During the candidate’s forum last local election season, I said Taos was at a turning point. Now, we are in the turn, and time is running out before we’ll be unable to correct course. Over the last threeand- a-half years, optimism and hope for a local government of the people has eroded into mistrust and suspicion. Time and time again, Taoseños have fought against the lack of transparency as rules have been repeatedly bent, broken, or ignored in favor of moneyed interests with little knowledge or respect for our cultural identity and history. At the same time, poverty, drug abuse, violence, and property crimes have plagued our community at alarming rates, yet have been largely ignored as the current administration chooses to focus on tourism. Taos needs change, and this March, Taoseños will have the opportunity to be heard. Today, I am declaring my intent to seek a seat on the town council of Taos.
In the coming weeks and months, I will be having many conversations with Taoseños about the issues. Today, however, I want to highlight the most important attribute a politician should have: honesty. Honesty is a word that has lost its meaning when coming from politicians. We have all heard it over and over again from every politician, and we know that not every one is honest. But what does it actually mean?
Honesty means more than simply not lying. When a candidate or incumbent calls for transparency, it means doing more than the bare minimum. As an honest politician, I will encourage the mayor’s administration to send notices of meetings well in advance to allow the public time to prepare statements and voice their opinion. I will demand agendas be made available without vague language and open records requests be fulfilled faster and more completely. I am a believer in transparency, and I will work hard to promote it wherever possible.
As an honest politician, I promise to listen to Taoseños. Listening means more than half-hearted town halls just prior to election season. It means not making a decision until having heard all sides. It means respecting the will of the public. It means an honest attempt to put myself in someone else’s shoes to truly understand their point of view.
I know. You have heard it all before and watched as candidates made promises and changed as soon as they were elected. To show you that I am different, I ask that you consider my record. Despite highly sought after degrees and career opportunities outside of the state, I have chosen to come home and make Taos a better place. Since returning, I have chosen to work in the nonprofit sector at Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, The DreamTree Project, and now as an educator at Taos High School. A fulfilling career, to me, is doing good work, not making a lot of money. As an elected official, my goal is to continue to do good and improve the living conditions of all Taoseños. We may disagree on how to do that, but it is my hope that you believe me when I say that my true motive for seeking office is making life better for you
Lastly, I invite you to follow me on FaceBook and SnapChat (VoteMaestas), Twitter and Instagram (@VoteMaestas), at www.VoteMaestas.com, and be ready for a phone call or a knock on your door and have a discussion with me about the issues that are important to you. Thank you, and I look forward to earning your vote.
– Pascualito Maestas is running for Town Council in 2018. He is an honorably discharged Navy veteran with academic degrees from the University of South Florida in Economics and International Studies. He currently teaches economics, calculus and algebra at Taos High School.