By Ryan Lengerich
House Representative Tom Udall used a congressional break to meet with Tucumcari small business owners Monday.
Udall, a House Small Business Committee member, had lunch at a local restaurant and toured three locally owned businesses. He took questions and addressed concerns about productivity at the small business level.
“Clearly this is a community that is hurting and needs help across the board from me and the chamber and all the small business owners,” Udall said.
The Democrat, who represents the N.M. third district, began his day with lunch at La Cita Restaurant with five local business people including C.J. Wiegel, president of Tucumcari General Insurance Agency. Wiegel said much of the conversation centered around providing affordable health insurance for small business employees.
“We all agreed it is a real problem that needs to be worked on,” Wiegel said. “(Udall) is empathetic to the problem we have but has no answers to resolve them.”
Healthcare, Udall said, is one of his top priorities.
“How to get Healthcare to 44 million people who are uninsured, and most of them are in small businesses,” Udall said. “This is an urgent situation I think.”
The congressman then met one-on-one with three local business owners: Larry Bond of Travelers Motor Inn, Stella Watson of Tucumcari Ranch Supply and Yvonne Brazeil and Evette Peacock of Del’s Restaurant.
Udall said trips to rural areas such as Tucumcari give him a chance to gain input from constituents he may not hear much from while in Washington.
“Sometimes you end up just out of the blue getting a good idea,” Udall said. “It allows me as I see these small businesses and different people that come before us to have a sense of what is going on in the field.”