As a candidate for the District 5 seat on the Las Cruces City Council, Ronnie Sisneros said he is “standing up for people’s rights and individual freedom.”
Sisneros was raised in Roswell, New Mexico, and has lived in Las Cruces for the past 17 years. He has been an occupational therapy assistant at Good Samaritan Society in Las Cruces for the past year. Before that, he worked for Genesis Health Care, a long-term care facility in Las Cruces, for 15 years. Sisneros was an assistant manager, dairy clerk and a union representative at grocery stores in Roswell before moving to Las Cruces.
Sisneros, 58, is making his first bid for public office.
Sisneros said a number of issues prompted him to run for city council, including council efforts “to ban the sale and use” of handguns.
The council’s passing a resolution in 2018 dealing with school safety was “a typical knee-jerk reaction rather than dealing with the issue,” Sisneros said.
Sisneros said he wants Las Cruces children to be safe, but “they don’t have the right to take our guns,” he said.
The “liberal-progressive view” of education in local schools and the vote by the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education earlier this year to change the name of Oñate High School to Organ Mountain High School also prompted his decision to run, Sisneros said.
“Citizens said, ‘Don’t change the name,’ but the school board did it anyway,” he said.
“Individual rights and liberties” bring the issues together, Sisneros said.
The view that anyone who is not a liberal and a progressive “must be a racist, to me, that is just literal nonsense,” Sisneros said.
“I have been an activist all my life,” he said, fighting for “individual rights and liberties.”
Sisneros said he stood up to management when a complaint was raised because he was speaking in Spanish to a resident at a long-term care facility. Communicating with patients in a way they understand is a job responsibility, he said, and so is protecting their confidentiality.
“I’m not going to let that slide,” Sisneros said.
“Right is right,” he said. “I put myself out there. I could have gotten fired.”
District 5, which includes northwest Las Cruces, is currently represented by Councilor Gill Sorg. Sorg, who is completing his third four-year term on the council, is not running for re-election.
Roads, more parks and infrastructure are important issues in District 5, Sisneros said, along with easy and safe access for traffic within the district, walkability, more trees and development.
Sisneros said he is “100 percent behind veterans and 100 percent behind cops.”
“What about paying respect to these people?” he said about veterans. “It shows the city does care about their sacrifice.”
“I support law enforcement without reservation as they are the backbone of a civilized society,” Sisneros said on his campaign website.
Sisneros said Las Cruces is not a well-run city.
“How about some accountability?” he said.
Councilors are “supposed to represent the people who live here, pay taxes,” Sisneros said. The entire council is “as far progressive as it can be,” he said. City council members are “just doing what they want to regardless of what the people say,” Sisneros said.
Acknowledging that city council races are nonpartisan, Sisneros said he is running as a Republican and a conservative. A Democrat until 2016, “the Democratic Party left me a long time ago,” he said.
If elected, Sisneros said his first priority will be to learn everything a city councilor can and cannot do.
“My hope is to work with whatever city council there is to rescind decisions that have been made in the past. I want to make Las Cruces into what it was.”
Sisneros has a bachelor of science degree from Eastern New Mexico University and an associate’s degree in occupational therapy from ENMU-Roswell. He is a state-licensed occupational therapist.
David Tofsted is treasurer of Sisneros’ campaign.
Contact Sisneros at 575-646-3684 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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LAS CRUCES – Ronnie Sisneros, a 58-year-old Chicano raised in Roswell, says he had been a lifelong Democrat. Now, he identifies as a Republican because he says the Democratic Party moved away from his values.
Though the positions are nonpartisan, Sisneros said if elected this fall to the Las Cruces City Council in District 5, his conservative, Republican values will guide each and every vote he casts.
Sisneros is running in the open District 5 race. Current Councilor Gill Sorg has decided not to seek another term. The district encompasses the northeast portion of the city between Elks Drive and Hanger Lake Road, north of U.S. Highway 70.
A licensed occupational therapy assistant, Sisneros said he’s running for his first elected office because he opposes the progressive issues taken up by the city council in recent years.
“Simply, my goal is to essentially oppose all of the present city council and all of the decisions they’ve been making for as long as I’ve been here and as long as they’ve been in office,” Sisneros said.
He pointed to the council’s consideration of a resolution calling on the state to restrict sales and possession of semi-automatic guns in 2018, which failed, and the passage of a resolution declaring Las Cruces a welcoming community for undocumented immigrants as issues where he believes the council has gone astray.
Simply, my goal is to essentially oppose all of the present city council and all of the decisions they’ve been making for as long as I’ve been here and as long as they’ve been in office.Ronnie Sisneros, District 5 Candidate
Sisneros has lived in Las Cruces for the past 16 years after moving here to work in a long-term care facility, he said. But he’s been coming to the city all his life. He would visit his three brothers frequently when he was young, since they attended New Mexico State University.
“I know Las Cruces from way back since the 80s,” Sisneros said.
He believes the current city council focuses too much on liberal issues and not enough on improving conditions to help small businesses thrive, such as by lowering taxes and fees.
Sisneros’ platform also includes protecting gun rights and supporting law enforcement “without reservation.”
If elected, Sisneros said he’d advocate for raising police officer pay if it’s not commensurate with other places. He called police the “backbone of a civilized society.”
“That’s a dangerous job,” Sisneros said. “I know I wouldn’t want to do it.”
He also said he’d ensure the city recognized the National Day of Prayer. The city has recognized it with past proclamations but did not in 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic curbing the accompanying event, the city said.
Leaving the Democratic Party
Sisneros said his party affiliation switched after the 2016 election because the Democratic leadership no longer embodied his values.
He said he disagrees with Democrats’ support for expanded access to abortion and said the party no longer backed the police. Sisneros also said he was upset Democratic leaders had not spoken out against Black athletes protesting during the national anthem at games.
“I was an L.A. Raiders fan for my entire life,” Sisneros said. “I got rid of my entire collection and everything, just threw it in the trash.”
Sisneros described the anthem as a unifying force. Though Sisneros did not serve himself, his patriotism also stems from a history of military service in his family.
Another area where Sisneros splits with current Democrats is on history. He said he opposed calls to remove the names of historical figures who have participated in injustices from buildings and to take down monuments glorifying them.
For instance, Sisneros disagreed with the decision to rename Oñate High School in Las Cruces.
The school’s former namesake, Don Juan de Oñate y Salazar, was colonial governor of Santa Fe de Nuevo México when he gave the orders that led to a brutal massacre of the Acoma Pueblo in 1599. He was eventually banished from New Mexico for his crimes.
Hard work is another tenet of Sisneros’ beliefs.
“If you want to earn anything in this country, this country does give you the opportunity so that you can gain things,” Sisneros said. “But you’re going to have to get out there and work for it.”
Too often, he said, he believes the economy favors big corporations over small businesses. That lack of fairness is seen in Las Cruces, he said.
Becky Corran, an educator and public health professional who has previously served as Faculty Senate chair at NMSU, has also announced her candidacy for District 5. The election will be held Nov. 2.
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