Denish visits region

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle
New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish tours the Eastern New Mexico Rehabilitative Services Health Center in Clovis with CEO Robert Spencer on Friday.

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish visited Clovis Friday to tour local facilities and meet with Air Force officials.

Denish is seeking re-election in the Nov. 7 general election on the Democratic ticket with Gov. Bill Richardson. They are running against Republicans John Dendahl for governor and Sue Wilson Beffort for lieutenant governor.
Denish began her day at Eastern New Mexico Rehabilitative Services Health Center. She toured the center, which provides rehabilitative services to people with mental and developmental disabilities, and ate lunch with the staff. According to her spokesperson, Chris Cervini, Denish was interested in ENMRSH because she had heard about the programs offered.

Denish said she discussed early childhood development and Richardson’s proposed funding for autism research.

“Early intervention is best for a productive life,” Denish said. “It (ENMRSH) is an impressive place that serves a lot of people, and it has been well managed.”
A driving tour of Cannon Air Force Base followed. According to Cannon public affairs officer Capt. Rebecca Garcia, Denish viewed the F-16s, hangars, housing and various infrastructure throughout the base.

Denish said the main focus of the tour revolved around the new Special Operations mission for Cannon.

“It is going to be a smooth transition,” she said, “and it is on target for 2007.”

The lieutenant governor said she discussed the $5 million the state has allocated for land acquisition at the Melrose Bombing Range and Richardson’s proposed tax cuts for active military personnel.

Denish also attended a community reception at the Clovis Civic Center, where she met with Clovis Mayor David Lansford and Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega.

Lansford said the purpose of the come-and-go event was to thank Denish for her hard work. “I want to express my gratitude to the lieutenant governor specifically for the work she has done to keep Cannon,” Lansford said, “and for the way she conducts herself as lieutenant governor.”

A Hobbs High School graduate, Denish ended her day in the bleachers at Leon Williams Stadium as the Hobbs Eagles battled the Clovis Wildcats.

“I’m going to cheer for my hometown team,” she said, “if they (Wildcat fans) don’t muzzle me.”