The election calendar for Albuquerque Mayor and City Councilors begins in earnest on March 1, 2021, for the November 2021 election. City Councilor Don Harris has announced that he will not seek a fifth term after serving 16 years on the Council.

“When I attended my first inauguration, my youngest son was not yet a year old.  He is now 16.  My daughter was eight and now she is getting her master’s degree,” Harris said. “I loved being a City Councilor and would love to continue.  However, I need to focus on building my business and spending time with my family.”

Councilor Harris added, “Make no mistake, this position exacts a significant sacrifice from those who serve, both financially and the time commitment.”

Councilor Harris looked back on some of his most impactful legislation in the news release announcing his retirement. According to Harris, he has been instrumental in acquiring over 300 acres and investing over $5 million for Open Space in the Tijeras Arroyo, including the purchase of the original Carnue Land Grant Village, which is currently under contract.  The new Singing Arrow Community Center is under construction. The adjacent archeological site is being improved for the first time since the City acquired it approximately 50 years ago.  Councilor Harris sponsored the park in Four Hills, the park in process in Juan Tabo Hills, and substantial renovations to the Jeanne Bellamah Community Center and Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center.  Councilor Harris has provided funds for the Mile-High Little League for much-needed upgrades to its field. Most recently, the critical Tramway Boulevard and Indian School Road Landscaping project began construction; a collaboration with Councilor Harris, State Representatives, and the neighborhood association.

One of his most impactful pieces of legislation was the resolution that devotes 2% of the biannual bond proceeds for Open Space purchases, which has resulted in millions of dollars of Open Space purchases, and will continue for the foreseeable future. 

He, along with Councilors Brad Winter and Michael Cadigan, were the deciding votes that stopped a streetcar from being built along Central Avenue during the term of Mayor Marty Chavez.

“I have worked with three excellent Mayors,” Harris said. “There is no ‘aisle’ dividing our dais at City Hall. We all do our best to work together for our great City.”

Candidates for city council seats can file exploratory committees on March 1. All three westside seats as well as District 7 in the midtown and uptown areas and Harris’ District 9 covering Four Hills and far east ends of Albuquerque are up for election in 2021.

Harris is one of three Republicans on the nine member council.

This story is a staff report from The Paper.