Candidate profile: Robert Lopez

Editor's note: The following candidates are running for the four-year term of county commissioner for District 1. Candidates for the seat include incumbent Robert Lopez and Sue Dowell.

Candidates were asked the same questions and asked to keep their responses to 100 words or less.

The primary election is June 5. Absentee and early voting runs through June 2.

Robert Lopez

Age: 48

Occupation: Farmer

Robert Lopez

Please list previous or current elected offices or other organizations you feel prepare you for a commission seat: I am currently a Quay County comm-issioner and have served proudly for the past seven years. I have served as the president of the New Mexico State University Agriculture Science Center Advisory Board for 10 years. I have been a 4-H leader in Quay County. I am the owner/operator of R&P Farms, a family-owned business in Quay County.

What are your goals if you are elected and how do you plan to implement them?

With agriculture and ranching prime assets in Quay County, I would like to continue exploring funding options to better provide for the Quay County Extension Office and the 4-H programs. We were able to obtain a new facility for the Extension Office and they now reside in the Terry Turner Building. Along with recent upgrades to the exhibit center and fairgrounds, these and other programs alike are vital to the future of our Quay County youth.

What is something the county commission has done well over the last four years?

Despite numerous unfunded federal and state mandates, we have continued to upgrade and maintain Quay County facilities and equipment. The courthouse is dated and continues to need constant repairs from water, electrical and gas lines to the roof, elevator and cosmetic repairs. We have managed the budget so closely and frugally that we have increased cash reserves and still provided for our employees and the citizens of Quay County. New Mexico as a whole has taken a severe hit due to the drought and economic depression. I am proud that Quay County government has held their own and continues to thrive.

What is something the county commission has not done well? How do you intend to correct that if elected?

Not that it is necessarily the fault of the commission, but we still struggle to communicate and involve our public so they are informed better of our business at hand. This year the county is having commission meetings in all entities in the county, including Nara Visa, in an effort to allow citizens in the rural areas to attend our meetings and voice their concerns. This is a valiant effort on the part of the commission and I feel the communities are encouraged by our efforts. I look forward to continuing to provide this service to our residents.

What do you feel the commission needs to focus on as a whole?

Water is our most important and precious commodity in Quay County. We need to continue working to preserve and protect our water at Ute Lake for future developments and recreation. Economic development is a must for Quay County. I look forward to seeing several economic development projects blossom and become reality. I will continue supporting the development of the race track and casino and also promote Ute Lake Ranch/Twelve Shores Resort as well as all future economic development projects that will promote and bring employment opportunities to our County.

What do you feel the commission needs to focus on in your district?

Even though I reside in County Commission District 1, I will be elected by and represent the entire population of Quay County equally and impartially. Quay County must continue to maintain and upgrade facilities and county roads in accordance with state statutes.

Last year was a difficult year due to the drought for our volunteer fire departments. I will continue to work with the fire departments to make sure they have the necessary equipment to serve and protect our county.

Last question: 150 words, whatever else you want to say.

Quay County has done a lot of upgrades without going into debt and continuing increasing our cash balances. The elected officials have worked well together to move Quay County forward and I want to continue working with them. These are difficult times with the economy and drought making it hard to continue providing the services Quay County citizens deserves but by working together we can get the job done.

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