We’re halfway through the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative elections. The first three races were uncontested. This means Co-op members kept Dennis Trujillo and Dolores McCoy who ran July 19 and 20 respectively.

    Dennis Gallegos is running unopposed Thursday (7/22) in Abiquiú. He will take long-time Board member Johnny Jaramillo’s position. This is great news for all member owners.

    District 4 members got some good news this election. Joseph Salazar is running against John Ramon Vigil, who was appointed to the position and must run for election.

    Salazar is a Certified Public Accountant who has conducted the Co-op’s audits in the past. Member-owners in District 4 have an opportunity to be represented by someone who knows the finances inside and out before he walks in the door.

    Salazar blew the “renewable energy” horn like all candidates to whom SUN reporter William Coburn spoke with did. He brought a financial twist to the conversation. He said members getting their own solar systems installed is great but the Co-op needs to help them understand the financing and recovery of their costs so they’re not still paying for an obsolete system many years from now.

    He also lamented the Co-op’s lack of communication. This information block is mostly the result of what is now a minority of bad actors on the Co-op Board. They worked very hard over the past few years to keep Co-op members in the dark. No pun intended.

    Following the Co-op’s April spanking at the hands of District Court Judge Jason Lidyard, three of them lost the taste for the communication blackout fight. The remainder are now impotent, with a Board majority in favor of openness.

    Salazar will be a great addition to the Board, bringing financial savvy, honesty and openness. Vote for Salazar in District 4.

    In District 5 Ward A or B, Manuel Bustos faces local activist Luis Torres.

    Torres has probably forgotten more about renewable energy than most Jemez Board members will ever know.

    He’s led retreats, demonstrations, community events and advises groups on green energy. His training and background in renewables are unparalleled by anyone on the Board.

    Almost all the candidates paid proper lip service to green energy. They have to, it’s in the zeitgeist. Torres lives that almost every day.

    We guarantee anyone can call Torres and ask him to speak on current renewables and he’ll show up, free, with a solid presentation in hand.

    District 5, Ward A or B member owners should vote for Luis Torres.

    In the District 5, Ward B incumbent Charlie Trujillo is challenged by Elias Coriz. Trujillo is part of the old majority intent on silencing members and cramming new policies through to clamp down on transparency and communication.

    Coriz is a perennial politician who spent unremarkable time on the Española School Board, Rio Arriba County commission and a turn at the Co-op. He’s now trying to pasture at Jemez.

    Unfortunately member-owners in this Ward are presented with no good choice.

    The SUN makes no endorsement.

    District 6 members are almost in the same boat. Incumbent Leo Marquez is challenged by Marcie Martinez, who lost the 2017 election by one vote. Marquez was also part of the old silent majority, that cost Co-op members tens of thousands of dollars fighting the SUN on its record case against the Co-op. He was happy to spend Co-op members money fighting for documents they knew they would have to turn over.

    Marquez has no right to speak about transparency, nor open communications. Both are foreign notions to him.

    He also is the Rio Arriba County assistant manager. Clearly that’s a conflict of interest to which both the County and the Jemez Board continue to turn a blind eye.

    Martinez is the slightly better choice, if she can cooperate with the rest of the Board. She has a master’s degree in material science and said she has done research into renewables.

    If she can be open, communicate with members and offer rational ideas she’ll be head and shoulders above Marquez.

    Vote for Marcelina Martinez in District 6.

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