Published: 1:11 am, Sun. Mar. 6th, 2016
With his intent to seek reelection as state representative for District 54 officially announced last week, Rep. James “Jim” G. Townsend, R-Artesia, is ready to continue his work on behalf of Eddy, Chaves and Otero counties following the most recent legislative session.
One issue Townsend feels passionately about is the quality of roads in the area due to the heavy traffic from oilfield companies and the fact funds provided by the state are being directed elsewhere.
“We are in desperate need of maintaining and fixing roads that have been burdened by heavy traffic from the last two or three years,” said Townsend. “The oil and gas provides a severance tax that funds Santa Fe more than anyone else.
“Albuquerque, for example, feels that county roads are not a high priority; they’re more interested in interstates and bridges, since there are a lot of people in a smaller area.”
During the 2016 session, all three of Townsend’s desired capital outlay projects – new fire alarms for five public schools in Artesia, a water infrastructure system in Cloudcroft, and a mental health facility in Carlsbad – were granted funding.
“The village of Cloudcroft was in desperate need of water infrastructure, the Carlsbad mental health facility was desperately needed and has been sorely missed, and the fire alarms needed to be replaced,” said Townsend. “These are good projects, too, because you can do pieces at a time as opposed to putting money into something that won’t last long, like computers, for example.”
Townsend says his three primary concerns during the interim will pertain to education, water and radioactive materials. He holds various positions on the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials, Legislative Education Study, and Water and Natural Resources committees between legislative sessions.
“Waste is sitting around in warehouses above ground, and there’s no other place to put it other than the salt caverns at WIPP,” said Townsend. “I’ll continue to help the WIPP site get back in service in any way I can.”
The representative also feels addressing education in the state is extremely important for local youth so they can be productive members of society.
“We have one of the highest dropout rates in the nation; New Mexico desperately needs to do something to get our kids better educated, graduated, and into the workplace,” said Townsend. “Our education system has been lacking for years, for decades, and we’ve just started making big strides to change it.
“It’s a passion that I have to make kids better employees and employers; our kids deserve better.”
As for his reelection campaign, Townsend says he hopes to continue to represent the constituents of District 54 fairly and equitably.
“District 54 is populated with hardworking people operating diverse industries including oil and gas, agriculture, mining, dairy, and tourism,” said Townsend. “I believe that, with my demonstrated experience in business, I can represent all of the constituents in this district in a meaningful way.”
For more information on Townsend’s reelection campaign, visit jimtownsendnm.com.