Sunland Park, NM (KTSM) — Sunland Park City Council Representative Christian Lira announced Friday that he has decided to run to become the State Representative for District 34 in New Mexico, which includes Doña Ana County.
Lira was re-elected to Sunland Park City Council on Tuesday, even though he said he repeatedly withdrew his name from the race. He said he did not withdraw in time to remove his name from the ballot. Lira has been serving Sunland Park since March of 2010.
The District 34 seat in New Mexico is currently held by Mary Helen Garcia. During a press conference Friday, Lira said he believes she has been ineffective in the 15 years she has held that seat.
"I myself have had trouble going to the state getting funding, getting the help that is needed. All of District 34 has been forgotten by New Mexico for many years, and it's time for it to stop," said Lira.
If elected as a state representative, Lira said he plans to maintain his position as a city councilor, as well as a state representative. When asked if it was legal, Lira said yes. However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, that is illegal in New Mexico.
Following Lira's announcement, Kenneth Giove, Lira's opponent in the District 1 race, took to the microphones to express how ineffective Lira has been during his time in office.
"Mr. Lira's record is he misses 40-percent (of council meetings). He wasn't here for the budget. He rarely shows up. When he does show up, it's by phone, and the state has taken note of that," said Giove.
Lira was part of the state of New Mexico's investigation into public corruption. He was accused of helping two El Paso residents obtain New Mexico driver's licenses. Lira said there was no evidence involving him.
Lira was arrested in 2010 and was charged with one fourth degree felony count of False Imprisonment, one third degree count of Bribery of a Witness (Threats) (False Testimony) and one misdemeanor count of Battery against a Household Member.
According to Sheriff’s investigators, Lira was involved in a domestic incident involving his ex-wife, age 27. He was later found not guilty.
Lira said 13 signatures are needed to put his name on the ballot, and he said he has more than 500. He will officially register to be on the ballot on Tuesday in Las Cruces.