The election for Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) governing board members is almost the polar opposite of the one for Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) board members in that there is zero conflict for the election: Every candidate for an open seat on the CNM board is running opposed and half of the group has served on the governing board before. As with APS, the election is nonpartisan. Therefore, it is possible that you could be voting for someone who is not a Democrat if you vote for your lone CNM candidate; but that seems to be the only controversy.
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) is the largest community college in New Mexico, with approximately 25,000 students. Five years ago, CNM had the largest undergraduate enrollment in the state.
Members of the CNM governing board are elected to four-year terms. This year, candidates for districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 are on the ballot. To see whether you fall within a CNM district whose candidate is on the ballot, visit: https://www.cnm.edu/about/gov/images/governing-board-districts-map.jpg
District 1 candidate Charles Ofelt is chair of the Rotary Del Norte Foundation and a board member of the New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers. He co-founded New Mexico Project C.U.R.E for recycling surplus medical equipment and a medical clinic in Mongolia that brought eight ambulances to the country. He has taught English as a Second Language at CNM. Now retired, he has listed his 40-plus years of experience in business and law as his professional strengths.
The current chair of the board, Tom Swisstack, is on the ballot for District 3. Swisstack was appointed to the board in 2016, and was elected to his first term on the board in 2017. The former mayor of the City of Rio Rancho (2008-2014) also served in the legislature from 2003 to 2008, representing House District 60 as a Democrat. Now retired, the Chair said he is seeking re-election to “be part of CNM’s unique opportunity to elevate and expand our college, career, and technical pathways for all students. . . If re-elected, I promise to continue to lend my time, experiences, and best efforts to assist them in their efforts to educate students and to meet the demands of our changing economy.”
Nancy Baca, the District 5 candidate, is also an incumbent, appointed in 2016 and elected in 2017. She currently serves as chair of the planning and capital outlay committee on the CNM board. A property manager, Ms. Baca is past president and lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and of Unity:Journalists of Color, and serves on the Albuquerque Museum Foundation board. Her purpose in seeking reelection reflects her belief in CNM’s importance as a “force for change in our community. The college plays an important role as a resource for career advancement and a lifetime of quality, affordable education.”
The District 7 candidate is Robert Schoenfelder, a certified health physicist who has said his purpose in running for the governing board is to support “financially conservative guidance and oversight” of the institution. He has also offered his expertise in personnel management, assessment and retention, team development and leadership, budget and schedule oversight,environmental management of CNM real estate holdings, and STEM education as strengths for his election.