Newcomers compete for District 9 council seat
Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Voters in southeast Albuquerque will pick a fresh-faced political newcomer next month to represent them on the
Don Harris, a four-term Republican who has represented the district since 2005, is not seeking re-election in District 9. Two registered Democrats and one Republican – neither of whom have ever held public office – have run as candidates. at headquarters, which is east of Albuquerque from Menaul and Eubank, south to Kirtland Air Force Base, and east of Tramway.
Although urban races are non-partisan, Harris is one of three Republicans on the nine-seat panel.
The election is November 2. If none of the candidates obtains more than 50% of the votes, the first two voters will compete in a second round.
Rob Grilley Jr.
Grilley, 37, said a walk on Route 66 in the district shows why he runs.
This stretch of Central could be a gem welcoming travelers to the city, he said. Instead, many businesses in the malls along Iconic Street are vacant.
“District 9 is where Route 66 enters Albuquerque… and what are the first things you see? A motel with cops parked in front and a park that we don’t take care of, ”he said. “I’m not saying we need a giant Las Vegas style neon sign or something, but I want to try and restore some pride in our community.”
Originally from Connecticut, Grilley has lived in Albuquerque for approximately 10 years.
“I had a lot of good volunteers helping me. But I think I’ve knocked on over 1,200 doors myself, ”said Grilley, who has worked on campaigns for Councilor Pat Davis and current Home Secretary Deb Haaland.
Grilley is the chairman of the board of directors of Common Bond New Mexico, which advocates for LGBTQ youth, and he worked as an assistant during the last legislative session. Her husband is a scientist at Sandia National Laboratories and they live in the Juan Tabo Hills neighborhood.
A registered Democrat, Grilley has said he wants to increase funding for Albuquerque police and increase officer pay. He said he did not agree with calls for police funding.
But Grilley said he was also troubled by the Albuquerque Police Officers Association’s “Crime Matters More” campaign, which Grilley said appeared to be a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“All he does is just stir the pot and make a lot more people angry,” Grilley said. “It’s harder for me to try to say, ‘I don’t want to fund the police. I want to have a responsibility in our department, but we have to support our agents.
Grout, 60, has lived in the Four Hills neighborhood since the age of 16. She has therefore lived in the neighborhood for 43 years.
She said she was coming forward to deal with two issues: crime and homelessness.
The first-time Republican candidate said she would do so by advocating for strict enforcement of all laws, including arresting homeless people for minor offenses like drug possession, loitering, begging and vagrancy.
“I love this city, I was born and raised here. I have raised children here. We have grandchildren here. And I don’t like crime and the homelessness that plagues her, ”she said. “If you make the environment in the city good or ripe for the homeless, they will come. Because they are not held responsible. They can live their lifestyle however they want because we allow it. We have to stop this.
Grout suggested that the city renegotiate agreements the city has made with the Justice Department or in a lawsuit regarding detention conditions, both of which have led to years of reform efforts within the Albuquerque police.
“Small crimes become big crimes,” she said. “If I get away with shoplifting, I’m going to move on to something bigger, period. It must be remedied. “
Grout and her husband co-own the Automobile Clinic, which they bought from Grout’s parents in 1989. Grout said that she and her husband are active in their church, Hope in Christ Church. She is also a member of the National Rifle Association and the Music Guild of New Mexico.
She said she generally supports Republican candidates, including former President Donald Trump.
“I have a lot of friends and have lived in this area forever,” she says. “We walked and knocked on doors, and we worked hard” to gain support.
Powdrell, 54, makes another offer.
After challenging Harris unsuccessfully four years ago, Powdrell is again trying to represent the district.
Powdrell, a Democrat, is the managing director of a low-power radio station he operates from his home in the Eastridge neighborhood. He said his uncle worked in the radio business, and since he was a child his dream was to own a station.
Powdrell said he gained experience as a co-chair of a community policing board for the Foothills area command of the Albuquerque Police Department. These councils were created as part of a settlement between the city and the DOJ, which aimed to correct police misconduct, including shootings.
They aim to improve relations and understanding between the police and the public. And Powdrell said he gained insight into a police officer’s job and the challenges he faces, which will come in handy if he is elected to city council.
He said that as an advisor he would advocate for more investment in Head Start programs because he believes early childhood education can ultimately reduce crime.
“Children must have a structure before the age of 5,” he said. “When a kid starts playing cops and thieves, hopefully their structures will be in place by then.”
Court records show Powdrell was arrested seven times on suspicion of domestic violence between 1989 and 1994. Powdrell said the charges were the result of a bad relationship he was in at the time.
He and his current girlfriend have been together for almost 20 years and are raising four children together.
“In my previous life, things were different. And God forgive me for the things that I have done. And the justice system did what the justice system did, ”he said, noting that he had never been convicted of a crime in any of the domestic violence cases. “What I learned made me a better person.
Q&A Albuquerque District 9 City Council Rob Grilley
Name: Rob Grilley Political party: Democrat Age: 37 Education: BA in political science, University of…
Q&A Albuquerque City Council District 9 Renee Grout
Name: Renee Grout Political Party: Republican Age: 60 Education: Colorado College of Medical & Dental…
Q&A Albuquerque District 9 City Council Byron Powdrell
Name: Byron Powdrell Political Party: Democrat Age: 54 Education: High School, Broadcast Engineer Profession: Owner / General…