For every local election, The Taos News distributes questionnaires to all candidates in order to foster a more informed public. Here are the questionnaires returned for candidates for Taos, Questa and Taos Ski Valley councils.

Town of Taos Council

Name: Frederick A. Peralta

Where and when were you born? San Francisco, Oct. 8, 1945

Where do you live now? 516 San Miguel, Taos

What formal education have you had? BA in philosophy and psychology, graduate work in Foundation of Education

What is your employment status? Interim executive director of Millicent Rogers Museum

Are your property taxes paid up to date? Yes

What experiences would make you an effective town councilor? I have been involved in the community since my return to Taos in 1973: Planning and Zoning Commission, New Mexico Legislature, mayor of the town of Taos, past chairman of Taos Health System and member of other nonprofit boards and commissions.

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election? Taos Municipal School Board 1975, lost; New Mexico Legislature 1984, lost; New Mexico Legislature, 1986 elected four terms; mayor of the town of Taos, 1994, elected for three terms; Taos Municipal School Board, 2011 lost.

Why did you choose to run for Town Council? I believe that in order to prosper both as an individual and a community you must be involved. The town must be willing to lead the community to a prosperous future for our children and that can only happen when there is positive communication between the all segments of the community.

There are a lot of projects that been started over the years that need to be continually worked on and improved and I would like to help make that happen.

Identify three top issues facing the town. How would you address them?

1. The  recovery from the recession is the number one issue for our community and how quickly we can move ahead. All segments of the economy have been affected, from tourism to farming.

I believe we need to create a task force made up of individuals representing the different businesses to find common ground and to find new ways to be competitive in the new world economy. I think the town can be the facilitator to bring all the parties together. The town needs to play an active role in the solution.

 2. Improve the infrastructure of the  town, from the historic district to all neighborhoods. We must create an environment that is inviting to visitors, businesses and industry. Fix up the historic district, take down eye-sore buildings and build an infrastructure that will support our businesses.

Create private-public partnerships where necessary to get it done. Look for additional funding sources, public and private, to us ahead quicker. Recruit industry that will bring higher paying jobs and in turn support our local businesses. Bring more money into our economy to make a better life for all.

3. Vision 2020. We must preserve and protect our culture, traditions and environment while working on the above issues. We cannot forget who we are and the values that make this community the reason we live and raise our families here.

Protection of open space, support farming and recreational activities are a must.

Education of our children is key to our future. We must continue to partner with our primary and secondary schools, UNM-Taos, SMU and Northern to ensure our ability to compete. Community working in harmony is what it is all about

 If I am elected I will do everything in my power as a councilor to create policies that will represent the will of the people and see that they are carried out in an open and responsible manner.   


Candidate: Judi Cantu

Where and when were you born? I was born Oct. 24, 1960 here in Taos at the Old Holy Cross Hospital, the old one behind the former hospital.

Where do you live now? I live here in Taos. I live next door to my mother’s house at 531 Dolan St.

What formal education have you had? I attended CNM in Albuquerque, beginning in 2004 and graduated with my associate’s degree in April 2007. I majored in business graphics.

In 1996 I attended El Valle Technologies and completed this with a certificate in computer applications which opened my world.

I had in years prior attended UNM wanting a degree in biology and having to decide with two small children that I needed something I could graduate from quicker. I transferred to Albuquerque TVI and began attending taking classes in computer technologies. At that time is when my father learned he had cancer and ultimately passed away taking my life in a different direction temporarily. I am very proud to say, I am not a quitter!

What is your employment status? I am currently the property manager for Cantu LLC which is owned by my family. I thoroughly enjoy property management. I deal with commercial rentals and also residential rentals. I deal with many contractors, be it electrical, gas, roofers, maintenance, etc. I also do much of the maintenance myself. Asphalting parking lots, maintaining roofs, servicing swamp coolers and keeping my property looking good and full of plants in the summer.

Are your property taxes paid up to date? I have no property that I own myself but my family pays for the properties Cantu LLC owns; yes they are paid up to date.

What experiences would make you an effective town councilor? I have a serious conscience for right and wrong. I pay attention, I do my homework and request documentation. Being born here in Taos, I know what year-round Taoseños have wanted for years. My roots go back to the beginning of Taos through my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Padre Martínez. I am smart, I have common sense. I know what needs protection. I have listened to the new Taoseños and I know what the old generational Taoseños want as well. I see the folks with money and the poor folks of Taos. I consider all people.

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election? I have never run for office before, this is my first time. I was appointed by the mayor and council to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission which my tenure just ended on Dec. 31, 2011. I enjoyed this very much. I was instrumental to blocking the possibility of introducing conventional (modern) homes into the historical district. I was looking forward to the revitalization of the acequias in the historic district which is what was coming to the HPC when my tenure ended. I would serve again.

Why did you choose to run for Town Council? I am running for Town Council because I feel I can be more effective as a council woman than just a citizen. I would have the opportunity to vote yes or no. I know what Taoseños of old generations have needed. Now, there are new Taoseños which I have become friends with and have taken in changes that are coming and need to be addressed. I always watched the town meetings on the local station and occasionally went in person. I began requesting public documents. I found differences in what was being pitched by administrators. I found contracts proving nepotism. I decided I wanted to get involved. I want Taoseños to flourish and stop the conflicts of interest as much as possible.

 I am open minded and I can think out of the box. I always knew since I was young that eventually I would get involved with politics in some capacity. I have been a volunteer for several things. Taos Plaza Live, this will be my third year. I have canvassed for politicians, I volunteer to work in the kiosk which I will continue to do. I attend tourism meetings, I attend merchants meetings. I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce on Taos Plaza live. I was on the committee last year, instrumental to selecting the artists that played for the summer. I plan on doing this again this year. I care about Taos.

Identify three top issues facing the town. How would you address them?

1. Economic development: Being from here, generations of Taoseños going back 100 years have left this place they love to seek employment elsewhere. There is still no reason for the grandchildren of these people to return permanently as there still are no jobs that qualify. Not only are the old problems but the new Taoseños also have little work. We are tired and need solutions. I have ideas.

I believe Taos is located in the perfect spot. We can have a whole new industry of sustainability with the green industry; solar, and wind.

We have always been a farming and ranching community. We all know what grows in Taos and grows well if we have ever planted.  Taos can have a whole new generation of agriculture on an organic based large scale. There is a vision I have of Taos produce sold all over the Southwest.

Computer based technologies are also a green industry. This would be good for high technology jobs. I see expanding UNM and bringing in a vocational school as well. I have a vision and I don’t see negativity bringing it down.

2. Protection from overdevelopment: Protection for our agricultural lands, open spaces and our acequias. If there is any possibility of revitalizing agriculture, we need land. We need our acequias protected even from our administrators. Our green belts need protection with rock solid covenants that will be in place for the rest of time. We need protection from predators and developers.

3. Revitalizing our Plaza and making it the heart of Taos once again. Attract tourists from all over the world to come and visit Taos through in-house marketing and intelligent planning.

Finding the solution to making our Plaza functional again is very important to me. So is working on the infrastructure that has been in need of repair for over 40 years.

Using CDBG money on the Plaza which has been so neglected is important rather that sending it to the south side of town for future possibilities, which to me is just covering up that they are preparing for the big box stores. I am also against the big box stores for many, many, many reasons.

4. Expansion of UNM and it would be nice to get a vocational school for qualifying employment in the areas of renewable energy and health care.


Candidate: Linda N. Knief

Where and when were you born? I was born in Waxahachie, Texas, March 8, 1949.

Where do you live now? I have lived, worked and prospered in Northern New Mexico for over 30 years. My husband Bill and I live on Liebert Street. We love the quiet street, our vegetable garden and the closeness to the plaza. It has a small footprint but a grand space.

What formal education have you had? I graduated from Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas. I started my family early, so it took me a while to get back into school. I began by attending El Centro Community College in Dallas where I studied political science. Because I had two children to raise, school at that time was not an option. But I never gave up on higher education and while I do not have a degree I spent three semesters at North Texas State University studying arts. I have certifications and licenses in insurance and real estate, which requires continuing education, and when I was deputy clerk and executive assistant to the mayor and town manager at the Village of Angel Fire, I attended Municipal League training sessions where I studied government process and fiscal responsibility.  

What is your employment status? I am currently a licensed real estate associate broker. But with the collapse of the housing market I needed additional income, and recently opened my own business, Proper Care Home Services, being responsible for short term rental properties. My caretaking business has taken off and now generates far more of my income than real estate does, and I thoroughly enjoy the work. 

Are your property taxes paid up to date?

We are making payments and they will be current before May 2012.

What experiences would make you an effective town councilor? As a board member and food coordinator of Taos Feeds Taos since 2008 I work with literally hundreds of volunteers who give their time and muscle to this organization. This experience has taught me the meaning of service and the value of accurate, common sense decision making. 

The Taos County Chamber of Commerce is currently undergoing a restructuring that has caused some to question our intention as board members. This was not a popular decision or an easy one while I was on the board, but it was necessary, and I truly believe that the Chamber membership has already begun to benefit from the restructure. I am not afraid to make the right decision, even when it is a hard one.

My range of experience over the years as a bookkeeper, mortgage loan manager, deputy municipal clerk, executive assistant to the mayor and town manager of Angel Fire, executive assistant to the CEO of Angel Fire Resort, and executive assistant to Dr. Victor Westphall, founder and director Emeritus of the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial, have taught me great lessons in leadership. At the memorial I also created and coordinated annual events that attracted thousands of people and many dignitaries. All of these challenges taught me the value of coming to the table prepared and ready to work in harmony, not hostility.   

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election? I successfully ran and was elected for a three-year term to serve on the Board of Directors for the Taos County Association of Realtors and was re-elected three years in a row as secretary of the Executive Board. I also serve as chairman of the Scholarship Fund Committee. In 2008 I ran and won a seat on the board of directors of the Taos County Chamber of Commerce for a three-year term, and then successfully ran for a second three-year term. I currently serve as vice-chair and as Membership Committee chair of the Chamber. I was appointed deputy clerk for the Village of Angel Fire in the mid-1990s.

I remain active in Taos politics because I believe in the electoral process. 

Why did you choose to run for Town Council? I was driving down the street one afternoon and glanced over to see that yet another business had closed its doors. It seems like we are losing small businesses at a rate of one a day on the average. In some cases even long-time businesses that have served our community for many years have gone under, meanwhile town council bicker among themselves with no awareness of this issue. We must take action before it’s too late.

So when some friends and neighbors said to me, Linda, you have a non-confrontational way about you and you have a reputation for getting things done, why don’t you run for town council — I decided to step up.  

Identify three top issues facing the town. How would you address them?

1. Small business retention: I would bring together entities such as the Chamber, TEN, TCEDC, the Small Business Development Center, the Town and the County to begin a dialogue on how to best serve the small business community. We have many experienced business people and retirees who could help retain and encourage new as well as established businesses.

I have heard of towns that have reinvented themselves with good marketing and incentives for the entrepreneur who is willing to start a service or retail business that caters to both locals and visitors.  What I don’t want to see is corporate retailers coming in to smother our town with unfair competition.

We should also concentrate our attention on growth industries, and there are many: the health sciences, higher education, Eco-tourism, retail sales, elder care, broadband-driven, Internet-based businesses, etc.

2. Jobs: We should be preparing now for the jobs of the future. The sustainability of our community and the success of our young people depend on it, and I would support incentives for new and established businesses based on the number of local people they were able to hire. More funding to improve our infrastructure would be a great way to create jobs and at the same time revitalize our town.

I also support a mentorship program where local business people teach hospitality, customer service and a positive work ethic. Perhaps if we weren’t so intent on high dollar projects like the command center, there would be resources to fund these jobs and small business initiatives.

3. A fully functioning council: It angers Taoseños facing hardships and uncertainty when all they see coming out of town hall is insults and personal agendas. They’re gridlocked, and people are sick of it. It doesn’t have to be that way.

We had our problems at the Chamber a while back, but we restructured and resolved them. My favorite model is Taos Feeds Taos. We work hard, put in long hours, manage tens of thousands of dollars and even disagree once in a while. But the thought of a personal attack is laughable, because we respect one another.

The council needs to change its ways. If they need a code of conduct and a parliamentarian to get back to the business of running this town for the common good, I’m for it.

There is so much to be done and we haven’t scratched the surface. 


Candidate: Pavel Lukes

Where and when were you born? Sept. 3, 1948, Prague, Czechoslovakia

Where do you live now? 502 Los Pandos, Taos, NM

What formal education have you had? High school, Prague; School of Mechanical Engineering, Prague 5, BSME; University of Michigan, a certificate in English language; University of California Certificate in Light Construction and Development Management.

What is your employment status? Self-employed since my arrival in Taos on May 5, 1994, Dreamcatcher Real Estate and Dreamcatcher Building Companies

Are your property taxes paid up to date? No

What experiences would make you an effective town councilor? In short, it is the sum of my life’s experiences in Europe, Michigan, California and New Mexico.

Also, it is my ability to communicate, to solve problems, generate ideas and to follow through to completion on any projects I set out on. I am wired in a such way that I take on challenges and I see them to a fruition, just as I do in my business, where unless I deliver, I don’t get paid.

I have been civic-minded, having supported many organizations (CAV, Stray Hearts, CAP, etc.) I have served and I am currently serving as the vice-chair on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Historic Preservation Commission. I have an impeccable record of fair and unbiased decisions and a record of recusing myself when there was a even a mere indication of potential conflict of interest.

I will bring that to the council, where I will base all my decisions on facts and accurate information and most importantly on what the wishes of my constituents are. No favoritism to any individual or any entity.

I am the only one who offers specifics and not the age worn out clichéd promises which we all heard many times before, and I intend to deliver.

Lastly, I am Independent-minded and strong in my convictions and I will not cower to anyone.

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election? Two times before for council. I was not elected.

Why did you choose to run for Town Council? I feel that our community faces many challenges, some due to reasons beyond our control, some within our control. After taking a long and careful look at the slate of candidates I felt I am one who has the track record of service to our community, track record of accomplishment as a self-made successful businessman and one who can bring new and fresh ideas and the will to implement them for the benefit of us all.

I can bring unity not only to the council, but I will strive to open channels of communication with the Pueblo, the county and the school district. No single entity can tackle all of our challenges, but together there is nothing stopping us.

This will require the electorate to be open to a new voice of representation and just as the electorate has every right to demand honesty and transparency in all decision making and that all decisions be based on what is the best for the community and not on favoritism, I as a candidate have the right to ask that the electorate uses the same criteria in selecting who is best qualified and who can truly best serve our community.

I humbly submit to you that in a contest based on who is best qualified to represent Taoseños and who is best equipped to navigate the treacherous and challenging waters of leading our town on the right path, I am that candidate.

Identify three top issues facing the town. How would you address them? There are many and they all are interconnected on some level.

We need to set aside any ego-driven governing and pay attention only to what truly counts and that is how do we help the local economy, how do we secure that our Police Department is well functioning and of high morale, how do we protect the many natural treasures we have been blessed with via a sensible Land Use Development Code, how do we preserve, enhance and help our Plaza and the surrounding historical district and make it as user-friendly and as inviting as it once was, how do we help to alleviate our traffic issues, how do we beautify our town, how do we help our educational system, workforce housing and how do we create an environment which will promote business start ups with good jobs …

I truly could go on and on and I certainly have specific ideas on most of these issues, however I am not the all-knowing and I will always seek knowledge and expertise from whom ever and where ever it is available … aqui en Taos! ¡Que Dios los Bendiga!



Candidate: Andrew T. Gonzales

Where and when were you born? Taos, New Mexico

Where do you live now? 227 Ranchitos Road, Taos

What formal education have you had? Taos High School, West Mesa High School, TVI-Albuquerque, and UNM-Anderson School of Management four years

What is your employment status? Owner of WeatherGard Windows and Doors Inc.

Are your property taxes paid up to date? Yes

What experiences would make you an effective town councilor? I am a small business owner and have weathered and continue to weather a very tough economy.

I have children in the public school system. I see first hand where government has a disconnect with youth initiatives. I have seen and heard the issues first hand facing the town for the past 16 years.

Election after election the same promises are made, and yet a majority of those promises not delivered; rather than make promises we can’t keep I’d rather see an elected official take the tough issues head on and work to the best of their ability to solve those issues, rather than continually give the voters false hope.

It takes majority consensus of the governing body to make progress with issues, and for too long we have had a divided council.

The only promises I will make to the citizens of the town of Taos is that I will always make decisions with their best interest in mind, I will always make educated informed decisions on any and all issues, and will always work on their behalf.

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election? None

Why did you choose to run for Town Council? To publicly serve my community that has given so much back to me, and to bring integrity and trust back to municipal government.

I feel it is time for a new generation of leaders to step up and answer the call of public office. The energy, motivation and drive I bring to the council is one that I feel will benefit and revitalize our community. I will make educated decisions regarding all issues on the citizens behalf, leaving any and all personal gains aside. I am independent, motivated, and ready to work on the citizens behalf.

Identify three top issues facing the town. How would you address them? Economic development and youth initiatives, water, restoring public confidence.

1. Economic development in Taos as a whole is a must. We need to put resources into marketing Taos effectively and efficiently.  Viable expenditures like the Eco Park completion, where we encourage a local labor force, and we support our youth through a development that shows we care and support them.

2. We need to protect our water resources, continually updating and adapting the town of Taos’ water plan, to map out our acequias to make educated decisions when considering building developments, and enact a water banking mechanism so that property owners preserve their water rights.

3. Lastly, restoring public confidence. Make sure the public knows and feels we are continually working on their behalf.

Quit playing politics and start moving our community forward.

Keep our public records open and easily accessible on all issues, so that the citizens are at ease in knowing we are doing the right thing.


Candidate: Amy Quintana, incumbent

Where and when were you born? Fairfax, OK., May 27, 1958

Where do you live now? 402 Vigil, Taos

What formal education have you had? High school graduate, 1976

What is your employment status? Full-time finance coordinator at Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Are your property taxes paid up to date? Yes

What experiences would make you an effective town councilor? My past four years on the Town Council, my honesty, integrity and common sense.

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election? Taos Town Council; 2008; I was elected.

Why did you choose to run for Town Council? To fight for what is right for the constituents of Taos.

Identify three top issues facing the town. How would you address them?

1. Managed Growth: Support keeping open spaces by reasonably maximizing the density allowed within the current town limits, eliminate lot setbacks if you have a solid wall between yourself and your neighbor — this would allow you to maximize your lot without intruding upon you neighbor;

2. Command Center: Do not support move unless it could make financial sense to the community and improve the health, safety and welfare of the citizens;

3. Economy and welfare of Taos: Utilize the 15 percent allowed from CDBG funding to support local nonprofits; this will place up to $75,000 per year of state funds into the local economy and they in turn improve the welfare of the Taos citizens, maximize the use of all qualified local businesses.




Nadine M. Varela, daughter of the late Roy B. Varela and Roxanne Varela (Archuleta)

1)    2327 State Road 522, Questa

2)    I am a Questa High School Graduate.  I attended Albuquerque T-V I receiving two certificates, one in Office Occupations and the other in Legal Office worker.  I also received my Municipal Clerk Certification as the Clerk/Treasurer for the Village of Questa.

3)    I am currently employed by Kit Carson Electric Co-op as a Customer Service Representative.

4)    My property taxes are current.

5)    I feel that I can be an effective Village Councilor because I have 12 years experience working for the Village of Questa.  I held such positions as Police Department Clerk, MVD Clerk, Receptionist and I was the Village Clerk/Treasurer for more than 10 years.  I am familiar with the types of issues that the Village of Questa is facing.

6)    I have never run for public office, until now.

7)    I chose to run for Village Council because of my experience with local government.  As a public servant you learn about your community and what its needs are.  You also get to know the people of your community and what their concerns are.  It is important to be able to communicate with the people and keep them informed of projects that the Village is working on and being open minded to what they feel should be happening in the community.  The Mayor and Council are elected by the people.  It is important that the people of the community feel that their opinions and/ or concerns are important and getting addressed.  Granted there are many things that our community needs and many things that the people want.  It is up to the Governing Body to set the priorities and do what is best as a whole. 

8)    Three top issues that are facing the Village of Questa are Jobs and the economy, Infrastructure and Road Improvements and the need of a Community Center. 

The job situation in our town requires talking and working with our neighbor Chevron Mine.  There were a lot of local people laid off three years ago and some of them are either still out of work or have had to relocate to another mine.  Some of them have had to take jobs working at a much lower pay just to get by and make ends meet.  Our locals have the experience and should have the opportunity to be rehired either through contractors or Chevron itself.  Chevron should conduct job fairs to inform the public of what positions are available and have them submit their applications or resumes directly to a local member of the company.  Hiring just the local employees or contractors for the reclamation would be a big boost in the economy because working in their hometown will increase in hometown spending and this of course will help the economy of the Village. 

Infrastructure and Road Improvements are always a necessity.  There are water lines and roads that are in need of being replaced and/or repaired.  There are grants that can be applied for to help with these types of projects and also some of the smaller projects may be included in the budget.  Unfortunately, a specific project has to be named in applying for these grants and that is what the funds have to be used for.  Therefore it is a process that has to be continued year after year.  Qualified local contractors should have the opportunity to bid on these jobs.

Every Municipality needs a Community Center.  I know that this project has been on the ICIP Plan for many years but because of other projects taking priority it has been dropping on the list.  The Village of Questa needs a place for our community to gather for group events, public information, and for hosting events.  At this time many of the residents schedule their wedding receptions, class reunions, graduation receptions, and other functions at an out of town location.  This is income that the Village is losing out on.  There may be grants available to apply for to begin the project or even complete it.  Most of the small communities like ours have the same issues, but there are some communities our size that have been able to  build Community Centers, we could visit with them to find out how they were able to build their Center.

In my opinion, there is a fourth issue or concern that has to be addressed.  There are way too many people in the community that are unaware about what is happening in their Village.  Of course monthly meetings are held and community members are encouraged to attend, but not all of them do.  When I was employed by the Village of Questa, there was a quarterly newsletter that was distributed throughout the community at the post office and local businesses.  This communication piece has stopped and I think this something that has to be revisited.  I feel it should contain information regarding the Village and the projects that are currently being worked on and the future projects that the Village will be working on.  The Community should know of any grants or recognitions that the Village may have received.  We need to keep the positive communication going between the Governing Body and the Community so that the information being delivered is correct and accurate. 

It is equally important for the Governing Body to have good communication with each other and its employees.  The employees need the support and respect of the Governing Body in regards to their positions and needed training.  In turn, employees should also respect and support their Governing Body.  The work of the employees and attitude is a direct reflection on the Governing Body.  Everyone has to be on the same page and have the same goals.  When the Governing Body works together and works with the staff it shows in the day to day progress and everybody wins. 

Taos Ski Valley

Candidate: Barbara (Barb) Wiard

Address: PO Box 211, 24 Phoenix Switchback Apt. A, Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525

What formal education have you had? Bachelor of Science, elementary education (bilingual/multicultural minor), University of New Mexico: Master of Arts, elementary education (teaching and linguistics) UNM.

What is your employment status? Administrative assistant, Golden Willow Retreat, a nonprofit center for emotional healing, specializing in grief and loss.

Are your property taxes paid up to date? Yes

What experiences would make you an effective Village  councilor?

My involvement in the Village  since incorporation includes:

  • Planning and Zoning Commission (1998-2000);
  • Coordinated and/or oversaw special events (2000-2009);
  • Parks and Recreation Committee chair (2000-2006);
  • Represent Village at multiple levels:
  • (Regional) Intergovernmental Council of the Enchanted Circle; Taos Regional Landfill Board, North Central New Mexico Economic Development District;
  • (State) New Mexico Municipal League;
  • (National) National League of Cities: Small Cities Council, Western States Association;
  • Municipal Officials Leadership Institute Certification (2005);
  • MOLI Advanced Institute (2007, 2009, 2010);
  • Secured $1,375,000 through legislative lobbying.
  • I first came to work in the Ski Valley in 1994 (before incorporation as a Village ) and have lived in the Village  since 1997. I understand what is important to the Village: the preservation of the past while encouraging our future growth potential.

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election?

  • Village Council (2000, 2004, 2008);
  • Village Mayor Pro Tem (2002 to present);
  • Intergovernmental Council of the Enchanted Circle (Vice Chair 2002-05 & 2011, Chair 2006-2010);
  • Taos Regional Landfill Board (Vice Chair 2002-2005, Chair 2006 to present);
  • New Mexico Municipal League (District 2 Director) 2005-2006; Treasurer 2006-2007, Vice President 2007-2008, President Elect 2008-2009, President 2009-2010 and 2010-2011).

Why did you choose to run for Village Council?

I originally ran for the Council in 2000 after almost three years of attending every meeting that occurred in the Village, participating in Village events and on committees, and promoting the Village through several tourism organizations. I was prepared and educated as to the needs and issues of the Village.

I was committed to the birth of our newly incorporated community. Now, after three terms of serving on the Council, I still have that same commitment and enthusiasm.

I will continue representing and promoting the Village through my positions on many committees and boards locally, across the state, and nationally. More importantly, my knowledge and experience will serve all that live in, work in, and visit Taos Ski Valley as I make informed decisions to ensure the Village continues on a stable and secure path. Municipal service is my passion.

Identify three top issues facing the Taos Ski Valley. How would you address them?

The top issues include providing needed infrastructure, economic development and growth, and the preservation of the Village’s unique personality. These issues are not independent. Interaction must take place as they all affect each other.

The first and most basic priority is water and wastewater infrastructure. A new and/or upgraded wastewater treatment plant is needed for capacity for our residents and businesses. It is imperative that the Village obtain the property of the plant location from the Forest Service. The groundwork has begun for this acquisition through the Townsite Act.

Funding for the plant and for the property will be the challenge. Capital outlay funds from the state have disappeared the last few years. Other sources may include grants, the Water Trust Board, low interest loans, and the possibility of funding through bonds, which the Council (with consultants) is researching.

The proposed Village Core development project will be a strong source of economic growth.  TSV, Inc. and consultants have been working closely with the Village staff and the Planning and Zoning Commission. All of the entities involved appreciate and support the concept that the “flavor” of our Taos Ski Valley community must be maintained.


Name: Donna Marie Heavens

Address: 22 Firehouse Road, Taos Ski Valley

What formal education have you had? BA from the University of Delaware

What is your employment status?  I am currently, and since 2002, an owner/operator of Snow Bear Inn of Taos, Inc., in Taos Ski Valley.

Are your property taxes paid up to date? Yes.

What experiences would make you an effective village councilor? I would be a valuable addition to the council as I believe that the village is at a crossroads regarding the future of our community. I want to be an active participant.

The skills and experience that I have acquired as a hands-on business owner and living and working in several ski areas during their transition from being a single season ski area to a full-time recreational resort, gives me a unique insight that would allow me to make real contributions towards our success.

I think that the qualifications of any hard-working business owner is an asset that is needed on this council in a community with such a high ratio of businesses to residents. 

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election?

I have never run for any elected positions of office.

Why did you choose to run for Village Council?

I am running for council as I believe it is time for the Village to look to the future. We need a council that recognizes the new economic realities. We need to take active control of our communities future, new ideas, fresh approaches from people who actually live and work in the community. It’s time for the Village of Taos Ski Valley to look to its future and not just celebrate its past. 

Identify three top issues facing the Taos Ski Valley. How would you address them?

1.  The future development of the Village of Taos Ski Valley.We need responsible planning and make realistic goals we actively pursue and make a true community with schools, a community center giving locals a focal point, and the possibility of affordable housing. These are goals to aim towards.

2. Raise our national profile to attract new investment. We need to increase our national marketing of the Village of Taos Ski Valley from not just a ski area but a full-time recreational resort. In order to achieve this, we need to prepare our existing infrastructure for growth and expand our services and provide the necessary facilities.

3. Improve our regional accessibility. Better road and air connections to our region. Recent steps toward the expansion of our airport are a good sign, but must continue to be supported and actively pursued.

We also must try to improve our transportation connections between Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos and the Village of Taos Ski Valley.



Candidate: Tom Wittman

Address: P.O. Box 149, 24 Phoenix Switchback Road, Taos Ski Valley

What formal education have you had? Bachelor of Science, psychology

What is your employment status? Retired

Are your property taxes paid up to date?  Property taxes on multi-family dwelling, Lot 9 Block D, O.E. Pattison Subdivision, Taos Ski Valley are paid up to date

What experiences would make you an effective Village  Councilor? Fourteen-plus years experience as a Village Councilor, since 1996. Considerable upper level management experience in 34-year military career that included establishing budgets, setting personnel policies and mission accomplishment.

If any, what other elected position have you run for? When? Results of the election? Ran for the Village Council five previous times and was elected four times

Why did you choose to run for Village Council? Continue the effective operation of the Village of Taos Ski Valley

Identify three top issues facing the Taos Ski Valley. How would you address them?

1. Considerable forecast development will severely tax our financial resources for providing the necessary infrastructure to properly support this development. The Village is currently obtaining professional economic advice to determine the best way to fund this infrastructure development and the Village Council will have to work diligently to determine our level of commitment without an excessive future debt.

2. A new Wastewater Treatment Facility is deemed necessary to support any further development. The Village must determine the extent of our financial responsibility to invest in this facility for the near term and the future beyond the next 10 years.

3. Some locations in the Village are not serviced by the existing water system and sewer lines. A plan needs to be developed to make this happen with a realistic estimate of cost and timetable.

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