Denish addresses local citizens’ concerns

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo During her visit to Clovis, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish visited with constituents to hear their concerns. Nancy Taylor, executive director for the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, came to keep Denish informed on the work the food bank has been doing.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish visited Clovis on Wednesday as part of her “Roundhouse on the Road” tour of New Mexico.

Utilizing a tour bus that serves as a mobile office, Denish is spending three days visiting residents on the southeast side of the state.

While at the Clovis-Carver Public Library, she talked to the CNJ about the concerns she heard from citizens and other issues.

Citizens’ concerns: Fort Sumner is of course concerned about being able to get to and from their health care.

And Melrose wants to have a health clinic so there was a lot of concern about health clinics.

In Clovis, I heard lots of concerns about water issues, about health care again, some concerns about education, concerns about returning veterans and the needs they have, and some concerns about the special (legislative) session — some ideas about what we should do with that extra money. So a wide variety of issues came to my attention here in Clovis.

Uses for the surplus state tax revenue: I think giving some back to the taxpayers (would be good). I’m especially in support of the governor’s proposal to finish out some of the roads and that’s been an issue here in Curry County.

I think (we should plan) for the future at the same time as we give some of the money back through the rebates.

Gov. Bill Richardson’s suggestion to have a tax-free shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas:

I would support that and I think it would be good for the economy and get people to shop locally … I think we’re going to need it this year because we need to pump a little energy into the economy.

Maybe people will get out there and spend that little bit of money that they’re saving on paying gross receipts tax on products and retail things.

On speculation about presidential candidate Barack Obama recruiting Gov. Richardson as a vice president running mate or a cabinet member (Denish would ascend to governor to complete Richardson’s term): Well, I really haven’t spent a lot of time (thinking about it) because the key word here is speculation.

I’m continuing to work in whatever position I’m in on improving the link between education and workforce development, on improving health care coverage in New Mexico and on making sure that we have the infrastructure we need to connect our communities.

We have some big challenges ahead … I’m fully prepared if the governor were to leave tomorrow for some reason, I’m prepared to step in. I’m ready to do it and I look forward to the opportunity when and if it presents itself, immediately or in the future

Thoughts on running for governor in 2010: It’s a little early to be talking about that but I feel I’m well prepared to do that. I certainly wouldn’t run for any position other than governor.

Thoughts on Clovis: Well, you know one of the things that’s unique here to Clovis is the expansion of the base and the special operations unit that’s coming in. I think that’s going to have a tremendous impact on Clovis as well as the bombing range expansion.

I want Clovis to be prepared, I want them to have a plan for themselves because I think this is going to grow the community and it’s going to challenge Clovis to be better planned in terms of water, infrastructure, resources, housing for the small community and I want to work with them to make sure that happens.

Freedom New Mexico reporter Karl Terry contributed to this report.