Q & A
David Lansford, 45, on Tuesday was elected to his third term as Clovis’ mayor .
Q: Tell us a little bit about your family.
A: I’m the youngest of two boys; I have an older brother who’s here in Clovis with his family. My mother and dad still live in the same house I grew up in here in Clovis. My dad was a 40-year employee at the telephone company and my mother taught school for over 20 years at the high school. My wife Debbie and I have known each other since we were 15, and have been married for 23 years. We have three boys and one daughter (Matthew, 20; Micah,17; Marissa, 14; Miles, 11).
Q: You received support from 55 percent of the voters in your first two runs as mayor, then 73 percent this year. Why do you think this year you won so easily?
A: I really don’t know the answer to that question, but I think a tremendous amount of people in our town have tremendous talents and gifts to give. I’m privileged to be a mayor because so many people have already given so much, and so many are giving selflessly to see that Clovis has a bright and optimistic future.
Q: Did you struggle with the decision to run for mayor a third time? You’ve said you favor term limits in some respects.
A: That was one of the issues I struggled with before I started to run a third term. I expressed these concerns with my friends and family before I decided to run, and both encouraged me. I like the job, I enjoy doing it, I’ve had some success with it, but I can tell you it was a struggle for me. I don’t want to do something that the voters don’t want me to do, and certainly I don’t want to force myself on the community.
Q: Just two years ago, voters turned down a proposed quarter-percent tax increase. On Tuesday, they passed the same proposal. What changed?
A: I think because we’ve been able to demonstrate that we’re good stewards with taxpayers’ money, and they see that there’s good economic growth in the community. There’s a spirit of optimism, and I think it’s a fortunate thing that voters trust their city officials. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm about the tax, and we were able to get out there and explain to voters how it would be used and why it would be to their benefit. You know, I have to thank the city staff, (City Manager Raymond) Mondragon and (assistant Joe) Thomas for just an endless supply of energy as they got out and talked to some 35 to 40 different organizations, to help educate them about the tax.
Q: Recently city and county residents have disagreed over growth issues. Prior to Tuesday’s election, a county resident recently wrote a letter to the editor calling the gross-receipts issue “taxation without representation.” What can the city do to help ease this conflict?
A: Well, I guess you could make an argument for taxation without representation in thousands of instances around the nation. You know if I go to Lubbock or Albuquerque and I’m paying sales tax, I don’t have any representation there, so how is that really any different from someone who lives in Melrose coming to Clovis, or even someone living outside of (Clovis) city limits and paying tax? That’s just the way our society’s government is structured. … Nobody’s trying to abuse anyone for not being a resident of Clovis by taxing them specifically for any reason.
Q: You’ve been vocal in your support of the Ute Lake water pipeline project. Is that because you honestly think it’s a good idea, or because you think it’s the only option for solving future water shortages?
A: As anyone in the state of New Mexico knows, we exist because of the availability of water; without water there is no life. A community’s sustainability is directly related to its availability of life. We have been enjoying the abundance of the Ogallala Aquifer, but because it’s so heavily mined, that water source is (being) depleted. No one knows if it’ll be 15 or 20 more years before that aquifer is fully depleted. Unfortunately, there is a finite amount of water underneath Curry County and I think it’s important to develop renewable water. It’s a huge advantage for the city’s future to have a secondary source of water.
Q: The Ute Lake water pipeline project is dependent on 80 percent federal funding. Are you confident that will happen?
A: Well, of course we’re very optimistic. What it boils down to, in understandable figures, is that the project right now is about $296 million to construct over 10 years. You can round that up to $300 million over 10 years. That’s $30 million a year on average. Eighty percent of that is $24 million a year. So to reduce it down to what the federal government is being asked to contribute is essentially $24 million a year for three counties with 12 jurisdictions in every county. It’s do-able. It’s not a formula that’s just been just dreamt up; it’s a formula that’s been used in other parts of the country.
Q: The city commission will have two new faces — Fred Van Soelen and Randal Crowder — the next time it meets. How do you feel about the newly elected officials?
A: I’m looking forward to working with the two of them. I know Randy Crowder very well and I know he’s going to bring a lot of talent and skill to the table. Fred Van Soelen, I don’t know nearly as well, but I’m told he’s very bright. I’m encouraged by our new commission, and what we can all do to make Clovis a better community.
Q: Do you think Clovis has strong leadership?
A: There’s an attitude of investing in the future of Clovis. We’re in an era where the leadership of Clovis is cooperative, good, and friendly. It’s something that most communities are not experiencing. We are all pushing for the same thing.
Compiled by Abby Dunn, CNJ Correspondent