By Chelle Delaney
Governor Bill Richardson adroitly worked the courtyard filled with well-wishers and supporters at the Tucumcari Convention Center on Tuesday making sure to shake as many hands as he could.
He said he had just come from the wind farms, where he was filming several 30-second commercials for his campaign.
And he continued his campaign one-on-one with members of the crowd, of about 100, as they ate a Western-style lunch of barbecue.
Briefly, he stepped outside the realm of the courtyard and talked confidentially, with one of the Ute Lake Ranch developers and supporters from the city of Logan.
Then he hit his stride at the podium, naming people in the audience, and reminding them and thanking them for their hospitality of lodging, a hunting trip and other instances where they had shared time in recreation or at work.
But, he also told the crowd that fishing is not his bag, or least it’s not a game that he can ever bag.
He also reminded his constituents that he has worked hard to bring economic development and jobs to the state’s smaller towns, such as Tucumcari. “We’ve got $61millin in road and another $18 million in economic development,” Richardson said.
Richardson also discussed Mesalands Community College and its rodeo team and its importance to New Mexico’s identity.
When the state performed poorly in rodeo competitions, Richardson said he formed the Rodeo Commission, and pushed for more involvement of 4-H groups and college teams to build up the sport and strengthen the great Western equine tradition.
Overall, he said, “The state’s in good shape.”
There are monies in reserve and he doesn’t want dip into those reserves. However, the state needs to focus on its schools and economic development.
And in the coming year, Richard said, he envisions a focus on something like, “the year of water.”
“We have to find ways to protect ourselves,” he said.
Regarding his re-election campaign, Richardson never mentioned his competitor, Republican John Dendahl.
Richardson just said, “The polls are good.” and “I feel good about the race.”