Heimlich, and AED. Replace the police chief with one committed to the CASA. Provide better pay and working conditions for police and support staff. Engage public to assist at a neighborhood level.

What is the best way to improve economic development, draw businesses and create jobs in Albuquerque?

Make the city safer. Better educate our children and adults while supporting them to create conditions to optimize learning: stable homes, no food insecurity, parents who are stable, etc. Develop at the city website a one stop portal for all businesses to register and maintain businesses. Educate children and adults the methods of developing private businesses. Encourage the development of businesses that can utilize items the Duty-Free export center at the ABQ Sunport. Update zoning codes to allow varieties of businesses all over the city, not just in designated regions.

Ricardo Chaves

Ricardo CHAVES

What makes you qualified to be mayor?

I’ve been a businessman all my life, founding businesses right out of college, and I will bring my decades of business experience to the office of mayor, including experience overseeing multimillion dollar budgets and thousands of employees over my career. I founded a successful family-owned business and have passed it on to my children, and I will bring a long overdue businessman’s approach to city government.

What are your top priorities?

I'm running for three reasons: First, to restore safety and security, Second, to rescue our economy, and third, to reduce the size of government. The crime wave in Albuquerque is unacceptable. Burglars and car thieves are out of control. I’ve even had my car stolen! Our economy’s in a downward spiral. We must make Albuquerque a business-friendly city! City government spends too much of the taxpayer's money. I will cut the city's budget by 10% my first year in office.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the City of Albuquerque?

We must have a new police chief, before we can attract new officers and raise morale. I’m the only candidate vowing to seek a chief from outside the APD with a proven record of turning around departments. I’ll fully fund the APD, giving our brave police officers the tools they need to fight crime. The APD’s command structure must also be reviewed, and appropriate changes made there, as well, to restore confidence in our police department.

What is the best way to improve economic development, draw businesses and create jobs in Albuquerque?

Crime, of course, must first be addressed, but cutting the tax burden on our citizens, and cutting regulations for businesses, will spur economic growth, attract new businesses, and create new jobs. I’ve had five of my brothers and two of my children move out of Albuquerque because of high regulations and high taxes. Businesses are fleeing to places like Denver, Austin and El Paso. We must ACT NOW to make Albuquerque a business-friendly city, before we become another Detroit.

Timothy M. Keller

Timothy M. KELLER

What makes you qualified to be mayor?

Executive experience matters. I’m the only candidate who’s been publicly accountable for running a government agency. I have a strong business management background, and am the ONLY publicly financed candidate qualified by 6,000 voters demonstrating depth and breadth of support. As Auditor, I’ve made a real impact holding politicians and special interests accountable, fighting fraud and waste. As state senator, I put smart policies ahead of politics and passed the most bipartisan legislation to help our businesses, schools and community.

What are your top priorities?

Albuquerque is a strong, special place with immense challenges -- the highest crime rates in a decade and insufficient job opportunities. Few are getting ahead, many left behind. It’s clear the priorities are crime, jobs and education. But we need something more fundamental, a Mayor committed to meeting these challenges head-on and building a safe, inclusive, healthy, innovative city. One that our kids will stay in, people will move to, and is nationally renowned for culture, creativity and natural beauty.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the City of Albuquerque?

Let’s attack crime from all sides: including instituting real community policing; bringing in new leadership at APD, completing DOJ efforts; supporting our front-line officers by no longer making excuses for officer shortage; and addressing addiction, mental health and homelessness. To institute real community policing, reduce 911 wait times, and curb property crime, we need approximately 400 more well-qualified officers. Short-term I’ll create multi-agency task force to saturate high-crime areas while recruiting vetted transfers who will attend a condensed academy.

What is the best way to improve economic development, draw businesses and create jobs in Albuquerque ?

Let’s unleash money, incentives, and programs used for out-of-state corporations to work for local businesses, nonprofits, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs. To bring in new companies our next mayor must stand up for kids and invest in education and workforce training. I’ll step up for kids and parents by expanding access to community-oriented services at public schools, and provide a wide range of after-school and summer programs for STEM, early childhood education, arts, music, reading, sports and apprenticeship programs.

Dan Lewis


What makes you qualified to be mayor?

Named a “Top CEO” by Business First, creating high-paying private-sector jobs at Desert Fuels, one of “New Mexico’s Top 100 Private Companies” (Albuquerque Business Journal), and one of the “Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S.” (Inc. Magazine). Along with my incredible wife, Tracy, a 3rd grade teacher, we raised our children, Madison and Jensen, who graduated from Albuquerque Public Schools and now attend UNM. We love this city and we are driven to help it succeed.

What are your top priorities?

Albuquerque is plagued by an unprecedented rise in crime - with fewer officers on the streets, and fewer criminals in our jail. We will make Albuquerque the worst place to be a criminal, the best place to live, work and raise a family. Real quality of life start with safe neighborhoods and a city government that ensures good return on tax dollars, rapid emergency response, low energy and water rates, clean public spaces and streets, and an accountable city government.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the City of Albuquerque?

Keep repeat offenders in jail and out of our neighborhoods and put 1,200 officers on our streets performing community policing. With new police leadership we will ensure our officers are well-led, better-paid, and well-trained with the resources to do their job effectively - and I will have their backs! We will complete the APD court-ordered reform and get rid of the DOJ. And hold criminal court judges accountable for putting career criminal back on our streets.

What is the best way to improve economic development, draw businesses and create jobs in Albuquerque?

The best economic development is community development. Ensure a safe and fair place for business and job creation. Focus on strengths - our creative economy, directed energy, big data, health and bio sciences, data visualization, and industries with the best potential. I will double down on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, attract talented people that will start businesses and create jobs, encourage the investment of private capital, and utilize the local economic development act (LEDA) to help home-grown business expand.

Gus Pedrotty


What makes you qualified to be mayor?

I’m qualified to be mayor because of my deep understanding of this city and powerful vision for its future. The executive office of Albuquerque needs an aggressive commitment to solving systemic issues, opening doors to civic engagement, and being brave enough to choose bold solutions. My perspective is unique; as a student, researcher, administrator, and, now, the candidate closest to our infrastructure, I have created and can implement pragmatic, progressive, and inclusive policy in ways the other candidates simply cannot.

What are your top priorities?

My top priorities are crime, economic development, energy, and education. But it’s not enough to propose simple solutions - we cannot only attack zoning, hire a new police chief, or offer green energy tax breaks (though these are all things we will do). Shifting how we consider the issues facing our city and implementing multifaceted solutions will be top priorities for my administration. One example is developing international relationships through the upcoming EB-5 Conference to bolster biotech and education.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the city of Albuquerque?

Albuquerque’s crime epidemic is inextricably linked to issues of homelessness, behavioral health, addiction, and wealth disparity. I will see the DOJ mandate finished, hire a new police chief, and fully staff the police force - all to return to community policing. I will implement a service-first model for behavioral health issues and situations of addiction and homelessness. With these changes, we avoid stressing our officers, reduce overtime and out-of-court settlements, and continue to create more effective and meaningful community engagement.

What is the best way to improve economic development, draw businesses and create jobs in Albuquerque?

Through a diverse approach. We will open up whole industries in Albuquerque - such as biotech and solar – to create economic base jobs and new international relationships. We will legalize marijuana as a city, using the revenue to aggressively pursue the installation of renewables to be energy self-sufficient faster than any other city in the US. This will open up a new workforce at above living wage, bolster innovative industry, and pass savings onto our community, increasing quality of life.

Wayne Johnson


What makes you qualified to be mayor?

I’m the only candidate who has shown positive results in each of the most critical challenges facing Albuquerque today. As a Commissioner I have expanded the Sheriff’s department; improved Fire/EMS response times; brought over 3,500 jobs and over $600,000,000 in private investment to Albuquerque; worked through community schools to improve education; and built coalitions to address behavioral health and homelessness. I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ve seen this community grow and thrive. I believe we can do so again.

What are your top priorities?

Stamp out the crime fire that’s burning our city. Build an environment where businesses are free to create jobs and confident in their investments. Continue and enhance the work I began at the county to address behavioral health and homelessness. Strengthen and expand the community schools partnerships that have proven to improve student outcomes. We can build a safe, prosperous city. My experience and my proven track record in local government make me the best choice to achieve these goals.

What are you going to do to reduce crime in the City of Albuquerque?

We must reduce crime in the metro area now. I will initiate a law enforcement surge by partnering with surrounding agencies and the federal government. Second, the Department of Justice and court monitor are currently running APD and creating a working environment where officers are reluctant to engage in proactive policing. The DOJ must go. Third, create a culture of empowerment at APD where officers are well trained; trusted to do their jobs; and supported by the mayor.

What is the best way to improve economic development, draw businesses and create jobs in Albuquerque?

Growing economies require a safe environment. That’s job one. I will cultivate the innovation, technology, and creative sectors. Use tools like IRBs, LEDA, and JTIP to attract new and expand existing businesses. We need jobs now so we must support small business by reducing the burdens of city bureaucracy, taxation, and bad labor policy like the sick leave ordinance. Albuquerque can become an entrepreneurial and technological leader. We must also build multi-modal transportation infrastructure to support increased manufacturing capability.

Write-in Candidates for Mayor

Keith R. Judd

Stella Padilla

Pablo Reyes