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Artesia veteran running for City Council
Roswell Daily Record - 2/6/2018
ARTESIA - George Mullen is running as a write-in candidate for District 2 on the Artesia City Council.
Mullen will be facing Artesia High School Head Boys' Basketball Coach Michael Mondragon in next month's election.
District 2 takes in the eastern portions of the community. Jose Luis Aguilar once occupied the seat. However, he passed away a couple of years ago and Nora Sanchez was appointed to fill out the rest of his term. She decided not to run.
Mullen was born and raised in Artesia, he left the community when he was 18 to attend college. From there he went into the military and served for 23 years, retiring in 1996.
"During the course of that time I also received several degrees," he said.
"Once I retired I came back home I helped out my parents they were getting up in age and my kids were young so I was supporting them and all of their educational endevaors and just kind of being in Artesia observing things," Mullen added.
During his military career, Mullen lived in some larger communities, "however I longed for and welcomed the warmth and friendliness of Artesia."
Coming home was a "God send" according to Mullen.
At one time, Mullen served on a committee that recommended recreational items to the full Artesia City Council.
Mullen said his military experience and familiarity with the community makes him qualified to be on the City Council.
"I was asked to do this several years ago and I didn't think it would really be good for me, but after a while I thought, 'man I need to embark on something.' I'm a disabled veteran so I'm not reallly working and I said, 'well I think I will go ahead and run for council.'
Mullen said he missed the deadline to apply last month and that's why he's running as a write-in.
"I think I would be beneficial for the community on the council," he said.
Each council district, along with the community, has it's own needs. What are the needs in District 2?
"After speaking with some of the people in the district, it appears me to the main concern to them is that water problem we had recentlly," Mullen said.
"Are all the wells tied together,?" he asked. Last summer the community had some boil water alerts after E. coli was found in the water system. Crews spent a lot of time flushing the system and now the community appears to be on track to get a full-time chlorination machine.
"I don't know if our water well (in District 2) is tied into the whole city, which we have a water well that is basically in the middle of our district," he said.
"That and just activities for young kids in the range of junior high and high school like summertime recreational programs along the line of a boxing club or something like that where you can get kids involved in things where there not walking the streets and getting into trouble," Mullen added.
Mullen added that programs for the youth of the community was the main concern he heard when talking with residents of the district.
He said infrastructure is another issue in District 2.
"I ride around in Artesia all the time and I notice different things and just like a major concern for me at the corner of Champ Clark (Avenue) and (U.S.) Highway 285, there's like a culvert and we'll get heavy rain. That culvert fills up and its because all the mud that's built up under First Street, so the water backs up, but that's a state thing because the city can't do anything about a state highway," he said.
Mullen said he has seen a number of changes in the last 20 or so years that he has been back.
"The main thing is being more opportunity," he said. "When I was coming up, opportunities were a little limited. That was the way it was throughout the United States not just in Artesia it was one of those things where minorities weren't looked at in a favorable light."
"Even though it wasn't like very negative, and we had great opportunities because we have a very outstanding school system," he added. "We're all included in the school system, there was a little different feeling throughout the nation and within the community back in the 60's and 70's."
Mullen graduated from Artesia High School in 1970. He said when he served on the recreational committee, one of the needs they talked about was a community swimming pool.
"Which is something that Artesia truly needs," he said. "I was at the last council meeting (Jan. 23) and they were talking about the Artesia Aquatic Center, along with the partnership of the hospital and private donors, it's gonna be something where the community can go and do the things they would like to do."
Absentee voting has started and early voting by machine will start Feb. 14. Election Day is Mar. 6.
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.