I want to thank each and every member of the RACHC who came to the March meeting to get to know me. I enjoyed answering your many questions about health care.
It has taken me some time, but I’ve even learned to use your blog in order to continue our dialogue. See, you can teach an old perro new tricks!
I would like to be the one to announce, in response to your request, that the Rio Arriba Board of County Commissioners will be supporting the work of the health council with seed money in the upcoming fiscal year. It won’t replace the zeroing out of health council funding by the Department of Health, but it will enable you to continue the outstanding work you have been doing.
Several nights ago, I had the opportunity to speak to the League of Women Voters in Los Alamos. Many questions were asked about water and the environment. While I did not have the opportunity to speak with the RACHC about Rio Arriba’s water resources, I realize that the issue is important to your membership. I would like to share some of my thoughts with you now.
I initially decided to run for State Senate because, as a five-term commissioner of Rio Arriba County, I grew frustrated by the legislature’s unwillingness to confront monied interests on issues such as hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) that threaten our regional groundwater supply and our pristine wilderness and agricultural lands. Candidate campaign reports for all individuals running for office in our community including my own can be found on the Secretary of State’s website. (You are all excellent researchers and you produce many excellent reports comparing the quality of services in Rio Arriba with those in other counties. I encourage you to critically examine the finances of those who seek to represent you as well.)
Don’t get me wrong! I am in favor of economic development. I will do whatever I can to promote our regional economy, but not at the expense of our most valuable resource: water.
The gas and oil industry attempted to drill in Rio Arriba’s pristine and important watersheds that produce much of the potable water flowing through the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, and to frak in our county in order to extract even larger amounts of oil and gas. My colleagues and I on the Board of County Commissioners immediately imposed a moratorium on drilling, and subsequently developed a gas and oil ordinance allowing for drilling under strict conditions, prohibiting fracking in Rio Arriba, and prohibiting drilling in environmentally sensitive locations.
I have championed efforts to protect the quality of life of northern New Mexico residents by sponsoring and approving ordinances on such topics as prohibitions against clear-cutting, as well as ordinances that address cell tower proliferation, mining and billboards.