Today we’re sitting down with City Council Candidate, Jay Gonzales. Gonzales has lived in Trinidad for about two years and hopes to bring attention to the needs of families and youth, who he feels are underserved.
If elected, Gonzales promises to put his focus on the youth of the town to improve opportunities and the education system.
Here is the rest of our interview with candidate Jay Gonzales:
The Chronicle-News: How long have you lived in Trinidad?
Jay Gonzales: “It’s been about two years now. I came down here for a client who wanted to see if their restaurant concept would work down here and kind of fell in love with the area. I found good opportunity here as well. And it’s a smaller community than I was living in in Arvada, Colorado. My children’s graduating class would’ve been in the thousands. So we thought the idea of having a smaller community and still living in the mountains and being able to afford it, that’s what it was for us to move to Trinidad.”
TCN: Why have you decided to run for office?
Gonzales: “You know, I see a city on the verge. I see a community that’s ready to take some steps in the positive direction to further economic development and make a safer place for our children as well. Really that was kind of the one driver behind it is that my children are now in to this community as well. We own a couple of businesses in town as well. We want a safe place for our children to grow up and have the best education possible.”
TCN: What are some of the challenges you see our town facing and how will you address them?
Gonzales: “We have an infrastructure challenge. I have a friend who is from here and he has put a camera through just about every sewer system and we’ve got a really big problem right underneath our feet so we definitely have infrastructure issues. We also have a struggling school district that we need to get whatever help that we possibly can to help the educators that are there put forth the best plan that they possibly can to improve those test scores and make our schools be back on the rise again.”
TCN: How will you work to maintain a positive relationship between the city and county?
Gonzales: “One of the biggest challenges that our city and our county has before us is bridging that relationship gap that’s just not there. I know that the current county commissioners and city councils have put some bridges out there, but I think it’s going to take a whole community effort working together to bring the city and county together. I definitely support that. I have two businesses out in the county as well, so it’s important to me that a strong Trinidad also means a strong Las Animas County because you can’t have one without the other. Working hand in hand we can really tackle some of the issues we have with health care and mental health care, police issues as far as those guys being under staffed. Trinidad is a very economically depressed town, but we are on the rise”
TCN: Why should the public vote for you?
Gonzales: “I’m pretty passionate about my feelings towards protecting children and keeping them safe. I’m very vocal about that. I want to stand on that. I understand in Las Animas County we have a ton of problems; from drug overdose, opioid issues to homelessness to mental health issues, and I’m not saying none of those problems shouldn’t be addressed, but when the well is very thin and just about dry, we have to focus our efforts on something. I think the children of this community are where I would like to put my focus; keeping them safe and improving the education system and through that, that’s going to be the vibrancy that’s going to be the renaissance — it’s those children that we’re teaching.”