Roswell farmer Cliff Pirtle, who has expressed his beliefs in the Second Amendment and pro-life during his campaign, says he is seeking election to the state Senate District 32 seat. A Republican, Pirtle will face Roswell Fire Chief Chad Hamill in the primary. If successful, he will then face Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, in November. Jennings currently represents the district.
“New Mexico is going in a direction that I don’t agree with. It’s time for people to stand up, who are small-business men, who believe in freedom and liberty, and who want to see New Mexico go in a direction that promotes those things,“ Pirtle said.
The son of a family who has farmed in the Pecos Valley for more than 100 years, Pirtle is the owner and operator of Pirtle Farms. He is concerned with the overregulations that place burden on small business owners in New Mexico. Pirtle listed the environmental regulations, such as the Pit Rule, which inhibits the work of oil and gas companies, and the restrictions placed on the dairy industry as other examples of overregulation.
Yet Pirtle said he does not believe small businesses, or either of these industries should receive a tax break. “I honestly believe everyone should pay the same percent. When I say everybody I mean everybody,” he said.
In terms of education, Pirtle said he’d like to see more money being spent in the classroom, “not so much tied up in Santa Fe through the Department of Education. Let’s let the local areas educate the local kids. Let the local independent school districts handle some of the day-to-day problems.”
Pirtle backs two of Gov. Susana Martinez’s hot button initiatives: banning social promotion and repealing the current driver’s license law. Of social promotion, Pirtle said, “Teaching every child the same has been proven not (to) work. Some kids develop later.” On the driver’s license issue, Pirtle said he’d be in favor of an immigrant work program. This program would allow immigrants to come to the state for a period of time to work.
“Everybody would know where they are. They would be legal citizens of New Mexico, law abiding people. So you have an idea of who you’re letting in and it’s not just an open floodgate,” he said.
Pirtle addressed the state’s social programs, stating, “We have to find out who is truly in need and who is abusing the system.” He said the state should move toward a staple program to provide government assistance.
“As a local guy I feel I have quite a bit of common sense growing up on a farm and dairy, coming from a small area with a large family,” Pirtle said. “I would be a conservative voice for the area. I know as one person of so many there’s not a lot I will be able to as just one. But I will be able to stand up in front of the Senate and say ‘guys this is a bad idea’ … and really ask the hard questions.”
Pirtle and his wife Aysia have one son, Ezekiel.