Wish new lawmakers best of luck
January 23, 2019
As the New Mexico Legislature ends its first week in session, I am a little disappointed to say I know only one of the legislators for either Quay or Guadalupe counties personally now.
I’ve been doing business in both counties lately in positions where one gets to know state legislators.
I know Dennis Roch, who left the Legislature after last year’s session to focus on family and Logan Municipal Schools, where he is superintendent. It was an interview with Roch that led to my first job in Tucumcari, teaching at Tucumcari High School, 10 years ago.
I have known Roch, and he me, in several different capacities since then.
His successor, Jacky O. Chatfield, I know only from handshakes at community events.
In Santa Rosa, I know George Dodge, a Democratic state representative who lost his seat in the Legislature last year as Republicans in Curry and Roosevelt counties rallied to overcome Dodge’s very strong Democratic majority in Guadalupe County.
I have talked to his successor, Republican Martin Zamora, several times by telephone, and he appeared at a Santa Rosa City Council meeting a couple of weeks ago, but I can’t say I know him well at all.
Dodge is county manager for Guadalupe County and continues to operate businesses in that area.
I have never met Sen. Pete Campos, the Las Vegas Democrat whose district includes all of Guadalupe County and a corner of Quay County that includes Logan and areas immediately northwest of Tucumcari.
That leaves Sen. Pat Woods, the Republican rancher from Broadview, whom I have been privileged to talk to enough that I can say I know him. He recognizes me, at least as a journalist, when he sees me.
I think all of these gentlemen have served conscientiously. Roch and Dodge were rising stars as their legislative careers ended.
Campos is an old Senate hand who has been serving since 1991. He has landed spots on some powerful committees, including Senate Finance Committee, its “Committees’ Committee;” the Legislative Finance Committee, as well as panels on legislative ethics, water and natural resources, and revenue stabilization and tax policy.
He is an advisor to the Legislative Council and the Water and Natural Resource Committee.
This year, Campos pre-filed one bill that would allow Medicaid payments for chiropractic services.
Woods, in his relatively brief career that began in 2012, has been quite active.
He serves on committees dealing with corporations and transportation, conservation, economic and rural development; and transportation and infrastructure revenue. He advises oversight committees on the New Mexico Finance Authority and public school capital outlays.
He has sponsored nine bills either before session began or early in the session. They deal with New Mexico home-grown produce for schools, the New Mexico Works Act, real estate auctioneer licensing, livestock fencing, private construction inspections, wild horses, the beef council, power for electric vehicles and public records request costs and procedures.
I think Chatfield and Zamora will learn from the veteran incumbents, as well as their predecessor, as they begin their legislative careers, and I wish them the best of luck.
Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: