Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Former Sen. Harden to lobby for county

The $7,500 deal was struck with a 2-1 vote from the commission.

 

January 11, 2017



By Steve Hansen

QCS correspondent

The Quay County Commission on Monday voted 2-1 to contract with former New Mexico Sen. Clint Harden of Clovis to work as a lobbyist in the New Mexico Legislature on the county’s behalf.

Commissioners Mike Cherry and Franklin McCasland voted in favor of the contract, and Commissioner Sue Dowell voted against the measure.

Dowell said the county’s state legislative representatives — Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan and Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview — already advocate effectively for the county, along with the New Mexico Association of Counties, which has two state legislative lobbyists on staff.

Harden will be paid a total of $7,500 for his lobbying services for the upcoming legislative session.

While Harden said he would “do what the county asks me to do,” he expects the county will benefit from his service in efforts to avoid cuts in small-county assistance funds — funds that reimburse counties for lost revenue resulting from terminating food taxes and funds that pay for 911 emergency telephone equipment in counties.

Harden said state legislators are likely to seek to relieve some of the state’s continuing budget shortfalls by reducing state funding of these and other local and county projects.

Quay County commissioners agreed.

The New Mexico legislative session opens Jan. 17 and will be “one of the most tumultuous on record,” Harden said, with the state’s budget in crisis mode and clashes between the Democrat-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Under these conditions, he said, counties, especially ones with small populations, such as like Quay County, can benefit from additional help.

Woods agreed.

A lobbyist, he said, can help legislators from rural, open-space counties like the ones he represents, educate representatives of more urbanized areas about rural issues.

Good lobbyists, he said, “are educators. They generally know the facts that can help you in an argument.”

Harden, he said, “is good at that. He knows all the players.”

Roch was not immediately available for comment.

 
 

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