Lifelong rancher plans to focus on education if elected to Legislature

By David Arkin: CNJ correspondent

A lifelong San Jon rancher seeking a seat in the state Senate has some definite ideas on how to improve New Mexico’s educational system.

Democrat Bob Frost, 61, is facing Fred Sparks, D-Raton, in the June 1 primary for the Democrat nod for Senate District 7. Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis, currently holds the seat.

Frost, who has spent a good deal of his life working at Caprock Creek Ranch, located just south of San Jon, believes the state needs a tracking system that would allow officials to know what youths do after they graduate from high school.

“When people graduate from high school down here we don’t know what kind of jobs they are taking when they are leaving,” he said. “We don’t know what happens to them. I would like to see something that tells us what these kids actually are doing.”

Frost, a member of the San Jon School Board, said a tracking system would help officials decide if they need to adjust their programs.

“Maybe we would need to change the way we do our vocational department after looking at the numbers,” he said.

Frost is also interested in the state’s economic development.

“There isn’t a community anywhere that couldn’t use some sort of economic development,” he said.

Frost said the east side of the state needs a packing plant.

“There are a lot of small communities that could use a packing plant,” he said. “The east side is the agriculture part of the state. Up around Clayton there are several feed lots and I would like to see a packing plant in that area.”

Getting things like a packing plant or a new education tracking system implemented would take a lot of work in Santa Fe. But Frost said he believes he’s prepared.

When Frost served as the vice president and then president of the New Mexico Cattlegrowers Association he did a lot of lobbying in Santa Fe.

“When I was lobbying for the association I got hooked on politics,” he said. “I have made it a point to get up there every year since I stopped serving. I spent a lot of time up there. I guess it kind of got in my blood. I’ve thought about running several times, but this just seemed like the opportune time.”

While Frost may have some experience in Santa Fe’s lobbying circles, he doesn’t pretend to know how everything works in the Roundhouse.

“I would have a lot to learn up there,” he said. “But it won’t all be new to me.”

Frost’s ability to communicate with people and his business knowledge would help him be a successful Senator, he said.

“I think I have the experience in public affairs and business that would work for this position,” he said. “I think one of my strong suits is being able to listen and I hope that I can listen to everybody. My phone will be open. If someone has something they need to talk about or if there is some way that I can help, I will do it.”

Those who have worked with Frost say he is willing to hear people out, which is a quality that San Jon Schools Superintendent Joel Henry said makes Frost a good candidate for the Senate.

“Mr. Frost looks at all sides of the issue,” Henry said. “He is thoughtful in what he says and he allows me to do my job. He gives me good input, but accepts my decisions. He would be an outstanding senator because he knows how to listen. That’s the most important thing about him is that he listens to people.”

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On Frost
Who: Bob Frost
Age: 61
Occupation: Rancher
Service: Vice president, president New Mexico Cattlegrowers Association, San Jon School Board member and New Mexico State Fair Commissioner.
Recognition: With his wife Jane, named 2002 Cattlemen of the Year.