Rep Roch: H.B. 39 ‘disastrous’

Thomas Garcia

A bill that proposes splitting Quay County into four legislative districts now awaits the Gov. Susan Martinez’s final decision.

H.B. 39 passed through the House and Senate before the special legislative session ended last weekend despite bipartisan opposition. It would split Tucumcari’s representation into legislative Districts 63, 67, 68 and 70.

By Tues-day, Martinez has not signed nor vetoed H.B. 39, according to officials in the Governor’s office.

Rep. Dennis Roch said H.B. 39 was introduced by Rep. Mary Helen Garcia during a the session.

“This would be disastrous for the representation of Quay Union and Harding counties interest in the legislature,” Roch said.

The bill if passed would split Roch’s District 67 with District 63, Rep. George Dodge, District 68, Rep. Thomas A. Garcia and District 70, Rep. Richard D Vigil.

Roch would continue to represent Quay County precincts 2, 3 and 4 — Forrest, San Jon and Nara Visa, extending south to Hobbs.

Dodge would represent Quay County precincts 1, 7, 9 and 11; Garcia would represent Quay County precincts 5, 6, 8 and 10; and Vigil would represent Quay County Precinct 12.

Under H.B. 39 Tucumcari’s school district and Mesalands Community College would fall in to Santa Rosa’s district and the proposed Racino location would fall into Raton/Colfax County’s district.

Roch said this is being done because the population numbers in those districts has fallen 15 percent. He said in the past, the 70 legislative district have had a population base of 29,000.

“The population growth has been concentrated in the west side of the state,” Roch said. “Tucumcari is basically being carved up to pad the population numbers for the representatives in those three districts where population has dropped.”

Roch said he has shown high opposition to H.B. 39 in the House and Senate committees where the bill was being heard.

“I have had the pleasure of representing these county’s residents for the past three and a half years,” Roch said. “I would hate to see Tucumcari divided up for the sake of population numbers and effectively diminishing their chances for proper representation.”