Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Four Portales people are hoping to help with health issues in the Portales community as members of the Roosevelt County General Hospital board, but only two of them will be chosen in Tuesday’s election.
Positions are open in District 1 and District 2. Both positions are five-year terms running from 2006 to 2011.
While District 1 has only one candidate on the ballot, there are three people running for election as District 2 representative. District 2 boundaries are from South Avenue C east to South Kilgore and from East Third Street south to 18th Street in the Portales city limits. The people living within those boundaries will get a chance to pick between Terry Cone, Linda Baca and Margaret “Peggy” Davis.
Today is the final day for early voting which takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Roosevelt County Courthouse.
District 2 voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Steiner Elementary and District 1 voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Lindsey Elementary.
Cone is the incumbent and has been serving on the hospital board since the creation of the board in 1999.
Elections for the first hospital board took place in the fall of 1998, according to Janet Collins, Roosevelt County clerk.
Cone won the first election, which was a three-year term and won the following election which was a four-year term. Cone, a certified public accountant, said his experience on the board and as an accountant makes him a worthy candidate. Cone said he has the ability to analyze revenue and review budgets.
According to Cone, he was involved in helping to get the Roosevelt County General Hospital opened up after the old hospital closed down.
“I feel our challenges are still ongoing in getting more doctors to the area,” Cone said. “We would like to get more family practitioners, neurologists and cardiologists in the area.”
Cone said one of the projects for the Roosevelt County General Hospital is to have Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) capabilities 24 hours a day. Cone said currently a mobile MRI vehicle brings MRI service to the hospital once a week.
Baca has worked as a treasurer and office manager at the Village Pharmacy, where she is the co-owner with her husband, Victor. Baca deals with many aspects of the business, such as billing and accounting.
“We need some new blood on the board,” Baca said. “Someone with new ideas. I believe that being bilingual I am able to communicate with the Spanish-speaking community. I can be a voice on the board for them.”
Baca received her bachelor’s degree in education at Eastern New Mexico University, went to graduate school at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and received her master’s degree from ENMU in 1984.
Baca said she would like to help in bringing in doctors to the community who will stay here to live for a long time. She said she would like to see an expansion in the medical services provided to Portales, much like the expansion taking place in Clovis with things such as the new cancer unit.
Davis believes her experience in management in the medical field makes her a worthy candidate. Davis said she has 30 years of management experience at the Thrifty Pharmacy, previously located in IGA and is the pharmacist at Roosevelt General Hospital along with other management experience.
Davis said one of the health care issues facing the Portales community is the ability to provide a baby delivery option. She said since the old hospital closed down, more than eight years ago, parents have had to go to Clovis to have their babies delivered.
She said RGH needs to continue to explore the option of bringing in a an obstetrician, a physician who delivers babies. Davis said the hospital was built with two labor rooms and a nursery room, which are currently being used as an intensive care unit and patient rooms.
Lydia Ornelas is the sole candidate in District 1. Phone calls to her were not returned by press time. That district’s boundaries are from North Avenue O east to North Kilgore and from West Fir Street and East Third Street north to the Portales city limits.