Some of Brian Gutierrez’s most vivid memories of growing up in Santa Fe involve roaming the city with carefree abandon. Jaunts through Ashbaugh Park, cutting through the College of Santa Fe (aka the Midtown Campus), visiting family on Velarde Street—Gutierrez remembers a more quaint city.

“Those memories, along with thinking about my children and where they’re going to be and what future they have is...why I decided to get involved,” Gutierrez tells SFR about his decision to run for city councilor of District 1.

Gutierrez officially announced his candidacy for the northernmost district, adding his name to the most crowded council race so far. The other official candidates include incumbent Councilor Sig Lindell and Joe Hoback. Though the race is nonpartisan, all three are registered Democrats.

After Gutierrez participated in the city’s charter review in 2013—addressing topics ranging from full-time mayor to marijuana decriminalization—he developed an interest in volunteering with the city.

He was appointed to the Planning Commission by then-Mayor Javier Gonzales and now serves as chairman.

“Being on the Planning Commission opens your eyes to things that are happening in Santa Fe,” he says.

A need for collaboration in the areas of education and affordable housing in the city are crucial, Gutierrez explains. That’s why he says he wants to work with the Board of Education and has big hopes for Midtown Campus.

When Gutierrez, 50, and his wife, Denise Dominguez, are not raising their four children—Daniel, Elijah, Elise and Elexis—who range in age from 4 to 17, Gutierrez operates a towing company, Mr. G’s Pro Tow.

The city contracts Gutierrez’s company for towing services, which he says gives him a unique perspective on public safety in Santa Fe. While calls to defund the police have grown louder, Gutierrez says, “I do believe that the police department can use help. I do believe that officers and officer retention, and this is something for all city employees, is something that needs to be looked at.”

One issue on Gutierrez’s mind is water: “As a community we’ve been doing well on our conservation of water.” He highlights innovative efforts by the city, like the retrofit program, to reduce water consumption.

But the ebb and flow of the peoples’ interest in water conservation concerns Gutierrez.

“I think it’s something that needs to be addressed on a full-time basis as to what we can do,” he says. “Especially with climate change—to get us to an even better level of conservation and reuse.”

Looking toward the city’s future, Gutierrez hopes to build a community for his children that resembles the life that he was able to carve out for himself.

“My mom lives a block away from me,” he says. “Every Sunday we get together, we go to Mass and we eat and we spend the day together.”

Politics run in the family. Gutierrez’s mother-in-law’s sister is the wife of Councilor Chris Rivera. Gutierrez says they don’t talk politics at family gatherings.

Gutierrez intends to pursue public financing, so he’s preparing a seed contribution as well as collecting signatures for his nominating petition before he must submit them to the Office of the County Clerk on July 19.

Four City Council seats and the mayoralty are up for election on Nov. 2. For details about registration, voting and more, see SFR’s Santa Fe City Elections FAQ page.