Water on the minds of area officials

Freedom Newspapers

Water is the most pressing issue on the minds of eastern New Mexico business and government leaders who attended a Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Friday.

About 50 area leaders participated in the Clovis Issues Roundtable Breakfast at the Holiday Inn.

“We will see several (legislative) bills on the issue, some of them good, many of them bad,” Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis, told the crowd. “What we need to expect from our representation is that those regulations and laws that get passed don’t hurt us, and the ones that do get through are to our benefit.”

Those attending the conference, hosted by the Chamber and the Association of Commerce and Industry, also identified jail overcrowding and military base closings as key issues for the region.

Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher wants to see more state funding to help counties pay for state inmates serving time in county jails.

“The Legislature and governor don’t want to spend the money on it, and (when) the counties stand up and say ‘We’re not going to pay for it any more,’ then they’ll doing something about it,” Hatcher said.

State Rep. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa, said the upcoming Base Realignment and Closing process is of paramount importance to the entire state. He said he is a co-sponsor of the recently passed base-rention bill, designed and funded to keep all New Mexico military installations open.

“It’s obvious that we’ve committed great air space to Cannon (Air Force Base), and for the coming legislative session, we need to continue funneling more money ( to the base-rention committee) to ensure we have a good, professional staff to challenge any opportunity or reason for closing any of our bases in New Mexico.”