Editor's note: Both candidates running for state representative of District 66 are currently the incumbents of districts 66 and 57. They are running for the District 66 because of recent redistricting.
Republican candidates running for state representative of District 66 were asked five questions for Tuesday's primary. Answers were limited to 150 words and edited for clarity and style. There are no Democratic candidates.
What district are you representative of now and how many counties do you represent in that district? How do you make sure all of your constituents are treated and listened to equally among those counties?
I am the representative for District 57, which covers northern Chaves, northern Lincoln and northern Otero counties. I have Roswell north of Country Club Road, the towns of Corona, Carrizozo, Capitan and much of Ruidoso in Lincoln and Tularosa in Otero. The primary way to stay connected is to travel to these communities often and build relations with as many folks as possible. That way I am alerted when something comes up so that I can deal with it promptly. I try to attend town council meetings and school board meetings as well.
How do you plan to improve the education system in New Mexico?
The schools in New Mexico cannot be expected to correct the problems created by dysfunctional families. Children that are not in school, or who are disruptive and disrespectful when they are there, cannot be educated by even the best teachers. We need to hold the parents of those children accountable. I want to ensure that our schools are orderly, and teachers are safe, especially at the middle and high school level. There is, however, a need to make sure ineffective teachers receive corrective training or are removed promptly. Children cannot be forced to suffer with an unqualified classroom teacher.
In what ways do you plan to help pump money into the local economy?
I am very leery of proposals to "pump money into local economies." This usually involves taking money from the taxpayers and funneling it to politically connected individuals. I believe that to encourage economic development we need to reform the regulation and litigation environment in this state. Public funds should be spent on public infrastructure such as roads, water systems, school buildings and the like. We need sensible regulations, a fair tax system and a reasonable predictable civil legal system to ensure economic development. Spreading taxpayer's dollars around like Tinker Bell spreading pixie dust will not provide real jobs or economic growth.
What are the first two things on your agenda you want to take on if you were to be elected?
The behavioral health issues in this state are huge. We have individuals who are in the criminal justice system when they really need treatment and we have people who are on the streets that pose a risk to the public. We need to develop procedures that protect the public, safeguard civil liberties and ensure effective treatment. I am also concerned that Texas is taking more from the Ogallala aquifer than they should and thus impacting the amount available to New Mexico farmers, ranchers and dairymen. The recent Texas State Supreme court decision in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day raises serious questions. During my time in the oil patch I was fascinated with the fact that water is a waste product in the oilfield. The engineer in me really wonders if there is not an economical way to treat that produced water to the point it could be used in agriculture.
What legislation would you push to pass immediately if you were elected and why?
I am not sure it is "legislation," but it is a change to the rules of the House of Representatives so that each party decides which of its member are on the various committees. Right now the Speaker of the House (a Democrat) appoints all of the committee members (including Republicans). This is one example of the overwhelming power of the speaker and that needs to change.
— Compiled by PNT senior writer Christina Calloway