By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
A dozen candidates are competing in races for municipal judge and three city commission seats in Tucumcari in Tuesday’s general election.
The Quay County Sun asked all the candidates one final question before the vote. Responses to the questions are listed in ballot order for each race.
Each candidate in the municipal judge race was asked this question: “Who or what would you consult when trying to determine what the law says?”
Responses from each candidate, in ballot order:
“I would turn to statutes, refer to the municipal judge’s manual or contact the district attorney. I know I will have other resources available to me once I take office.
Joe Dominguez (incumbent)
“I consult with the city attorney. If I ever have any questions, I will call him.”
He said he would always keep a criminal statute book close at hand. He would read the law to the defendant and tell the defendant what the law means.
“I will make sure the defendant understands the law,” he said. “There won’t be any ambiguity. We’re dealing with traffic tickets, shoplifting and minor misdemeanors. If the defendant questions my interpretation, he or she can appeal the case.”
Each candidate for city commissioner was asked the question: “Are you more likely to vote for what you think is right or for what you think the majority of constituents would like you to do?”
Here are the responses from each candidate for each commissioner position, in ballot order:
Ruth Ann Litchfield
“If I have time to poll my constituents, I will vote for what they want. If I have to decide on the spur of the moment, I’ll have to go with what I think is right.”
Ernest Dominguez (incumbent)
“I will vote for what’s right, because most of the constituents want what I want. We’re on the same wavelength. For Tucumcari, we want to move forward, stop the negativity and get on the positive side. That’s the right thing to do.”
“You have to evaluate what is right and what is wrong. I have to consider what’s best for the whole community, not just what I want, but for the whole community.”
“I will work as an elected official (which means) I work for the people who put me in office. If the majority want me to vote a certain way on an issue, I’ll vote for what the majority wants. If that’s the most popular view and that’s what they want, that’s what’s good.”
Robert Lumpkin (incumbent)
“In most cases, when a large number of people want something, it’s most likely to be right. In almost all cases, if a large number think something is right, it is likely to be right for the city of Tucumcari. I will always vote for what is right for the city of Tucumcari.”
“I would vote for what I think is right. My morals wouldn’t let me vote for something I thought was wrong just because a majority seems to want it. In this democracy, it’s most important to vote for what you believe in.”
On most issues, the law is clear cut and the majority or common sense will rule. If there is no clear majority, or if things get muddy, the commissioner has to do what he has promised and vote in the way that will move the city forward.
“I will do what the people want me to do, but I’ll have to feel right about it.”
Candidate Wilfredo Gonzalez could not be reached.