Two seats are on the ballot for the Socorro Electric Coop’s annual trustee election.

District 2 and District 3 trustee positions are up for election, and there are two candidates for each seat.

Trustees serve a three-year term. Trustees come from five geographic districts but are elected at large, so every Coop member can vote on the trustees. If you pay your electricity bill to the Socorro Electric Cooperative, you are a member and can vote.

Voting can be done via the ballot mailed to member homes. Mail-in ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 31. Members can also vote in person at the annual member meeting on Saturday, April 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Macey Center. The annual meetings allow members to vote on trustees and get an update on Coop business.

District 2 Trustee James Nelson is running for reelection against Judith Holcomb. District 2 covers Magdalena and Alamo, and there is one District 2 trustee on the Coop Board.

Nelson is currently serving as the Board’s chairman. He is a retired plant geneticist. Nelson is also on the Village of Magdalena’s Board of Trustees. In the Coop’s mailer, Nelson says, “A shift to a renewable-energy-based electrical system is urgent. Industry realities around reliability transmission, and risk management make this shift complex—there are no shortcuts to cheap, green electricity. And making rates equally fair for every consumer class isn’t simple.” He believes trustees should relay the wishes of members in their district while “remaining aware that they serve the entire membership.”

Holcomb previously served as a Socorro Electric Coop director. She has maintained a law practice in Socorro County since 1991 and served as the Domestic Violence Special Commissioner in the Seventh Judicial District for 16 years. She also previously worked on utility rate regulation for AT&T, Ford Motor Company and Boeing. In the Coop mailer, Holcomb says she looks forward to focusing on alternative energy, employee safety and community engagement.

District 3 Trustee Luis Aguilar is running for reelection against Michael Bowden. District 3 covers the City of Socorro, and there are three District 3 trustees on the Coop Board.

Aguilar is currently serving as the Board’s vice-chairman. He retired from military service with over 22 years of duty. In the Coop mailer, Aguilar says he will advocate for efforts to extend broadband service to all of the Coop’s coverage area, capital credit refunds, and the Scholarship and Youth Tour programs. “I strongly support projects that will improve and sustain power reliability without burdening the membership.”

Bowden believes he has relevant experience: maintaining the power generation and lighting of the KC-135 Stratotanker while serving in the U.S. Air Force and an electrical engineering degree from New Mexico State University. He wants to work toward a cleaner power grid and thinks the Board needs to keep an eye on changes that will increase electricity demands. “We will need to increase peak grid capacity by 30 to 40 percent over the next 40 years while trying to keep the costs down,” he says in the Coop mailer.

There are seven members on the Coop Board. In 2022, Ward McCartney was elected to the District 1 position in a tight race, 52.59% to 47.41%. District 1 covers Veguita, Bernardo, La Joya and part of Belen. In 2022 no one ran for the District 5 seat, so the Board of Trustees appointed Ron Burnett to the position later. District 5 covers San Marcial, Datil, Pie Town, Quemado and Fence Lake.