Photo by Ruth Heide
Out-going Mayor Farris Bervig, right, congratulations Alamosa’s newly elected Mayor Kathy Rogers with her husband Mike on Tuesday night.
By RUTH HEIDE
ALAMOSA — In a historic moment in Alamosa history on Tuesday, voters elected their first female mayor.
San Luis Valley native Kathy Rogers, a city councilor who has also served as mayor pro tem, will succeed long-time Mayor Farris Bervig as the city’s new mayor. Rogers received 1,137 votes, 377 more than fellow councilor and mayoral candidate Josef Lucero who received 760 votes.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to serve Alamosa for the next four years,” Rogers said. “Thanks to everybody who voted for me, and those that didn’t I will earn your trust and I will do a good job for Alamosa.”
Rogers added, “Everybody ran a great election.”
Rogers said she had a great mentor in Mayor Bervig who served the City of Alamosa as mayor for 24 years. Bervig chose not to seek re-election. He supported Rogers for mayor.
Bervig, 73, has served as mayor since 1985.
Earlier this year he stated, “If the citizens and city council allow me, I will probably get back involved in a volunteer committee or board but not on January 1. I am a firm believer in staying active. You are not going to see me sitting back and rocking.”
Rogers joins a long list of notable public servants in Alamosa’s history from the city’s first Mayor D.R. Smith in 1878 and Mayor Billy Adams (who went on to serve as state legislator and governor, and helped found the college that would later bear his name) a few years later to Everett Cole in the 1930’s, Martin Husung whose multiple terms as mayor tragically ended in death in an automobile accident and long-time Mayor Cliff Hartman who preceded Mayor Bervig in office.
Although other ladies have served on the city council over the years, Rogers has the distinction of being the first female mayor for Alamosa.
Two other contested races brought one new face and one familiar face to the Alamosa city council. The open Ward 2 seat being vacated by Councilor April Gonzales will be filled by Rusty Johnson who received 340 votes to opponent Joel Fleming’s 194 votes. Johnson has lived nearly his entire life in Alamosa, works for the school district, is involved in youth wrestling programs and is president of the recreation advisory board.
In the highly contested at-large race, Marcia Tuggle won by a large margin over her three opponents. Tuggle, who had previously served on council from 2001-2005, received 833 votes. Preston Porter was the closest contender in that race with 572 votes followed by Robert McWhirter with 253 votes and Dan McCann with 176 votes. The at-large seat has been held by Rogers who won the mayoral race.
Tuggle said, “I am really excited and I feel extremely honored that the people have decided to elect me again, and I want to thank the people that ran against me because I think they were all outstanding candidates.” She encouraged the other candidates to try again in the future.
Tuggle said she is looking forward to working with the city council and the citizens of the community.
Unopposed in his bid to retain his Ward 4 seat, Councilor Leland Romero received 313 confidence votes in Tuesday’s election.
Aquatic center drowned
Alamosa residents voted an emphatic “no” to all ballot questions on Tuesday, with the aquatic center and council compensation increase defeated by a 2-to-1 margin.
The one-percent sales tax increase for an aquatic center/addition to the recreation center drowned 1,258 to 597. Likewise, a ballot question to increase council and mayoral compensation was defeated 1,236 to 604.
City voters also defeated a referendum that would have permitted eligible county residents to serve on some city boards and commissions. That vote was not as definitive, with 1,010 voting against it and 812 for it.
School boards to see new faces
Tuesday’s election placed several new faces on the Alamosa school board with Christine Haslett, Keith Vance, Neil Hammer and Arlan Van Ry elected to the board. Vance and Van Ry were unopposed. Incumbent Bill Van Gieson retained his seat over opponent Dale Salazar, 1,519 to 1,293 (Alamosa and Conejos County totals.)
Haslett unseated School Board Chairman Patti Newman by a wide margin for the Director District 1 seat, 1,407 to 848 (Alamosa and Conejos County totals), with candidate John Wilson coming in third with 622 votes.
Hammer also handily won the Director District 3 race against Pam Herrmann-Thompson and Diamond Mobbley with Hammer receiving 1346 votes, Herrmann-Thompson receiving 1032 votes and Mobbley with 432 votes (Alamosa and Conejos County totals.)
In the Sangre de Cristo school board election, Charles Versaw won over Ronald Stoeber in a close race, 185 to 178 with Saguache County voters residing in the Sangre district greatly affecting the outcome of that race. Alamosa County voters in the Sangre de Cristo district favored Stoeber 164 to 139, but the 46 votes cast by Saguache County Voters for Versaw gave him the 7-point lead he needed to take the race. Fourteen Saguache County voters cast ballots for Stoeber.
In the three-way race for the at-large seat Viola Nissen took the lead over Mark Beiriger and Jimmy “Mark” Brown in both Alamosa and Saguache Counties. Nissen won with 246 votes followed by Beiriger with 177 votes and Brown with 169 votes.