Education reform was the primary subject for area candidates for the June 5 primary during Thursday's Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon at the Yam Theatre. Area candidates were invited to speak at the luncheon.
Many of the representatives spoke of an education bill they tried to pass through the Legislature, which would prevent third-graders from being promoted to the next grade if they were not progressed enough in reading or other skills.
Here's what they had to say in education:
• Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, incumbent of District 27
"Parental involvement is the key to success in education, period, end of story. That's all it is. For some reason, in the last generation or so, we have lost the ability for parents to say they're part of the education system. We've almost made it to where parents don't have to do anything. We have to restress that. What we have done now is said, if we retain somebody, it's ruining their lives. Well, it doesn't. That comes from departments in Santa Fe not doing what they should. Sometimes you have to make it to where people will pay attention. They say, 'well, we both work; we don't have time (to read with our children).' Bologna. Parents probably almost feel like they can't do anything. We need to change that."
• Rep. Bob Wooley, R-Roswell, incumbent of District 66:
"This thing (education bill) was debated and debated and debated. It was changed so many times but it never made it to the House. It died on the last day. We will revisit this again next year and I think the education committee will also work on it off and on. We have too many kids dropping out of school in our state and we need to put a stop to that."
• Jose Griego of Clovis, a Democratic candidate for District 63:
"We believe every local school district has to have a client to address their issues. I'm gonna say this. We haven't said anything about the Department of Education. That department right there needs to be responsible for a lot of things going on in education in our schools. We need to make administrators think about what they are not doing at the local level."
• Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, incumbent of District 42:
"Down the road, hopefully we're going to see some real changes in education. Hopefully, our educators will realize we're trying really hard to improve our school districts. I think the success of our students needs to be a partnership between our schools and parents. Children are not achieving the goals they should be. We want to bring parents in to work with teachers, work with administration and the students to figure out how we can try to move that child forward."
• Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, incumbent of District 66 (previously of District 57), spoke on criminal justice in New Mexico:
"Where are my passions? I'm going to shock you. One of them is criminal justice. We do not take criminal justice seriously in this state. We treat victims with disrespect because of the leniency we show to the people who hurt them. You spend any time in law enforcement, you will meet more victims of that offense."
• Ingle made a statement regarding rumors of Gov. Susana Martinez trying to get him kicked out of office.
"We talk very frankly with each other and we get along very well. We both have the best interests of New Mexico at heart."
• Wooley spoke of results in the state's legislative session:
"The Senate introduced 744 regular bills. Only 77 made it to the governor's desk (just more than 10 percent). Fifty-six percent ($3.2 billion) of the passed budget is going towards education."
District 67 incumbent Dennis Roch, R-Texico, and District 63 incumbent George Dodge, D-Santa Rosa, were not able to attend.