September 23, 2015

Despite Fla. home, ABQ councilor says he’s committed to NM

An Albuquerque city council hopeful is taking his long-time incumbent opponent to task for building a custom waterfront second home in Florida.

Brad Winter

Brad Winter, Courtesy City of Albuquerque

Brad Winter, the longest-serving councilor, last year took out a $324,000 mortgage with his wife to construct a three-bedroom, 3,100 square-foot house in Port Charlotte, Florida, a popular retirement destination located on a Gulf of Mexico inlet, according to public documents obtained by New Mexico Political Report.

Winter, a recently retired administrator and interim superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, is seeking a fifth term in this October’s city election. His opponent is Israel Chavez, a 24-year-old University of New Mexico graduate who works as a development director at Equality New Mexico.

Although the race is nonpartisan, Winter is a registered Republican and Chavez a Democrat. City council district 4, where both candidates are running for office, traditionally leans Republican.

Chavez called the purchase “concerning at a time when Albuquerque is struggling” and argued that councilors should be fully invested in their job and not “be able to just go to another city when things get hard.”

Although Winter’s mortgage marks the house as a second home, Chavez questions whether that is really his intention.

“It’s a custom-built home with a lot of luxuries and amenities that need a full-time up-keep,” Chavez said, citing a pool and boat as examples.

Winter, however, maintained that he has no interest in moving anywhere else full-time—now or in the future.

“I made a commitment to stay here another four years,” Winter said. “I still have a daughter in high school here. Albuquerque is my home.”

Israel Chavez

Courtesy Israel Chavez

Owning a second home in Florida is nothing new for him and his wife Nann, an Albuquerque lawyer. Winter said they both owned a smaller second home in Florida for a handful of years before building the new one.

They sold the first Florida house last year.

“We had a little two-bedroom,” he said. “She wanted a three-bedroom.”

Winter said Nann tries to go to their Florida home every few months, though he only goes twice a year for a couple of weeks each time—once during the holidays and once during the summer.

Winter said his family also owns a cabin in Jemez.

In seeking another term, Winter said he’s focused on community projects like the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center. Chavez said he wants to curb teen drug use, which is highest in the district, as well as property crime while working on police reform.

Albuquerque city elections will be held Tuesday, Oct. 6.