City officials lobby for funds to legislature

Tony Parra

Roosevelt County and the Portales City Council may have two different ways of lobbying to the state legislature but one aspect remains the same: representation at the New Mexico state legislature.
The city is represented by its city councilors and Mayor Orlando Ortega in the lobbying process.
They are vital in bringing in money to the city for different aspects, varying from road repairs to city projects. Lobbyists work with Sen. Stuart Ingle and Jose Campos, Earlene Roberts and Brian Moore from the state House of Representatives.
“Sen. Stuart Ingle mentored me through the legislature process, particularly in the way the capital outlay works. ” Mike Miller, city councilor and Roosevelt County lobbyist, said. “The job of a lobbyist is to help educate and inform legislators on the particular of the issues.”
Miller went on to say that in the process of the state legislature many bills are presented before committees. He said that legislative analysts review the bills and interpret what happens if the bill passes and what happens if the bill doesn’t pass.
“A lobbyist must help in the understanding of the bills to the committees,” Miller said. “We help our representatives make informative decisions. It never hurts to have a representative tracking your position.”
Roosevelt County contracts a pair of lobbyists. Roosevelt County contracted Miller and David Sanders of Arch, a move which has paid dividends for Roosevelt County.
“We don’t formally hire lobbyists,” Joan Martinez-Terry, city clerk, said. “We have our city council representatives and the mayor lobby for the city.”
The Roosevelt County commission raised $153,750 two years ago and that number rose to $310,000 in 2003 during Miller and Sanders’ stints.
Miller stated that he had been a fire chief for nine years and a county manager for six years. Miller said that being a lobbyist doesn’t conflict with being a city councilor since both the city and the county are trying to accomplish the same goal.
“I’ll lobby to the best of my abilities for the county,” Miller said. “I’m there to assist our representatives in any way I can. I don’t want there to be any controversy. I hope to represent the county and resolve any problems they might have. I think I can do that and fulfill my responsibilities as a city councilor or else I wouldn’t be doing it (county lobbyist).”