Jordan Plans to Change Rio Rancho. For the better.

By Jennie Lusk

One of the most prominent members of the African American community in Sandoval County is running for Rio Rancho mayor and, even though Bernalillo Democrats can’t vote for her, she needs and deserves all the support she can muster.

Barbara Jordan, a retired combat veteran, is running for mayor in the municipal election March 1, 2022 welcomes volunteers who can walk to drop off her campaign literature and, of course, to donate. Early voting begins February 1 for the nominally nonpartisan election and Jordan encourages Bernalillo County Democrats to help Rio Rancho residents get to the polls and turn up to vote. For more information on her specific platform and goals, visit:  https://www.jordanforriorancho.com/barbarajordanplatform

Jordan’s experience as an African American woman registering people in Rio Rancho to vote on September 12, 2020 triggered her decision to run for mayor.  As she volunteered to expand the base of voters in Rio Rancho, she was accosted by Trump supporters, who threatened her with guns and batons yelling, “Go back to your own city!” and directly promised to slash her tires.

That did it.   She astonished one of them with her response: “I live just down the street!” she said, concluding “They just could not believe there was this Black woman right in their town, I guess.”

The plainspoken veteran, whose son was called the N word in both middle and high school, said Rio Rancho’s governance now “a sort of good ol’ boy, or country club mentality.  We need to change that, and the time to change is now.” 

Whether Rio Rancho is more racist or more racially divided than surrounding areas is not clear.  However, Jordan said, “it doesn’t make sense not to deal with race and to ignore community members. Even though African Americans are only 2% of the community in Rio Rancho, we deserve to be heard.”

Jordan’s website notes that Rio Rancho is one of the most rapid growing cities in the United States, but lacks a sense of inclusion.  “I intend to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and not just a select few. I am a Disabled Veteran, I see you. I support our Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Queer (LGBTQ+) community, our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community, our disabled members, people who may be on the spectrum, and simply put EVERY citizen here in Rio Rancho, NM and the world.”

Among her priority issues as Rio Rancho mayor, said the woman who has supervised 500 people and managed a $4 billion budget over 20 years in the Air Force, are getting Rio Rancho its share of federal dollars for roads, water and waste management, services for people with disabilities, and education.  She offers low and no-cost ideas to support students, including establishing routines of sending students quarterly reminder cards listing available services and establishing a buddy policy so kids have better support.  “We expect so much of the kids,” she said, “and they have already suffered so much in the pandemic.  We tell them to go to school one day and then the next they have distance learning.  And this is while they have reason to fear school shooters.”

One thing is certain in the Rio Rancho mayoral election of 2022: If Jordan is elected, much will change immediately.  She will appropriately honor the diversity of the community, formally promoting Juneteenth events on the newly declared federal holiday and LGBTQ events in Pride month. And that is just the beginning.

In the seven years Jordan has lived in Rio Rancho, Jordan concluded.  “I have not seen the change we need.”  That is in part why she is running.  “Rio Rancho needs change.  That’s why I don’t say ‘This is my seat’ for mayor.  I say, ‘This is OUR seat.’  I don’t say, ‘This is my campaign.’ I say ‘This is OUR campaign.’ We need to change and we need to BE the changed community. “