David Hampton at his table prior to speaking at the Republican Party of Los Alamos candidates’ forum Friday morning. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
David Hampton, candidate for UNM-LA Advisory Board, Position 5, was the only candidate for that board to attend Friday’s candidates’ forum hosted by the Republican Party of Los Alamos.
Hampton reminded the audience that the UNM-LA board is an advisory board whereas the Los Alamos Public Schools board is a management board, so the UNM-LA board can only give advice whereas the LAPS board can give direction.
He noted that he is a Los Alamos National Laboratory retiree and has been in Los Alamos County since 1998.
“I kind of have a passion for community building. I’m on six different boards including I’m president of the Los Alamos Cooperative Market, I’m the treasurer of the Los Alamos Retirement Community for Sombrillo and Aspen Ridge. I’m also co-chair of the Los Alamos County Parks & Recreation Board,” Hampton said. “One of my passions is trying to link all those things together because I think that for the people that serve, it’s hard to be on local boards.”
He said because he is retired he is blessed to be able to do it, but a lot of people aren’t retired and don’t have so much time.
“By being on all these boards I can manage to tie some together and try to leverage some of the strengths that I find in them,” Hampton said.
One of the things advisory board members for UNM-LA want to do is to make sure the UNM-LA meets the needs of the local community, Hampton noted.
“So that means trying to craft the programs and the classes to meet the needs of the community. Businesses have needs for employees but employees have needs of income. I want to do programs that gravitate towards the needs for certificates, associates degrees in applied science, which are two-year degrees and then four-year degrees,” he said.
Hampton said UNM-LA just recently started a mechanical engineering degree program that supports the work of Los Alamos National Laboratory and that he would like to improve on that.
“We always have a nursing shortage and a teacher shortage so I want to try and get a four-year education program and a nursing program up here,” he said.
Hampton said along those lines also, UNM-LA has issues and that it is important to make sure it stays functional by achieving as much growth as possible.
“Can you imagine if all the kids can grow up in this town, go through its excellent educational system, go to college in this town and then find a job in this town so that our young people stay with us. I believe I can help improve all that through being able to leverage the other boards I am on. I want to take UNM-LA and tie it more to the County, to the Lab, to the hospital and the other entities in the County,” he said.
Hampton feels there are creative ways to come up with funding. He believes in getting people involved to see what the interests are and then meet the needs.
“I’ve actually been attending the board meetings since May 2019 so I know how the board functions, what they can and cannot do and what their needs are,” he said.
Asked how UNM-LA is working with underserved populations, Hampton discussed the dual-credit classes Los Alamos High School students can take at UNM-LA. He said at its inception Los Alamos County residents voted to support UNM-LA with their property taxes, providing 30% of its annual budget which he said has many benefits including funding free classes for LAHS students.
“One of the best ways to reach underserved population – because some people who don’t know how they are going to pay for college – is to attend the dual credit classes. By the time you finish high school you can have your (Associate in Arts degree). You’re literally getting two years of college for free. That’s one of the programs I want to continue,” Hampton said. “Of course I would like to see us have a four-year university here but let’s have more four year degrees and see how it goes.”