The following is one of a series of profiles on state candidates who visit the Clovis-Portales area:
Jim Baca is campaigning for the Democratic ticket position of State Commissioner of Public Lands against Ray Powell. The office is currently held by Patrick Lyons, R-Cuervo.
Baca held the office from 1983 to 1986 and from 1991 to 1993. He served as director of the National Bureau of Land Management during the first Clinton administration, as a New Mexico Natural Resource Trustee, and as mayor of Albuquerque.
Q: What is your stance on open government?
A: As a former journalist, I absolutely agree with open government. I’ve always felt that if you do everything right, you have nothing to worry about.
Q: What is the top priority of your campaign?
A: My top priorities are our mountains, water sheds, rivers and streams. We have to protect them, for the future generations of New Mexico. We need to make amendments to the permanent protections that exist under current laws and we need to work with cities and counties to promote open spaces. We also need to create a oversight board. ‘Save the enchantment,’ I really believe in that. We need to be aggressive on developing alternate energy sources and make sure that we are getting fair market returns on the resources we do sell.
Q: Dairies and agriculture are a large part of life for people in our area of eastern New Mexico. What role would you play in that?
A: We already lease public lands for agriculture and grazing, which in turn supports dairies and croplands. Dairies are a large part of the economy. We need to make sure they do things right but stay in business.
— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson