See below for my response to the League of Women Voters questions.
1. How would you increase access to quality health care in the county?
VC relies on local health care provider clinics and the NMDOH operates two offices in VC. The Older Americans Program provides transportation to specialties not available within VC for qualified persons.
Increasing access requires affordable insurance and more clinics or hospital. The Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and Medicare are all vital to access. I would vigorously advocate for NM to fully fund these insurance programs.
Long term - Build a hospital with a sustainable business model.
2. How will you update high speed internet access in the county?
My plan to address the Digital Divide is:
a. Incorporate this into the county mangers performance criteria ensuring the manager is actively working to provide high speed internet (25Mbps download/ 3Mbps upload) to every corner of VC.
b. Apply for some of the millions of $'s available in state and federal financial assistance and technical resources.
c. Provide public access Hot Spots in all VC facilities.
d. Long term; work with PRC to make this an essential utility, driving the cost down.
3. What are the two highest priorities for the county?
During COVID19 access to quality health care is the highest priority, this makes the lack of a hospital stand out. Location not-with-standing, the citizens of Valencia County voted for a hospital and land owners paid taxes for it. I will work with the stakeholders of Valencia County to build a hospital with a sustainable business model. A hospital will also attract employers to the county, increasing jobs, property values and tax revenue for the county.
Water rights. Water is life in the desert, especially for a rural and agricultural community. Water is a legacy resource, not a commodity to be sold at short term gain. As Commissioner for District 5, I will work with the NM State Legislature to develop comprehensive water use law for this complex issue to preserve and promote agriculture in Valencia County. Valencia County is blessed with an agricultural Green Zone. The current county commission is actively working to dismember agriculture with zoning changes reducing agricultural lands. I will work to keep water available, the Green Zone green and not change agricultural zoning to commercial.
4. How would you balance the demands for economic development and growth with the county’s limited resources?
I believe that government should enable businesses with a network of infrastructure and resources, then get out of the way. Small businesses are local and most of the money generated will stay local, improving the tax revenue for the county and the quality of living in the community.
My initiatives are:
a. Promoting and restoring the agricultural Green Zone.
b. A small business incubator with resources at VC Offices.
c. A Master Plan with Comprehensive Land Use for long term planning.
5. Why should people vote for you?
I am practical and pragmatic, not driven by conservative or liberal ideology. VC has been my home for 33 years having lived in NM over 50. I have raised my children here. I'm your neighbor and coached your children in youth sports. I am a UNM graduate and a Viet Nam Era veteran. I care about our community and seek to improve our quality of life.
My collective skillset of data driven decision making includes professional experience as a teacher, engineer and manager to qualify me as Commissioner.
6. How do you propose to support small business in the county?
I will appoint a small business council from local business leaders and provide resources to market Valencia County, advocate for small businesses, feedback to the VC Commission, provide outreach and attract resources (banking & people) for small businesses in the county. Small businesses account for the vast majority of employment, job growth, innovation, global trade, numbers of minority and women owned businesses in the US. VC will grow when small businesses take root here.