On January 1, 2020 it was announced by his family that long time Albuquerque City Councilor Ken Sanchez passed away. He was 63. He suffered a major medical episode 5 weeks ago and has been hospitalized since then. He was first elected to the city council in 2005 and elected to 4 terms as a city councilor, serving for 14 years District 1, the central west side district of Albuquerque. He had said he would run for another term in 2021. Mayor Tim Keller will appoint a replacement to serve out the remaining two years of his term.
A LEGACY OF PUBLIC SERVICE
During his time on the City Council, he served as City Council President in 2010, 2014, and 2018 and served as Committee of the Whole Chairman in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 and working towards balanced and responsible budgets. Councilor Sanchez was also appointed Chair of the Finance and Government Committee in 2012. In 2012 Councilor Sanchez was unanimously elected Chair of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo Water Utility Authority. Councilor Sanchez also served the community for two terms on the Bernalillo County Commissioner from 1995-2002.
Councilor Sanchez was born and raised in Albuquerque and lived on Albuquerque’s West Side for more than 40 years. He was the primary principal of the Gilbert Sanchez Tax Accounting Firm on West Central Avenue and an enrolled agent to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Councilor Sanchez was also the president of Ken Sanchez & Associates Realty.
Throughout his years on the city council, Councilor Ken Sanchez was committed to improving the lives of Albuquerque’s Westside residents and the city as a whole. He is credited with securing $2 million in funding for youth programming and moving the the Netflix deal through the City Council. Recently, he helped with the efforts to secure funding for the gateway facility for people experiencing homelessness.
He worked with the residents of the city, the Albuquerque Police Department and the Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Department to address the needs of Public Safety in general. Among his many efforts, he worked with the community, the City Council, all Mayors and other elected officials, and local businesses to bring much needed economic retail development to the Westside. He worked to bring more jobs and places for people to shop near their homes on the Westside.
A number of projects Councilor Sanchez worked on over the years include: the new fire station 7 that improves service to the growing community, the full service Patrick J. Baca library, the UNMH Clinic, Transit Center, and the proposed mixed-use site that will include housing, retail, and offices at the NW corner of Central and Unser. He has also worked with Westside residents, Legislators, and the Library Board for a number of improvements at the Taylor Ranch Library. Councilor Sanchez worked with the community and other elected officials to open the new Joan Jones Community Center at Pat Hurley Park, the renovated West Mesa Community Center, and worked to open the new Westgate Community Center.
Councilor Sanchez worked for beautification and driver and pedestrian safety on the Westside, including median landscaping and traffic calming measures on Unser, Ladera, and a number of residential streets in District 1. He recognized the need for improved infrastructure, working with the residents of the SW and NW, our State Legislators and other elected officials for the expansion of Unser Blvd south to Senator Dennis Chavez and north to Paradise Blvd, as well as having obtained funding to extend 98th Street south to Senator Dennis Chavez Blvd., which now better serves the students that attend Atrisco Heritage Academy and the residents of the far SW communities. Councilor Sanchez also worked to improve Unser, north of I-40 to add lanes to handle the increased traffic of the Westside. Sanchez worked with Westside Legislators to fund additional lanes on I-40 westbound to the exits of Unser Blvd and 98th/Arroyo Vista Blvd to help the Westside commuters’ ease off the freeway.
VAYA CON DIOS
Many of his West side constituents referred to Ken Sanchez as the West side’s Mayor or “the champion for the westside.” He was a hard-working public servant without question and always worked for what was in the best interest of his constituents. The one word that is always used when talking about Ken Sanchez is “gentleman”. He had the common touch and always went out of his way to be gracious and courteous to all those he came in contact with. He has left a legacy that will be remembered long after he is gone.
Vaya Con Dios Caballero Ken Sanchez.