Land commissioner candidate would advocate for farm, oil industries

PNT staff

PNT staff

A Roosevelt County farmer and rancher is running for state land commissioner.

Matt Rush, who raises beef and wheat, is one of two Republican candidates in the upcoming primary elections. He said he was planning to run for state representative, but a group of Clovis businessmen asked him to become a candidate for land commissioner.

At first, Rush declined, he said. But after talking to people around the state and praying, he decided the land commissioner position was a better fit for him.

“And it’s something I’m much more passionate about because it involves the industry that I know and love,” he said.

The land commissioner works with farmers and ranches leasing state land and oil and gas companies leasing state mineral rights. The money the state Land Office raises goes into an account that primarily supports education.

Rush said he understands the agriculture industry since his family has farmed and ranched for eight generations, and he knows the oil and gas industry is the state’s “financial backbone.”

“More importantly, I understand that the oil and gas and farm and ranch are the two largest industries in this state, and we’re on the verge of being regulated out of business,” he said.

If elected, Rush wants to act as an advocate for those industries, as well as supporting education. He also plans to decrease regulatory fees for business to keep them from going to other states.

“We’ve got to get rid of some of the red tape in this state and become more business-friendly,” Rush continued.

Also, he said if he were elected, he would look for areas where the Land Office could bring in more money, including possible alternative energy plans on state land.

Finally, Rush said he would strive to run the Land Office on a flat budget, as has happened for the past eight years.