Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Candidate profiles — District 63 State Representative

Republican Russell R. Grider and Democrat Jose Campos are running for District 63 State Representative.

Name: Jose Campos

Occupation: Owner of Joseph’s Bar and Grill

Party: Democrat

Age: 43

Hometown: Santa Rosa

Wife: Christina Rivas

Children: Analisa, 18; Andrea, 16; Jose III, 14

Hobbies: History, antique automobiles, scuba diving, golfing, camping, boating, water and snow skiing.

Political History: Two years state representative for District 63 to present; mayor of Santa Rosa for six years to present; Guadalupe County commissioner for two years (1990-1992).

Jail overcrowding has been draining county budgets for years. What, if anything, can the state Legislature do to help counties out? And do you support more state funding to help out counties?

Overcrowding in county facilities has been a one of the most crippling expenses for counties ability to provide better services in the rural areas. The first issues are the criminals we want safer neighborhoods so we want them locked up. So how are going to pay for their incarceration. I passed a House Joint Memorial to get inmates to work, 1/3 of their wages earned would go to the victims, 1/3 to the state for their incarceration, 1/3 to the family that was left outside the prisons, so they would not be a further burden on the state.

In the same plan privileges would be earned as they are in society. We will try to rein doctrine how we are supposed to behave in society: When an inmate works hard he will earn certain comforts, he or she might eat better, watch television or even have time for recreation. But if you do not conform there will be repercussions, less benefits, lower quality food, etc.

Another solution is that the state should not pass any laws that will incarcerate inmates for less than a year, which in turn makes them county inmates or for the state just take financial responsibility for certain incarcerations.

What is the best way to continue promoting agriculture in this part of the state?

We should continue what we are doing right now, that is continue to increase funding for our economic development department so we could continue to fund assistance to local governments with planning and guidance to attract companies like Southwest Cheese to eastern New Mexico. This one act will help agriculture in the Curry and Roosevelt areas for decades to come; the profitability for the dairies has increased because of less transportation for their product. The risk factor in case of bad weather and having to dump truck loads of milk because trucks cannot get to their destinations.

I was with a group of representatives and we were given a guided tour of the $8 million Isotopes Baseball complex.. I was standing over a ledge overlooking one of the concession stands and I saw peanuts, ball park peanuts, and I could see that they were from Georgia. When we returned for our meeting I asked Rick Holmans, the secretary of economic development, why where we buying Georgia peanuts when we could be buying the best peanuts in the country from Portales?

The answer to your question it takes business-minded legislators to continually be searching for opportunities that our agricultural industry can take advantage of and also keep an eye out when to protect it.

What is the biggest issue for this district in the near future, and how will you try to handle this issue?

The most important issue is obvious — jobs, jobs, jobs ...

Good paying jobs help keep our most valuable resources home, that being our children. Our quality of life hinges on our ability to find opportunities for children to also be able to raise a family, earn a good income, have good benefits, and raise their children in the best place to raise a child — in our small towns.

Jobs help us increase our populations so we can disperse the costs of cities and counties maintaining a quality water supply, solid waste collection system, water treatment system, roads, law enforcement, schools and health care. In all these areas volume is needed to keep good quality, just like in business. When volume decreases below certain break even points, to keep certain quality levels the cost soon becomes to high for the consumer and the towns die.

The other great concern is water availability. We should continue to work towards conservation efforts and the Ute Pipeline project for the future needs of Curry and Roosevelt counties.

It has been said that senators from rural areas have a difficult task in obtaining funds for their parts of the state. What, if anything, will you do to increase funding for municipalities in eastern and northeastern New Mexico?

I would agree it is a difficult task for rural legislators to obtain sufficient funds for all our areas. There are a few reasons for this: Our populations continue to decrease and the metropolitan areas are increasing. This in turn means that they will continue to have greater influence where funds will be invested. The other reason is that we rural legislators have greater areas of responsibility in comparison to the metropolitan legislators.

The problem is that if you only look at capital outlay, legislators all receive the same amount of money (more or less). This is why experience is important, I’ve been a mayor, county commissioner and a businessman. I know how government works and how important it is to find different arteries of funding to help support our locally elected officials (city, county and schools). The experience I have is knowledge of these arteries because I’ve been involved at the local level, on the front lines so I know where to go when one of my constituents needs a project to be funded or just needs help.

For government to run successfully, legislators must support their locally elected officials. I am a firm believer that before you become a legislator you should first be a city councilor, mayor, county commissioner or a school board member, so you would have first hand knowledge on how to meet the needs of your constituents on the front lines of government.

Why are you better suited for the position than your opponent?

I believe that an effective legislator is one who listens to his constituents and is able to produce for their needs. I feel I have done this very well. We have improved pay for teachers, parent’s authority in the direction of their schools, lowered taxes, tough on crime, supported retired state employee funds, and improved health care.

I’ve represented eastern New Mexico well and I’ve been busy: Sponsored the Amber Alert and Military Base Retention bills; the National Guard “Soldiers and Sailors Act;” and sponsored re-authorization of the small county assistance for Roosevelt County Bill, among others.

I have successfully obtained millions of dollars for my district. Compare my accomplishments with other legislators in the area and then by the other freshman legislators. You will be convinced that I have worked hard and I’ve been recognized by the largest business organization in the state as the “Rookie Legislator of 2004,” and recognized by the state Association of Counties as “ Legislator of the Year 2004” for my standing up for rural counties. I have just begun to work for you. I’ve got experience and I’m effective for eastern New Mexico.

Name: Russell R. Grider

Occupation: Farm/ranch operations in Curry, Roosevelt and Torrance counties.

Party: Republican

Age: 54

Hometown: Clovis

Wife: Shelley

Children: Heath, Sommer and Scarlett; five grandchildren

Hobbies: Coaching and organizing youth development programs under the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics Program (AAU).

Political history: Appointed by Gov. Bruce King in 1980 to the Agriculture Advisory Committee for the Four Corners Region Commission for a two-year term; served on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Plains Council of Governments (EPCOG) representing the village of Floyd; president of Curry-Roosevelt Farmers Union; a state member of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union; chairman of the Promotion and Marketing Committee for New Mexico Cattle Growers Association; member of the board of directors for Curry County Farm Bureau.

Jail overcrowding has been draining county budgets for years. What, if anything, can the state Legislature do to help counties out? And do you support more state funding to help out counties?

This is one of the primary concerns I heard while knocking on doors in Curry and Roosevelt counties. Many families have loved ones incarcerated outside our state. The cost of fuel to see those loved ones is only part of the problem. Curry County is spending over $1 million each year to house inmates elsewhere.

I’ve spoke at length to Matt Chandler, the incoming district attorney, and we have developed a plan to address this issue. As part of the plan, the state must provide as a minimum, “operation cost funding” for counties to house felons or felons must be transferred to state facilities. The state must also step up to the plate to assist in the construction of additional bed space if a “tough on crime position” is to be maintained.

But, the underlying issue is drug use. A major portion of our detention population is people who have been detained on drug violations. This is an epidemic that is attacking our youth and if we can make an impact on this problem, the related problems will resolve themselves.

Part of our plan is to develop drug and alcohol treatment centers. The Matt 25 project in Clovis must be completed and the plan to transform the hospital in De Baca County into an eight-county drug and alcohol treatment center must be implemented. If I am elected, I will work to use the benefit of increased oil and gas revenues to develop infrastructure to handle these problems. If we continue to keep our courts bogged down with repeat offenders and keeping our facilities over-crowded, the tax burden on the citizens will increase dramatically.

What is the best way to continue promoting agriculture in this part of the state?

The question should be what do we do to keep farmers on the land, something my opponent apparently doesn’t understand. My opponent voted to hit agriculture at the very heart when he voted to raise our diesel and gasoline taxes, raise trailer and registration fees. Continually increasing taxes, regulations and fees makes it harder to keep farmers on the land. The state of New Mexico must promote and support a decentralization of production agriculture. It is a matter of national security to have production capability with surplus feed and food in our country. We must promote New Mexico-produced food for New Mexico families and market state-produced food as part of our heritage and tourism.

Additionally, we must continue development of value-added processing for agriculture products. The cheese plant in Clovis and the expansion of the ethanol plant in Portales are examples of some Agriculture-based, value-added processing.

What is the biggest issue for this district in the near future, and how will you try to handle this issue?

The voters in my district worry about the constant drain on their pocketbooks from taxes and fees. They are concerned about cheap labor from across the border, displacing them in the labor force. They also cite the immigration problem as contributing to the drug trafficking due to the relationships being developed by the illegal immigrants with the Mexican Cartels.

My opponent voted to give illegal immigrants the right to acquire a drivers license as identification thus endangering our way of life.

It has been said that senators from rural areas have a difficult task in obtaining funds for their parts of the state. What, if anything, will you do to increase funding for municipalities in eastern and northeastern New Mexico?

Being able to communicate the importance of our area to the other areas of the state is critical. We must use all the resources of our state and work together. New Mexico is an agriculture-based state. I have a proven track record of building coalitions in the Legislature with interests across the board and I am a problem solver. Today many cities have only a three-day supply of food at a given time. Any interruptions in the food supply via terror or distribution issues such as contamination by a deadly pathogen like anthrax would have dramatic and immediate consequences. The cities need us and we need the cities.

Why are you better suited for the position than your opponent?

I am committed to representing the people of my district, not special interest groups. I am not obligated to the governor’s agenda, but will vote for the people of this district. This state is going to experience a 40-percent increase in population during the next 10 years. We need someone who can articulate rural New Mexico needs in terms of preserving water, jobs and no taxes. I have the ability to think outside of the box in order to preserve New Mexico’s custom and culture and those things that make New Mexico in general and the eastern side in particular, unique. And at the same time, we must prepare for the diverse inward migration of residents to the state. I think the contrast between me and my opponent is that I’m a problem solver and he is a party player. He goes with what his party dictates and not with the people he represents.

 
 
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