Doc Stewart laughs along with his wife Martha as they listen to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson talk about Stewart’s service to the Clovis community Thursday at the city commission meeting. CNJ photo: Eric Kluth
By Jack King
Gov. Bill Richardson told an audience at Clovis’ City Commission meeting Thursday that when he was a young politician counting his votes he asked political powerhouse Roy Walker whether he was likely to win eastern New Mexico.
According to the governor, Walker replied, “No — but if you get Doc Stewart on your side it’ll be a major event.”
The first third of Thursday’s commission meeting — officially set aside for a proclamation naming today “Doc Stewart Day” — was devoted to anecdotes about and tributes to Clovis’ longtime public figure and mainstay of the city’s support for Cannon Air Force base.
Richardson, who flew in especially for the occasion and brought a state proclamation honoring Stewart, said he felt he would have been “derelict as a governor not to have been here.”
Mayor David Lansford called Stewart “a candle, a light in our community that shows the way in many things, in the way to lead, in the way things should be.”
Richardson joked that the thing most people who know him remember about Stewart is his booming voice and his laugh. City Manager Ray Mondragon remembered that once, when a group of Clovis representatives were standing near a door in the Pentagon behind which a group of generals were holding a closed door meeting, Stewart had laughed and the door had opened. A general stuck his head out and said, “Is that ‘Doc’ Stewart out there?” then invited Stewart inside.
“That’s the impact he has in Washington,” Mondragon said.
Speaking of Stewart’s longtime involvement with Clovis’ Committee of 50, formed to lobby on behalf of Cannon Air Force Base, base commander Col. Randy Yates said other base advocacy groups around the country are each called “the Committee of 50,” because Clovis’ group is so effective.
A number of other dignitaries attended the proclamation ceremony, including Cathy Hardin, wife of State Sen. Clint Hardin, R-Clovis, who was unable to attend, State Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, and State Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales.
“We have people (in Santa Fe) who talk about economic development,” Ingle told Stewart. “If they want to look at something that works, they look at what you did.”
Commissioner Robert Sandoval recalled Stewart’s generous contributions to civic service projects and called him “my hero.” Commissioner Lunell Winton presented a bouquet to Stewart’s wife Martha, who she called “a lady.”
In his acceptance remarks, Stewart thanked Richardson and the City Commission. He thanked his wife, the founders of the Committee of 50 and the group’s current members. He complimented Randy Harris, his colleague on the Washington Committee, which does regularly lobbying work.
He also thanked Margie Tyson, his secretary of 47 years and the members of his men’s Sunday school class at Central Baptist Church.