District 67 state representative candidate profile: Craig Cosner

Craig Cosner is a District 67 state representative candidate.

Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asked District 67 state representative candidates to answer the following questions in 300 words or less. The answers were edited for spelling and style. The primary is June 3.

Name: Craig L. Cosner

Age: 59

Occupation: Retired banker (35 years)

Party affiliation: Democrat

Elected offices held: None. Gubernatorial appointment to Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents and New Mexico Finance Authority.

What type of economic development suits eastern New Mexico best, and how could you, as a legislator, facilitate it?
In District 67 there is a lot of diversity in the type of economic development that can be developed in our area. It is important that as a legislator you are supportive of the economic development process in each community. As a project is identified you must stand ready to support the community in securing economic growth. If we are going to improve the economic outlook, it is important to take advantage of growth and job opportunities as they become available. The state has in place assistance to help in economic growth and we need to make sure that they are made available to northeastern New Mexico.

How familiar are you with the Ute Water Project? What can the state Legislature do to move the project along?
The Ute Water Project has had several studies on the project and the water allocations have been determined. It is my understanding that a bill has been introduced by Congressman Tom Udall to finance this water project. It is important for the legislators serving this area be supportive and work with the communities on a state level to bring this project forward.

What do you propose doing to help New Mexico schools? Is the current funding formula working?
Our area schools are a part of the foundation of each of our communities. Not only are they a part of the community, but the future of our youth is dependent on the quality of the education provided by New Mexico. It is the state’s responsibility to adequately fund education. The current formula needs to be updated as shown by a recent study that shows we are underfunding education. This will be on the agenda for 2009 and it is very important that we have strong representation to ensure that our schools in northeastern New Mexico have adequate funding to provide the quality education that we all expect.

Gov. Richardson has been pretty adamant about a health care plan, and has gone so far as to threaten a special session. How can health care be improved in the state?
The cost of health care must be addressed. We can not afford to continue with the increases that we have experienced. There is not an easy solution to this problem, but we must continue to work toward finding a solution. The cost of health care affects each individual that has insurance and those who do not have insurance. It is time for the legislature to find a solution that adequately covers our state and is affordable. The cost of health care is important to District 67, but the availability of health care is also very important.

Regarding state infrastructure, what areas need the most improvement or repairs, and how can the state pay for such needs?
Fiscal responsibility should be high priority for your legislator. There is not an area in New Mexico that is without needs for improvement in infrastructure. The roads, bridges, sewer, water lines, etc. all needs improvement. The only way to adequately address our needs is to prioritize needs in each area and start a system of funding them within the budget of the state of New Mexico.

What is something you felt the Legislature has not adequately handled, and how would you approach it?
In District 67 we have some special projects that have not been funded. Some have been from lack of support and others have not been signed into law. It is very important that your legislator works with each community and within the legislative system to adequately represent each area in District 67 with equal, fair and honest representation.