McCulloch banks on background in Senate run

Compiled by Andy Jackson

The following is the first of a series of profiles on political candidates campaigning in the area for the November general election.

Candidate: Dr. Allen McCulloch
Party: Republican
Office: U.S. Senate
Incumbent: Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.
Background: McCulloch is urologist from Farmington. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering.

Q. Talk to us about open government. Is government transparent enough now? Too transparent? What will you try to do in terms of making government more or less open to the public?
A. It’s a public government. Information should be available to the public, but there are security issues that need to be protected. That’s where elected representatives come in. And I think that spending a life in politics is where we get skewed in what’s important for the public versus the politicians. You can’t have total one or the other, but it has to be a representative government.

Q. Tell us your highest priorities if elected?
A. We have to approach border security in a meaningful, enforceable fashion. For New Mexico, immigration has been with us since our beginning.
What’s legal and illegal?
Once we make that definition, then we need to apply appropriate recourses, so that we accomplish the right to immigrate in and accomplish the American dream.
From a security standpoint, we need to make sure we have a clear understanding of who’s entering and who’s at risk for destroying our quality of life.
As a rural physician, rural health care is obviously a significant issue for me. The difficulty is maintaining basic primary services — that’s your primary care physician, general surgeon, obstetrics, urology. We need to have policy that allows communities to be flexible such that they encourage those services to remain in the community.

Q. Why are you more qualified than your opponents?
A. My background., I’m a rural farmer, a physician, and I’m an engineer that worked in the oil and gas industry before going to medical school. I have a unique skill set to represent a broad array (of issues), from a hands-on point of view for the needs of New Mexico, I’m a dirt-under-their-fingernail type of guy that’s been out and worked in New Mexico.

Q. What do you think about storm-water drainage issues?
A. I’d rather see storms (laughs). I don’t have a big swing issue on that. I think in one sense it helps replenish our ground water. I think it takes a little imagination to make them work, but I don’t see that as a strong issue for me.

Q. Do dairies need more regulation?
A. The biggest health issues, I think are two: One is the use of antibiotics in dairy processes. Currently milk is monitored for the residue of antibiotics, and I think it’s something that we have to continue to be vigilant about. We have to make sure that that is respected because it does have an affect on the consumer.
And the ground water issue. It’s my understanding that using the water for secondary use in alfalfa and large grain growth, (it’s important) that we don’t have ground water contamination.
I support the secondary use of it versus not. On the other hand I think that the dairies have been very good to eastern New Mexico. We need to make sure that we don’t over-regulate that industry if it’s going to take economy out of this area. They came because they saw the openness. We welcomed them with open arms and I think we need to make sure that they remain a part of our economy.

Q. Is the Ute Water Pipeline Project a realistic answer to future water problems?
A That’s a very regional issue for this part of the state. It’s been in the forefront for 35 years, I think. The costs of the pipeline have escalated enormously. That is a single issue. I think that we need to recognize water rights throughout the state. I would like to see continued revision of water rights, where we recognize the value that the ag community has generated for the state by securing those water rights, and work out policy that develops more efficient ways of using the water.