Candidate Q&As: County commission, District 5 (Republican)

Editor's Note: Clovis Media Inc. contacted Curry County candidates in contested primary races for their stances on issues prior to the June 5 state primary elections.

In District 5 of the Curry County Commission, Tim Ashley, Phillip Joe Borden and Danny Powell are running for the Republican nomination for the four-year commissioner term.

The winner of the Republican primary will move on to the general election to face Paul D. Barnes, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Candidates were asked the same questions, and asked to keep responses to 150 words each.

Tim Ashley

Age: 48

Occupation: Concrete company owner.

What is your primary reason for running?

A solid community increases tangible and intrinsic values for those living in it. Studies show a strong community reduces crime. I am seeking office because I care about my community and I'm confident in my ability to help it become even stronger. The many people who know me well would tell you I'm a fighter for family values, a successful business owner and active in my community. I've made countless friends and business connections as an active member of local organizations including youth sports, faith based groups, political groups and others — all of which helps me know and understand the critical issues unique to our county. I enjoy working to address the various concerns people share with me and believe I can serve the citizens of Curry County well by bringing sound family values, business principles and fervor for responsible government to the table.

What do you bring to the position that is unique?

My particular background, blended with my desire to serve the community, differentiates me from my opponents. Please consider these three attributes:

  • I've been in the Clovis area all my life and have a good working knowledge of the county programs which worked well and of those which didn't work out so well. This knowledge will help me as a commissioner to make better informed decisions.
  • Economists use the construction sector as a primary barometer to advise elected officials. I own and operate a business in the construction industry which gives me first-hand insight into the direction and state of our local economy.
  • I served as a successful County Commissioner from 2001-2008 with two years as the Commission Chairperson. Notable contributions include initiating a Prayer of Invocation, the NM 467 Overpass Project and the Curry County Event Center. I'm ready to serve again.

What does the county commission need to do better?

There are two core areas the county should focus on over the next 12 months: 1) develop and implement a plan-of-action which addresses our county jail situation; and 2) improve operational efficiency through technology.

I believe there is an incredible opportunity to gain operational efficiency at the county level through better use of technology. Examples include helping the county assessor and county clerk's office reduce time intensive and repetitive tasks done manually by their staff to an online service system. Consumers get their information faster and staff can work on higher priority projects. My vision is, "Online, not In Line." Technology can also improve jail efficiency and safety by expediting document transfers between court, jail and the sheriff's office. These are only a few examples of how technology improves efficiency. Considering the safety aspect, customer satisfaction and cost savings modern technology provides, the return on investment is tremendous.

How does the commission need to work to be more responsive to its citizens?

Better technology based systems can improve the way our commission interacts and responds to the citizens. Computers are appliances today, the equivalent of what phones have been for decades, literally and figuratively. Most cell phones are mini-computers and when you look around at the coffee shop or in business meetings, people have their tablets and laptops out. Virtually every business and home has a computer which is "connected." The distribution mechanism is already in place (and it didn't cost the county anything). All the commission has to do is implement a system to offer the information up for consumption.

In the spirit of transparency, we can publish our plans out to the citizens and collect valuable feedback and ideas. I am a believer that group collaboration can solve seemingly impossible problems.

Regarding the Curry County Adult Detention Center, 14 prisoners have escaped the facility since 2002, included convicted child killer Edward Salas, who remains at large. Curry County voters have rejected a pair of ballot questions to fund detention center upgrades. How do you present an adequate improvement to county security that satisfies voter concerns?

There is a real concern of having a dedicated criminal processing and holding station in a public area where our families go to visit and shop. This is one of several concerns which led voters to reject the detention center bond issue. Instead of allocating funds to Band-Aid our existing building and jail system, let's work on implementing a new, more efficient criminal processing and holding station in a remote location.

Not only does this address public safety concerns, we reduce overall operation costs through the use of better construction and monitoring technology. It's important to note the cost of renovating our current jail rivals that of building a new one without recognizing the long term benefits of reduced operational costs. Further, we have a valid opportunity to collaborate with neighboring counties to make this a regional effort. It's more cost effective to build one large facility and share vs. each county operating its own facility. This also includes further study into the privatization of jail operations in either scenario.

Detention center aside, what is the top priority for the commission for the upcoming term?

There are fewer issues more important than establishing a sustainable water resource. We have a good start but need to continually review and improve ways to ensure our Ute project is completed. I have eight years of experience working on this issue through the Ute Water Commission and the Rural Water Authority. This gives me corporate knowledge of this pressing issue and helps me to make sound decisions. Please visit www.timlashley.com for more information.

Phillip Joe Borden

Age: 50

Occupation: Cattle buyer

What is your primary reason for running?

To make Curry County the best it can be.

What do you bring to the position that is unique?

Many years of experience on boards and committees.

What does the county commission need to do better?

Be more unified and cohesive.

How does the commission need to work to be more responsive to its citizens?

Be more accessible and visible.

Regarding the Curry County Adult Detention Center, 14 prisoners have escaped the facility since 2002, included convicted child killer Edward Salas, who remains at large. Curry County voters have rejected a pair of ballot questions to fund detention center upgrades. How do you present an adequate improvement to county security that satisfies voter concerns?

Significant improvements have been made. Bottom line, the detention center is not a maximum security facility, and that seems to be where we are having the most problems.

Detention center aside, what is the top priority for the commission for the upcoming term?

Promote our county to bring in more business.

Danny Powell

Age: 44

Occupation: Manager, BP Pump

What is your primary reason for running?

Instead of sitting on the sidelines I've decided to throw my hat in the ring and work to make a difference for my county.

What do you bring to the position that is unique?

I have managed a large company and supervised more than 150 people. That strong managerial background offers me the experience needed to lead in Curry County.

What does the county commission need to do better?

This one is obvious. The county commission needs to communicate with constituents. The commission needs to be open with the people of Curry County and let them know what is happening — both the good and the bad.

How does the commission need to work to be responsive to its citizens?

The commission could start by being more accessible. A great first step would be to broadcast their meetings, like the city commission does, on SuddenLink. This would offer people the opportunity to tune in and be aware of the issues currently being discussed, and make the commission more visible and accessible.

Regarding the Curry County Adult Detention Center, 14 prisoners have escaped the facility sine 2002, including convicted child killer Edward Salas, who remains at large. Curry County voters have rejected a pair of ballot questions to fund detention center upgrades. How do you present and adequate improvement to county security that satisfies voter concerns?

Concerning the facility itself, if we are presented with more sound reasons and specific needs for jail upgrades with full disclosure on costs, the voters would be more favorable. Overall the facility is inadequate for what it's being asked to do and improvements need to be made.

Detention center aside, what is the top priority for the commission for the upcoming term?

The commission's priority for the upcoming year is water and to ensure water for future generations.

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