Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Candidates in Doña Ana County Sheriff’s race discuss issues such as crime, border ahead of election

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — As Election Day nears, ABC-7 got the opportunity to sit down with both candidates in the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s office race: incumbent Sheriff Kim Stewart (D), and her challenger, Byron Hollister (R) .

They were both asked a myriad of questions regarding issues that both the county and the department are dealing with, such as crime within the county and near the border, safety within schools, as well as politics within the county.

Regarding border safety and the fight against drug trafficking, Hollister expressed his interest for the county to begin receiving funding through the Stonegarden grant, which provides overtime to members of agencies who work with federal agencies at the border, including the FBI and the US Marshals. Sheriff Stewart’s department stopped receiving funds from this grant under her direction back in 2019, stating her department has been getting results without them.

Stewart said, “as a result of not being in it, did we stop working on narcotics? No! Did we stop on narcotics trafficking? No, we have metro! We continue to do that job. Our individual deputies do that. Did we stop on human trafficking? Of course not, of course not!”

Hollister argued that working with these agencies is beneficial because if DASO loses “1 [deputy]you get 20” federal agents in return.

“We’re not giving up that deputy. You get 20 marshals out there helping,” said Hollister. He added “you’ve just got to be able to talk with these people, and communicate with them, and participate in their programs. They have the money, and it’s not like the money is coming out of the sheriff’s budget, it’s coming out of these individual agencies’ budgets.”

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