Algernon D’Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 6:00 a.m. MT Aug. 20, 2019 | Updated 10:05 a.m. MT Aug. 20, 2019
Post-millennial candidate promises business owners will be heard
LAS CRUCES – When asked about young adults’ reputation for being unmotivated and addicted to technology, Jorge Sanchez laughed.
At age 20, Sanchez is a real estate agent with Steinborn and Associates and also the owner of Speedy Tee’s, a screen printing and embroidery business on N. Main Street close to City Hall.
“I just feel the problem is a sense of urgency with some people,” Sanchez told the Sun-News on Friday. “Some people take a little longer to go after what they want to get.”
According to the Pew Research Center, the “millennial” generation (born between 1981 and 1996) is the second-largest generation in the U.S. electorate, and Sanchez’s generation, known as “Generation Z” or “post-millennial,” is a growing presence in the economy and expected to account for 10 percent of eligible voters next year.
They are also old enough to run for office, and last week Sanchez announced on Facebook last week that he would run for mayor. He must file on Aug. 27, by 5 p.m.
The Las Cruces city charter does not set a minimum age for the offices of mayor or city councilor, simply stating that the mayor must be a resident of the city and a qualified voter. The minimum age of a qualified voter is 18.
“I’ve always been very political myself,” Sanchez said in an interview on Friday, adding “I’ve always had this dream since I was about 16 years old.”
If he won, Sanchez would be 21 years old when he took the oath of office, which would make him the youngest mayor in Las Cruces’ history.
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“That’s why I want to do this, to bring new ideas from a new generation and get more people to run for office,” Sanchez said, adding he wanted to establish the presence of younger workers and business owners in local office.
“My generation is probably better at bringing more technology and more advanced ideas,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, we have an older perspective on tourism, when we can do more things like I’ve seen El Paso and bigger cities do — more music festivals and things like that, to bring more people here, bring more tourism, and that would help the small businesses a lot as well.”
The Nov. 5 municipal election is non-partisan, and Sanchez demurred on identifying with any political party, later writing on social media, “Political parties are not my agenda. My agenda is to move Las Cruces towards the right direction … fixing and widening roads, building up our Parks and Recreation programs, helping our schools, bringing tourism and many more ideas!”
Born in Deming, Sanchez has lived in Las Cruces since the age of 7. He withdrew as a business major at New Mexico State University and pursued his real estate certification instead, telling the Sun-News, “I’ve always been more of a ‘experience is better than book smarts’ type of guy.”
He promised a business-friendly administration, saying the feedback he has gotten from other business owners (of all ages) is that they feel unheard by the current city government.
Those comments inspired his campaign slogan, “Your voice will be heard,” Sanchez said.
In his first attempt at public office, Sanchez enters a competitive field.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima, who took office when Sanchez was 9 years old, is seeking a fourth term as mayor. Four other challengers preceded Sanchez into the race: current city ouncilor Gregory Z. Smith, former city councilor Jesusita Dolores Lucero, La Fiesta Bakery co-owner and 2015 candidate Gina Ortega and local restaurateur Mike Tellez.
The Nov. 5 election will be decided through ranked-choice voting for the first time.
Correction: This version clarifies when mayoral candidates must file to run for office.
Read about the other candidates for Las Cruces mayor:
- Dolores Lucero enters race for mayor in Las Cruces
- Mayor Ken Miyagishima announces bid for reelection
- La Fiesta Bakery co-owner announces second run for mayor
- Las Cruces City Councilor Greg Smith to run for mayor
- Mike Tellez announces run for Las Cruces mayor
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