BY GRANT HARDING
James Robinson was elected with broad support and has gained respect and appreciation from across the political spectrum. With his resignation, a contingent of our community, who have historically been under-represented, have lost balance in representation on Council. This contingent of our community should not have to wait a year and an election for that balance and their representation to be restored. Of all the applicants for the open Councilor position, not one but two applicants have shown the ability to be legitimate successors and have the experience to hit the ground running. Those applicants are Aaron Walker and Antonio Maggiore.
Aaron Walker has demonstrated the willingness to dive deeply into complex and contentious issues, while listening to all the stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns. In his positions as member, Chair, then Vice Chair on CDAB, he’s shown the ability to think outside the box to offer up solutions people with widely differing political ideologies can agree with. He’s consistently advocated for those least fortunate among us, for transparency at all levels of government, and has shown the ability to evolve in his thinking when presented with new information. With upcoming decisions that will require robust debate and public input, Aaron’s experience on CDAB would make him an upstanding addition to Council.
Former Councilor Antonio Maggiore has previously been elected to Council and continues to receive the appreciation and support of the community for his service. As a small business owner, a service industry worker, and a civic minded and engaged citizen, he can continue to represent the interests of the entire community and bring back badly needed representation. Previously, Council appointed Morrie Pongratz on the premise that since he had served as a Councilor in the past, he’d be most prepared for the forthcoming important decisions, and with only another year remaining in the term. We find ourselves in the very same position here. If the argument for Morrie’s appointment was sound, then former Councilor Maggiore is the most defendable choice.
Council has an opportunity to appoint someone to this open seat that our community will accept and appreciate for their ability to continue Councilor Robinson’s work to improve the lives of all our residents and to champion transparency in the halls of our government. Depending on the values Council uses to make this determination, Aaron and Antiono stand out obvious choices to represent Los Alamos County for the rest of the term James was serving. With the contentious issues facing Council in the coming year, preserving balance in representation is more important than ever to maintain the community’s trust.