On Tuesday, February 28, a standing room only crowd had the opportunity to listen directly from the candidates for the upcoming local elections what they think and plan to do for Douglas if elected, during a Political Forum, which took place at the City Hall.
Participating candidates included mayoral candidates Danny “dj” Morales and Danny Ortega Jr., Ward 1 unopposed candidate Margaret Morales; Ward 3 candidates Lynn Kartchner and incumbent council member Ben LaForge and Ward 5 candidates Luis Greer and Lourdes “Lou” Estrada.
The event began with a three-minute opening statement made by all seven candidates running in this election, in which, each one of them spoke briefly about themselves and their goals in general to make the City of Douglas a more united and harmonic place to work in.
Councilwoman Morales expressed her desire to continue serving the people of Douglas in Ward 1. Her goal is to address the needs of safety and the quality of life in the area; she assured she will keep her support to every project that will help increase the city’s quality of life.
Kartchner focused his opening statement in saying to the people that if elected, he will follow all the rules, make no violations, no ugliness to the public eye during council meetings and mainly he will make his decisions with the highest, professional, ethical and moral standards of government.
By his part, LaForge remarked his great appreciation for the City of Douglas; he also remarked his over 40 years of experience working as public servant for different administrative, school and public organizations that combined gives him plenty of experience to make the right choices for the City.
Ortega said in his opening statement that in order to have a better city, he would like to get the community together to overcome the current obstacles that the city is facing today, such as jobs, the port’s expansion, street pavement and the status of the hospital.
“I would address the lack of jobs by working with the Economic Development Council to make investment in our assets, such as our proximity to Mexico, our bilingual community, and the City of Douglas International Airport,” Ortega said. “We also have a wonderful college that has a great flight program and I think we need to take advantage of these assets to make Douglas a better place to live.”
Mayoral candidate Morales assured in his statement that he will be a new voice and bring a new vision for the people of Douglas. He also assured he will fight for the people’s interests with passion, honor, courage and commitment; he will be visible and available, but more importantly he will listen to the people’s concerns and needs.
“Together, you and I will build teams to move Douglas to a new and better future,” Morales said. “We will, with God’s help, do this great and new thing.”
Candidate Greer said it has been an honor to work with the community’s children and staff and he has seen many DHS graduates become professionals. He said if being elected, he will strive to move Douglas to the future; he assured to be a hard worker and he likes to learn.
Candidate Estrada said in her message that she believes in focusing in government’s transparency, in the financial responsibility and accountability. She also said that the future of Douglas depends on the City of Douglas Fiscal Management, especially during these hard economic times. She said that if elected she will act fairly and in an ethical manner.
After initial statements made by each one of the candidates, moderator Henderson began with a series of questions to each of the candidates. Some questions asked were:
Would you like to continue with evening meetings? How would you approach developing a harmonious council in order to foster positive energy in the development of Douglas? Do you support the building of a new hospital to replace the current one and to maintain local control? Are you in favor of a strong finance committee that meets quarterly and monitors the city’s expenses? What background do you have in business and how important is it in running the City of Douglas? What would you do to improve the job market in Douglas? When the Call to the Public should be? What can you do to improve the city council meetings’ environment? And other questions that involved City’s Infrastructure status and relationship with Agua Prieta.
The answer to each one of these questions provided by the candidates gave a general idea of the vision and perspective of each one of them, which left a feeling of satisfaction in the public who attended to the forum.
Primary elections will be held on March 13 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all polling locations. The following are the polling locations available for the six different wards in Douglas:
Ward 1, Recreation Center, 921 3rd St; Ward 2, National Guard Armory, 1401 8th St; Ward 3, Douglas Fire Department, 1400 10th St; Ward 4, St. Lukes Parish Hall, 1211 15th St; Ward 5, Douglas Visitor Center, 345 W. 16th St. and Ward 6, Douglas High School-Athletic Department, 1800 Estrella Avenue.
For more information, people can contact the City of Douglas (520) 417-7302.