Katherine Bruch is a member of the Democratic Party who is running for reelection as Sandoval County Commissioner in District 1.
Corrales Comment: How does it feel to be one of two outnumbered Democrats on the County Board of Commissioners? Is it difficult at all to accomplish of your goals?
Bruch: It’s frustrating at times. I had a goal when I came on board to really improve what I would consider the function of the dais and it being civil. I am sadly disappointed that as a member of the minority, I have not been able to significantly change that. Some of that I attribute to the complexity of our particular board. The other side of it is that very often, when it comes to the basics of board business and administration of the county, we often agree on what you would call the bread-and-butter aspects—moving county business forward and taking care of our residents and our constituencies. But I would love to have another Democrat on the Board.
We’ve noticed that there are a number of citizens at the commission meetings who seem to believe that the 2020 election was stolen. They’d like to go back to paper-only ballots. Do you believe that they represent the majority of voters in Sandoval?
Absolutely not. I believe they represent a vocal minority that are very small in numbers but loud in in their persistence in trying to convince us that we have a problem where none exists. We already have paper ballots in this state. We have some very secure elections here. And the items that they continue to bring to us are not within the jurisdiction of county government. For me, they’re very frustrating.
I feel like there was a disconnect with what their expectations are and what is really going on within the election process. It seems to me that it’s an assault on our clerks and on the process. It’s been incredibly frustrating and disappointing to see. These folks come back time and time again to ask us to do something that we do not have the authority to do. And I do not agree with some of the things that they’re asking.
Since we have paper ballots, that request has already been met. These individuals would like for us to have no drop boxes. They would like us to have same-day voting basically—only Election Day voting—not mail in ballots. These are some of the requests that we’ve been getting. But what about those folks who are disabled or elderly? I know my own mother has been voting by mail for years. I voted for the first time by mail during that pandemic, and I was very grateful for that opportunity.
We’ve done quite a bit to try to appease these individuals to no avail. A term was used today that I heard: They are weaponizing their efforts to dismantle a system that has worked well—that has included Republicans and Democrats for years. We’d walk in, and we’d see our friends and neighbors working there from both parties and recognize that they are there to serve all of us and do the right thing.
This business about stuffing ballots or ballot harvesting—the fraud that has been alluded to—I have seen no evidence that this is happening, especially in our county.
What do you think is the most relevant issue facing the county today?
Well, I think this is it—that our democracy is being threatened.
With regards to real county business, in terms of the things that we need to accomplish, there’s so much that we’re responsible for as we provide the resources that support our district courts, our assessor, our treasurer, our clerk, our probate judge, our sheriff. And those are the people who are serving our entire county: in public safety, and in making sure that their taxes or their properties are assessed properly.
We as a commission are there to provide them the support that they need to do their jobs—the funding support, the facilities—so that we can accomplish things for all of our constituents. And we know that there are needs. We have some significant needs with regards to infrastructure, with regards to health and safety, with fire protection and emergency services. We pursue opportunities to address substance abuse and mental health. We have a detention center that we have to manage. We have a landfill.
We have a lot of responsibilities that are day in, day in day out—administrative responsibilities. But we as the commissioners are directing policies and funding resources.
If you’re reelected, what would you like to see accomplished in the coming year?
I’m very excited that we should be receiving our first report on strategic planning, which I have been advocating for some years. In October, we should be receiving that. Once we get this data and understand internally what mechanisms are in place to help support these ideas for where our county should go in the future, we can start to execute those and put a plan in place to to address whatever those particular initiatives might be—whether they be around mental health and substance abuse.
One of the projects that I’ve been working on for some time now is our animal shelter, which we have funding for. Hopefully, as soon as within a few weeks, we may actually have the property under contract. It’s one of the things that I’m very excited to see come into fruition.