Candidates readying for March 14 election


Gallup voters decide who leads two council districts March 14 and by the looks of it the candidates vying for District 3 could make things quite interesting.


Growing up in Michigan, restaurateur Angela Chavez never imagined that she’d get deeply involved in municipal politics. But here she is, on the cusp of entering into a three-way election for a Gallup city council seat.

“I’ve served on boards, but I’ve never held elected office,” Chavez said during a recent interview with the Gallup Sun. “But I feel it’s something that I can do and can do well.”

Chavez has lived in the Indian Capital the past 24 years and owns and operates Angela’s Café at 201 E. Historic Highway 66. She said infrastructure, the city’s aging water and sewer lines, panhandling and doing something about the number of vacant buildings downtown are platform priorities. The condition of city streets can be maintained a little better, Chavez said.

“I think there are solutions to a lot of these problems,” Chavez said at a recent candidate forum. “We just have to find them.”

Esco Chavez, a former city and parks and recreation director, wants the job for the long haul. But so do incumbent Yogash Kumar and political newcomer Angela Chavez.

Esco Chavez, no relation to Angela, a Gallup native and graduate of New Mexico State University, has never held public office in McKinley County.

“I am the voice and person for the people,” Chavez said. “This is something that I want to do.”

Chavez said he’d like to see a lot more done with panhandling and the condition of city streets and wants to re-open the Ford Canyon Senior Center. “Potholes and panhandlers,” Chavez said. “That’s all you here when somebody starts talking about Gallup.”

Regarding potholes, Chavez said the city needs a plan whereby repaving is done slowly but surely on a weekly basis. On panhandling, he said perhaps more police enforcement is needed. In Gallup, aggressive panhandling can garner an arrest.

Chavez said to get at the panhandling epidemic, he’d get the panhandles and homeless people together and give them paid odd jobs on a daily basis, jobs like picking up trash or pulling weeds.

“I want to represent the people,” Chavez said. “That’s what I’m about. That’s why I’m running.”

A local hotelier, Kumar was first elected to the City Council four years ago. He is a former Gallup mayoral candidate. Kumar’s platform consists of economic development through tourism, bringing in new industry by the utilization of current assets and systematic infrastructure improvements. Kumar is a member of the board of directors off the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation.

Regarding panhandling, Kumar said at a recent political forum at the Gallup-McKinley County Chamber of Commerce that there is an ordinance on the books, but unless city police catch the culprits panhandling in an aggressive manner, there isn’t a lot police can do to enforce the ordinance.

“They have a right to be there, as long as they aren’t being aggressive,” Kumar said at the political forum.


Like Kumar, District 1 incumbent Linda Garcia was first elected four years ago. A retired municipal court legal assistant, Garcia is unopposed in District 1. Born and raised in Gallup, Garcia is against the issuing of more liquor licenses, “because we have too many already and that has become a problem,” Garcia said.

Garcia and fellow councilwoman Fran Palochak are out front with respect to holding neighborhood association meetings. Garcia was instrumental several months ago in establishing a neighborhood watch Program in Gallup’s Roosevelt neighborhood. Garcia’s political platform includes beautification, infrastructure improvements and the placement of speed bumps in neighborhoods to cut down on speeding.

Gallup councilors serve four-year staggered terms and earn an annual salary of $21,000. The election is Tuesday.

By Bernie Dotson

Sun Correspondent