Logging, parks, greenhouses, and apprenticeships
by Sherry Goodyear
SPRINGER — During their August 22nd meeting, the Springer Chamber was pleased to welcome New Mexico’s Republican candidate for Governor, Steve Pearce, for an impromptu visit. During a Q and A session, Pearce answered questions and shared some of his ideas for growing the economy of the area.
According to Pearce, some of the most pressing issues affecting the area include the necessity of creating more, and better paying jobs, and the need to fight poverty, drug addiction and resulting crime. Pearce said that at the moment, he is, “heart-broken at where New Mexico is.”
Pearce’s ideas for boosting the economy include reinstating logging, as a way to create jobs and also protect the environment. He says not clearing forests set the stage for the rash of forest fires and resulting floods New Mexico has been plagued with in recent years.
Pearce also plans to promote ways to increase travel and tourism such as creating four-wheeler parks and hiking trails. Pearce says we will fix New Mexico, “one home run at a time,” and there is no simple fix to the problems New Mexico faces.
Pearce says, “Economic development is key” to fixing what ails New Mexico. He visualizes northern New Mexico producing its own food by utilizing greenhouses equipped with aquaponics as a way to keep local residents in fresh produce. Ultimately he would like to see ten to fifteen greenhouses open per community, and facilitate those joining together into a food cooperative that can transport the surplus to other folks who need it. He wants to start by getting the fresh produce into our local schools, senior centers, and long-term care facilities before branching out further.
When Pearce was asked what he would do about the current issues facing Luna Community College, he admitted that while he was not aware of the exact issues facing the college, it appeared to be suffering from unproductivity and mismanagement – both of which are things that can be fixed. He added that the institution is, “too valuable to the area” not to be fixed and retained.
Pearce also wants to incorporate apprenticeship programs for prisoners at the Springer Correctional Facility to give prisoners a skill and to help create affordable housing in Springer for the staff. He said simply, “If you work at the Springer prison, you need to live in Springer.” Additionally, Pearce wants to incorporate apprenticeships for high school kids as well, so they are learning usable skills they can apply to life after graduation.
All in all, the visit with Pearce was productive and informative. Pearce ended by saying, “My objective is to make your lives work out here.” He added that he thinks northern New Mexico is beautiful but jokingly added that no one should tell his kids; otherwise, they would want to be moving here.