This year’s legislative session starts Tuesday, Jan. 15, but Rep. Bob Wooley, R-Roswell, has already prefiled a bill to bring the cemetery at Fort Stanton “back to life.”
The cemetery has existed since the 1800s, he said, but it has not been maintained. The bill would ask for funding that would provide for the upkeep and refurbishing of the grounds to make it suitable for military veterans to be buried there.
Wooley, a veteran of the Vietnam War, serves on the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and said he was specifically asked to carry the bill.
He said there is no partisan bias at all on this committee. “We’re there for the veterans,” he said.
This year, he wants other members of the Legislature, on both sides of the aisle, to spend less time fighting and more time serving the public.
“I hope we can come together and get things done this session,” he said.
Last session, a house bill allowing counties to give pay raises to their employees was passed, but was not signed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Wooley said he will re-introduce the bill, which has been slightly modified.
In Chaves County, he said most employees haven’t had a raise in eight years. “That’s not right,” he said. “Those people do a good service for our county.”
Wooley said he also will be supporting legislation toward improving the state’s education system, as far as helping more children learn to read and raising the graduation rate.
He also wants more done to lower the state’s corporate tax rate so that it will be able to compete with other states. New Mexico’s corporate tax rate is more than 7 percent, he said, while other states are at 5 percent or lower.
Wooley also said he wants to help protect natural resources, such as water, and the oil and gas industry, which he called “the lifeblood of our state.”