Tim Jennings sits in on the SNMEDD board of directors’ 42nd annual meeting at ENMU-R, Friday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
During its 42nd annual board of directors meeting Friday, the Southeastern New Mexico Economic Development District/Council of Governments honored former senator Tim Jennings for the help he provided the region throughout his legislative career.
The organization, which serves Chaves, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln and Otero counties, assists municipalities in business and economic development, grant writing and legislative initiatives, among other issues.
Executive Director Hubert Quintana said the SNMEDD wanted to commend Jennings and recently retired Sen. Jeff Bingaman because both had done so much for the counties during their more than 30 years in office, establishing a “tremendous relationship” with the organization, as well.
“We just felt that it was appropriate after so many years of their service to us that we say, ‘Thank you,’” Quintana said.
Quintana, on behalf of the organization, presented Jennings with a plaque in recognition of his “vision, fair-handedness and help” throughout the years. Bingaman, who was unable to attend the meeting, will receive his plaque at a later date.
Several members of the council, which included elected officials and representatives from the five counties, also thanked Jennings for his open nature and willingness to help those in need.
Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, said she appreciated all he had done as a legislator and for the respect he gave and received from both sides of the aisle, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“Even though he and I did not agree on everything … he was my ally when we were working in Santa Fe,” she said. “Tim, I am truly going to miss you.”
Dick Taylor said that during his eight years as a Chaves County commissioner, both Jennings and Ezzell “were the people we could go to, to get something done.” He also presented Jennings with a plaque on behalf of Chaves County.
Jennings received two standing ovations during the meeting. He said the SNMEDD was a fantastic organization because it allows collaboration and discussion among the municipalities and their officials.
The biggest problem in Washington, D.C., he said, is that legislators don’t take the time to get to know each other. Politics is a “funny animal,” he said, but “government’s not about politics.”
“Don’t get blinded by the party,” he said. “Everybody’s got to have an opportunity because that’s what our government’s about.”