An open seat in the New Mexico Legislature is between a Santa Rosa business owner and a former House of Representatives page and Senate employee.
The District 63 seat, currently held by Democrat Joe Campos, is open following Campos’ unsuccessful lieutenant governor bid.
Democrat George Dodge Jr. of Santa Rosa and Republican Melinda Joy Russ of Fort Sumner are vying for the position. Candidates were asked the same questions by Freedom New Mexico.
George Dodge Jr.
What motivated you to run for this position?
I think the biggest thing is my experience in the educational system and my experience in the business world (Dodge currently owns a Dairy Queen restaurant and Comfort Inn hotel in Santa Rosa). The way the economy and the way our education system is, I think I can help, lending my experience in both of these areas.
What are some things you’d like to do in the seat, from what people have told you?
The No. 1 issue I’ve seen are jobs. Everybody’s talking about jobs. I’d like to use my experience in the business world to train people who are out of jobs with our community colleges and universities … whether it’s in the green economy or whatever else that comes.
What’s the biggest development since the primary, as far as an issue you didn’t have to campaign about?
A major thing has not come up, just a lot of little issues; our jobs being No. 1, our education No. 2.
Who are the major donors to your campaign?
Mainly my friends here in Santa Rosa. I’ve had some donors from Clovis. I have some friends in Santa Rosa. (Dodge’s two biggest contributors from his latest campaign filings are Joey and Olga Muniz, Santa Rosa business owners, and Steve and Odelia Tapia, Santa Rosa ranchers. Each gave $1,000.)
Tell us about somebody who was a major influence on your life.
I paid attention a lot to my dad growing up. He passed away in 1979. He was a big influence on my life and he was a good man. He raised a family, worked hard all of his life. He told me to always tell the truth and take care of your family.
What makes you the most qualified for this position?
My experience. I’m a (board of directors) vice president at Farmer’s Electric in Clovis, I’m a chairman of the lodger’s tax board in Santa Rosa. I’m a retired high school principal. I’ve been a businessman for 30 years, except for three years while I was in the classroom. I farm a small bit of land (and own 60 acres of water rights).