District 67 state representative candidate profile: Van Robertson

Van Robertson 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.

State representative
District 67

Name: Van Robertson

Age: 54

Occupation: Rancher

Party affiliation: Democrat

Elected offices held: Currently serving as a Union County commissioner

What type of economic development suits eastern New Mexico best, and how could you, as a legislator, facilitate it?

Economic development will be different in each community in eastern New Mexico. It is important to seek many new and desirable ventures not just one large venture. I believe that economic development in eastern New Mexico should first be environmentally safe. Creating jobs will be the most beneficial issue for all communities. As your state representative I would work directly with all community economic development organizations to develop their ideas and projects and do everything possible to improve economic development in eastern New Mexico.

How familiar are you with the Ute Water Project? What can the state Legislature do to move the project along?
I am very familiar with the Ute Water Project. I would support the project as long as it is used for municipalities and not for agricultural use. The state legislature should work with the federal agencies, as well as the city and county agencies involved in the project to ensure the project moves forward and is financially feasible.

What do you propose doing to help New Mexico schools? Is the current funding formula working?
I think one of the best things I could do help eastern New Mexico schools is to attend the Rural Education Cooperative meetings with the area superintendents and become more informed as to what the needs and problems are for our schools. By attending these meetings I would be more knowledgeable and aggressive as the District 67 representative to visit with the other legislators and seek more funding for our schools.
The current formula is not working for most eastern New Mexico schools. Small classes make the formula even less attractive. The small schools in eastern New Mexico are not treated fairly when the AYP standards are raised. Most schools are under budgeted when the AYP programs fail.
I would like to see more emphasis on drug prevention and teen pregnancy in the area schools.

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?
Health care in New Mexico is extremely important and vital to all eastern New Mexico residents. The rising cost of insurance is making it more difficult for New Mexico businesses, municipal governments and schools to provide and pay for health care coverage for their employees. Health care needs to be affordable without causing financial hardship on individuals and families. I will work diligently for quality health care in eastern New Mexico and strive for a program that will meet the needs of every citizen.

Regarding state infrastructure, what areas need the most improvement or repairs, and how can the state pay for such needs?
I believe that water, waste water, and solid waste are areas that need improvement in eastern New Mexico
Water conservation is a concern to me, and I intend on implementing more water conserving ideas for eastern New Mexico. Waste water and solid waste are a problem and I think with adequate planning these areas can be solved in a financially feasible manner.

What is something you felt the Legislature has not adequately handled, and how would you approach it?
I think that water conservation is one of the most important issues facing eastern New Mexico at the present time. The Legislature implemented several good programs regarding water, but I strongly feel as a legislator there must be more focus on water protection and conservation. I would hope to see Texas and New Mexico work jointly to create guidelines that benefit all eastern New Mexico residents.