State legislators visit with area residents

By William Thompson: Quay County Sun

More than 50 area business leaders and government officials had lunch with state legislators Tuesday.

Rep. Brian Moore and Sen. Clint Harden were in town for the annual ACI Roundhouse Review — an event organized by the Association for Commerce and Industry and the
Tucumcari/ Quay County Chamber of Commerce. The event is designed to give local business owners an opportunity to hear first hand from government representatives about legislation that was or was not passed during the recent session and how it will impact them.

Moore, who serves on the house budget committee, said the bulk of the state budget went to education and Medicaid, leaving less money for many other worthy projects.

“We can’t keep funding Medicaid like this,” Moore said. “We’ve got to get a handle on spending for education and Medicaid.”

Harden likewise lamented the lack of Medicaid reform. He said the state Senate spent hours discussing the pros and cons of cockfighting, parental notification of abortion, the death penalty and the definition of marriage.

“We did not spend a single hour talking about Medicaid reform,” Harden said. “I asked the Senate to convene a committee of the whole Senate for discussion on education spending and Medicaid, but it didn’t happen.”

Moore said a bill he sponsored to fund a feasibility study for a wind center at Mesalands Community College will help Tucumcari and the college.

“The most exciting thing we did was what we did with Mesalands, “ Moore said. “We’re going to teach people here how to create wind energy centers and how to work on them.”

Harden said he is generally not an advocate for more laws on the books.

“I introduced four or five bills, things that people in the area asked me to do for them,” Harden said. “Mostly I saw that there was more discussion among senators along philosophical lines this session, but when a bill goes to the governor then it’s more a fight along party lines.”

Harden said there were many late night sessions as senators discussed issues.

“There were some 13 to 14-hour work days,” Harden said.

“Rural senators made a lot of noise. We told other senators how important our rural way of life is.”

James Robinson, assistant general manager for the Hampton Inn on East Route 66 Boulevard, said the luncheon offered him his first glimpse of the two representatives.

“It was good to see them in person,” Robinson said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. It’s good to know that they are available to network with business owners and business managers.”