Candidate Q&A County Commission District 1

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With early voting beginning on May 10 here is a Q&A with the four Democratic candidates seeking election for a four-year term as the District 1 Quay County Commissioner. Election day is June 7.

(Candidates were asked to limit answers to 180 words)

Candidates in order of ballot listing.

Robert Lopez

District 1 County Commission candidate Robert Lopez emailed two sets of answers in response to recent questions from the Quay County Sun. The answers published in Wednesday’s newspaper were his “rough draft” responses, he said. He also provided more complete answers in an emailed attachment. The more complete answers are published here.

 

Q: What issue do you feel is in most need of being addressed in District 1?

Among the many issues at hand, I believe the maintenance of our county roads are in great need of improvement. Simple mowing and spraying of weeds along the roadways would be helpful, and if possible, bigger repairs suc:h as more paved and chip sealed roads would greatly benefit the County.

 

Q: What type of growth is needed to stimulate Quay County’s economy?

Our County already has an abundant, untapped growth in Agriculture. We don’t need to” reinvent the wheel”. Another approach to this question would be, “What do we currently have, that we can make better?”

 

Q: What is a positive attribute that Quay County possesses that can be developed to be economically beneficial?

To put the previous question and answer into motion: Currently, Quay County agriculture produces large amounts of “raw” products. We need the capability to “finish” these products, whether it be in processing beef, rolling corn or producing range cubes with our hay and grain crops to ship out and distribute as a “finished” commodity. We can make these commodities right here in Quay County. Our renewable water source from Conchas Dam gives Quay County an edge over other communities in our State where their water resources are being depleted.   Utilizing our current Economic Development teams locally and at the State level, these businesses can be created right here in Tucumcari!

 

Q: It is easy to quote one’s strengths as a candidate, but what issue facing the county would you need help in understanding in order to be an efficient commissioner if elected?

A County commissioners’ role is very specific to overseeing the County budget and making policies. I believe there are many immediate issues concerning our Department heads, elected officials, and constituents in our county, not just one ” issue” specifically. Therefore, by understanding my role and working with the County Manager, I will be able to focus on these issues and concerns with an open mind. Then, I can better understand what needs to take precedence, once elected.   As a former Commissioner, my experience gives me the ability to work efficiently and effectively which in turn, will bring me quickly up to speed with the other elected officials and we can all move forward in a short time.

 

Q: With more and more unfunded mandates being passed down to the counties, what would be your plan to make sure essential services are continued to be provided for all residents?

We need to make sure that the County is operating as efficiently as possible while looking at different funding sources and forming partnerships with other City and State entities. It will be the only way to accomplish all the goals we have for the betterment of our County.

 

Q: Do you believe Quay County’s relatively remote location in the state and its distance from Santa Fe make it more difficult for the county’s voice to be heard in state

I believe our location could be a problem if we don’t have adequate and clear communication with our State representatives who bring our issues to the legislative sessions. As Commissioner, it is crucial to maintain a good, working relationship with these officials. If we have good communication and representation, the location of our County shouldn’t be a problem.

Sue Dowell (Incumbent)

Q: What issue do you feel is in most need of being addressed in District 1?
The commission and those in county positions need to be more receptive to citizens’ input and more responsive to citizens’ concerns. District 1 and every District in Quay County have citizens who are smart, dedicated, willing to work to improve things, and have a wealth of good ideas and energy. Citizens need to be shown they are respected and their ideas and concerns are valued by their government. I have worked with many citizens who feel they do not get listened to by those in positions. When I encouraged a citizen to attend a commission meeting to express her concerns, her reply was if she did that things would just get worse for her. We cannot let citizens feel things would get worse if they express their concerns and issues. We must be responsive to citizens’ requests. Our citizens need to be given the opportunities to be involved so they feel ownership in the government process.

Q: What type of growth is needed to stimulate Quay County’s economy?
We are in desperate need of some creativity and innovation to stimulate our economy. I have promoted the idea we need to diversify and expand efforts for economic development, new businesses and new jobs. We have to brainstorm various new ideas and try some additional methods. We cannot just keep doing the same thing and expect anything to change. Another area of growth needed is expanding support for local businesses we have. We also need growth in medical services available locally, such as dialysis and ob/gyn care. Having to travel for such services is a hardship on many of our residents. With the upheaval in treatment services a few years ago, many services such as those Team Builders provided have been reduced in our county. For some of our citizens, behavioral and substance abuse counseling and programs are needed services.

Q: What is a positive attribute that Quay County possesses that can be developed to be economically beneficial?
The key point we have to remember is that with the many positive attributes here, we have to do the work and have to have the community spirit to develop all we can in Quay County.
Quay County has several positive attributes that provide opportunities to benefit our economy. Our location with major highways intersecting here offers so much. Our location within 8 hours to some major cities is another attribute. Other positive attributes are our citizens and their interests. Citizens work so hard to promote Route 66, Ute Lake, arts and culture, museums, yearly events that draw many people into town, and agriculture. Mesalands draws students here with its many programs, opportunities, and events. Our location and terrain offer opportunities for wind and solar projects.

Q: It is easy to quote one’s strengths as a candidate, but what issue facing the county would you need help in understanding in order to be an efficient commissioner if elected?
I study and ask questions about every issue that is on the agenda for County Commission consideration and action. When a commissioner accepts the responsibility of his/her office, that includes the responsibility to study every issue for better understanding. I have also accepted the responsibility to learn about issues through taking the classes with New Mexico EDGE Program. I was the first person in Quay County to become a Certified Public Official. I am the only person in Quay County to become a Certified County Commissioner. I have completed all of the classes for Certified Advocate for Public Ethics. Taking those classes helps me to understand issues that come before the County Commission and gives me a connection and support system with other public officials across the state.

Q: With more and more unfunded mandates being passed down to the counties, what would be your plan to make sure essential services continued to be provided for all residents?
The commissioners and the county manager have to be able to make wise decisions and determine essential services and how to balance the money we have with the necessity of funding services our citizens deserve.
The County Commissioners have the obligation to oversee the budget. They must provide the leadership for Quay County to be fiscally responsible and must always remember the obligation to spend taxpayer money wisely to provide the best services and programs to our citizens. Unfunded mandates are a huge issue and a real challenge especially for smaller counties. We must be wise with our money. In addition, we must work with our representatives and with the Association of Counties to try to influence legislation that requires mandates to be funded.

Q: Do you believe Quay County’s relatively remote location in the state and its distance from Santa Fe make it more difficult for the county’s voice to be heard in state government? If so, how do you intend to elevate the county’s profile in the halls of the Capitol?      I also believe we have to work with other counties that face some of the same issues and the same problems as Quay County so that a unified effort for attention can be voiced.
I believe most counties other than Bernalillo, Santa Fe, and Dona Ana have a more difficult time being heard in state government. I think we are so fortunate to have Representative Roch and Senator Woods representing Quay County. I know firsthand how hard these two gentlemen work to protect and promote interests of citizens in Quay County. I applaud both of them for their willingness to listen to citizens’ concerns and to take action for citizens. One of the best moves we can do to elevate Quay County’s profile in the halls of the Capitol is to work closely with Representative Roch and Senator Woods.

Doyle Frasier

Q: What issue do you feel is in most need of being addressed in District 1?
I believe Districts 1, 2,and 3 are the same and should be treated the same.

Q: What type of growth is needed to stimulate Quay County’s economy?
We need more water to encourage dairies to our area.
We need to keep working with the tourist coming through our area.

Q: What is a positive attribute that Quay County possesses that can be developed to be economically beneficial?
Keep working together.

Q: It is easy to quote one’s strengths as a candidate, but what issue facing the county would you need help in understanding in order to be an efficient commissioner if elected?
As a past commissioner, I generally understand how the county government works, but will need to be updated on some projects in progress,

Q: With more and more unfunded mandates being passed down to the counties, what would be your plan to make sure essential services are continued to be provided for all residents?
Work with those in charge and let them know that we are a poor county.

Q: Do you believe Quay County’s relatively remote location in the state and its distance from Santa Fe make it more difficult for the county’s voice to be heard in state government? If so, how do you intend to elevate the county’s profile in the halls of the Capital?
Quay county is no different  than other counties on the east side of the state. We need to join with other counties to be better heard in Santa Fe.

Daniel Garcia

Q: What issue do you feel is in most need of being addressed in District 1?
1. Equal representation. The Quay County Commission has practiced institutional racism for most of its 113 years in existence. There has never been more than one token Mexican American the commissioner. All in have been in District 1.

Q: What type of growth is needed to stimulate Quay County’s economy?
Jobs. Do all that we can do to get the racino license to Tucumcari. The county seat attracts other businesses to move to the county. Lets do what we can to provide jobs for our young people and stop exporting them.

Q: What is a positive attribute that Quay County possesses that can be developed to be economically beneficial?
1. The white silica sands that are in the west northwest of the county at Tiella Blanca and the Village of Tiella Blanca on the Pajarito Creek. I have donated these sands to Mesalands Community College for their annual Iron Pour.

Q: It is easy to quote one’s strengths as a candidate, but what issue facing the county would you need help in understanding in order to be an efficient commissioner if elected?
Why do the present commissioners have us voting at large? I see no logic in that when voting in district was working well. As soon as they changed it to at large the token Mexican American was voted out.

Q: With more and more unfunded mandates being passed down to the counties, what would be your plan to make sure essential services are continued to be provided for all residents?
If it is a problem I will stay on top of it. This is how we keep checks on the commission.

Q:Do you believe Quay County’s relatively remote location in the state and its distance from Santa Fe make it more difficult for the county’s voice to be heard in state government? If so, how do you intend to elevate the county’s profile in the halls of the Capital?
It is not difficult to be heard in Santa Fe. Win or lose in this election I personally am going to contact my good friend Miguel Garcia, State Rep. for Atrisco, South Valley in Albuquerque. His is a native of Tucumcari. I will be contacting my prima (cousin) Stephanie Richards Garcia who is the State Rep. from Los Alamos. Her family was from Tucumcari.
I am going to do my very best to change the state statue that permits a county commission to have us vote in district. When the commission forces us to vote at large they are practicing institutional racism and perpetrating it.

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