When it comes time for the election on March 6, registered voters in Questa will see only current and returning politicians who are household names in the village.
The race for mayor of Questa - population about 1,700 - will see the incumbent, Mark Gallegos, face off against John Anthony Ortega, a first-term village councilor who is 10 years his junior. Gallegos is a sitting Taos County commissioner for the northern reaches of Taos County, from Questa to Amalia, and has previously served as a councilperson for the village.
Both Ortega and Gallegos were serving in the local government during water crisis that left the village dry over the holiday season of 2016 and into the first month of January 2017. The political fall-out of the crisis plagued the municipality for months afterward, with former-village administrator resigning due to tensions with Gallegos and wrangling over who should ultimately take responsibility for the month-long water outage. The village eventually hired a new administrator in August, but only after internal disagreements between the council and mayor over who should take that job, and how quickly. Luckily, the village had some money in reserves, softening the financial blow of the water emergency.
The race for two at-large council seats is likewise filled with familiar names. Lawrence Ortega is a sitting councilor, Louise Gallegos is a former councilor and Charlie Gonzales has a long political career, including stints as Questa mayor, councilor and a school board member, as well as Taos County commissioner and assessor.
Should John Anthony Ortega win the mayoral race, the village council would have a vacancy, which would be filled by appointment from the newly elected council. Questa has one voting place for municipal elections on March 6: the village offices at 2500 Old State Road 3, Questa.
Read candidates' answers to questions asked by The Taos News in the individual profiles on the left-hand side of this page.