Councilor says children priority

Argen Duncan

Portales’ newest city councilor, Keith Thomas, makes children a priority and says he wants to be accessible. Monday, he spoke with the Portales News-Tribune about his history, goals on city council and philosophies in life.

On his priorities for the city:

Thomas said the city needs water, and he plans to support any measure for a viable, sustainable water supply.

“Short of dancing with the devil, we have to do what we have to do to make sure we have water here,” he said.

Also, Thomas wants to improve roads, although he knows the city doesn’t have the money to repave all of Portales. He said he plans to make sure roads stay a priority.

Thomas wants to see more children’s activities, though he says the school athletics and Portales Recreation have good programs.

“There’s got to be something else,” he said.

Thomas supports Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation’s work to bring in a movie theater.

“That’s good stuff because that’s a good start,” he said.

As for other activities, Thomas said he doesn’t have specifics, but does have an open mind.

Finally, Thomas said city employees deserve higher pay.

“I’m not going to promise them I’m going to get them a pay raise, but I’m going to try,” he said.

On youth:

“I love kids,” he said.

During Thomas’ almost 20 years as a police officer, firefighter and emergency medical technician, he felt it was his job to protect children and the elderly.

Thomas said he’s had youth in and out of his house for 30 years and believes in promoting “the good things in life.” Those items don’t include such things as drugs and gangs.

Thomas wants to be a part of the effort to bring in activities for children, and says parental involvement keeps kids away from drugs and gangs. He said he is very involved in his children’s lives.

“I’m not being nosy, I’m just being a dad,” Thomas said.

Work history:

Thomas served as a police officer at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport for about five years and as a firefighter and police officer in Clovis for 15.

His father was also fire chief at Cannon Air Force Base.

“Public safety was just in my blood,” Thomas said. “If there’s a more rewarding career than police, fire, EMS, I wouldn’t have a clue what it would be.”

The hardest part of his emergency response work was seeing children die.

“I live with them every day,” he said of those children.

Thomas moved into the home medical supply field after a friend convinced him to do so to prosper and help people. That was 17 years ago, and he said he hasn’t regretted a minute of it.

“This is just kind of an extension of me being able to help the elderly,” Thomas said.

After working in Ruidoso, where he met his wife, Laurie, when he hired her as a respiratory therapist, Thomas and his family moved to Portales.

Hobbies:

Thomas restores old motorcycles and calls himself a fanatic about remote-control airplanes. He specializes in jets, the ones in the range of six-feet long.

“My biggest and probably dearest hobby of all is my family,” he said.

Still, Thomas said first and foremost in his life is his worship of God.

“I’m a poor example of a Christian, but I’m a Christian,” he said. “I’m a work in progress.”

On life:

“I really enjoy life a lot,” Thomas said.

He thinks everyone should be happy, and said there’s some way for people to change things if they’re unhappy.

“I’m the ultimate optimist,” he said. “I believe there’s good in everything.”