State congressman suggests national publicity campaign to aid Cannon fight

By Ryn Gargulinski: CNJ staff writer

A question posed by Congressman Steve Pearce made one local business owner think of the Oscar Mayer Weiner.

Specifically, Sid Strebeck envisioned the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, or something equally recognizable and memorable that eastern New Mexico could use to glean national attention to help save Cannon Air Force base.

The wiener musings came in response to a question posed to Pearce, R-N.M, during a town hall type meeting with a handful of agriculture and business owners Wednesday in Clovis Community College’s Town Hall. He was asked, “What can the average citizen do to help save Cannon?”

Nobody knows how to market better than a minor league baseball team, Pearce said, giving rise to the flurry of ideas of people to contact to produce a positive public spectacle.

“We need to get Clovis on Good Morning America,” said Walter Bradley, former lieutenant governor and Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., official.

Bradley said he will telephone public relations representatives from his former office to see what path they might suggest to garner media attention.

Strebeck put the challenge out all area residents, urging them to contact the Clovis Chamber of Commerce or community leaders with ideas that would gather news crews from every major network.

“As a car dealership owner I am always looking for marketing ideas,” said Strebeck, owner of Bailey Strebeck Jeep Mitsubishi.

In addition to brainstorming about how to get Cannon off the Base Realignment and Closure list, Pearce also responded to queries concerning tax cuts and how it has already helped deplete the national budget by $100 billion; social security and the nation’s need for legal immigrants and other workers to keep jobs in this country, and how “loaning” Iraq money to help rebuild would benefit America.

Pearce used the example of how Germany’s economic collapse after World War I led to the rise — and atrocities — of the Nazis.

Pearce earlier met with fellow New Mexico representatives to discuss the BRAC issue. He said he was pleased with evidence amassed that parts of the Cannon criteria have been overlooked. As a former Air Force pilot, Pearce knew the importance of unencroached air space, the fine weather for flying, and proximity to the training range. “There were many issues that (the BRAC process) simply did not consider,” Pearce said.

With only a 15 percent chance of Cannon getting off the BRAC list, Pearce said, “We have a very high hill to climb.” He said the task was not easy but was in no way impossible.

Although the Clovis area is not in Pearce’s second Congressional district, he said he visits every six to eight months to check in with representatives from the agriculture industry.

His tour also included stops in Santa Rosa, Fort Sumner, Portales and Albuquerque.