Local state Reps. Phelps Anderson and Greg Nibert, both Republicans from Roswell, each announced Wednesday they will run for re-election in 2020 to their respective seats in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
Anderson, of House District 66, and Nibert, of House District 59, made their announcements while speaking to an audience at the November monthly meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women.
In a prepared written statement distributed before he spoke, Anderson said it was an honor to serve the communities within the district, which include portions of Chaves, Lea and Roosevelt counties.
“I enjoy the work and opportunity to represent our shared hopes for our state and community seeking growth, prosperity and jobs upon which builds a better future,” he said in the statement.
Anderson, who was unopposed last year in his bid for the House District 66 seat, described himself as a “conservative vote in Santa Fe.” He added that rural New Mexico culture and economies are under attack, with the state’s urban areas having an outsized say in decisions.
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Despite a budget surplus largely attributed to increased oil and gas production in southeastern New Mexico, Anderson said in the statement that same region sees little of that money being spent on its needs.
“Santa Fe has long taketh but not giveth back,” Anderson said.
Infrastructure in New Mexico is in dire need of upgrades, especially roads in the southeastern part of the state. Anderson said he believes that public and higher education will also be a continued focus of state lawmakers in the coming 30-day legislative session in January.
A lifelong resident of Roswell, Anderson is president of Sun Valley Energy. He served in the New Mexico House from 1977 to 1981. In 2002, he unsuccessfully ran to be the Republican candidate for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.
Next year, Nibert will be on the ballot as he seeks a third two-year term representing House District 59, which covers northwestern Chaves County and all of Lincoln County outside of Ruidoso. He was elected to the seat in 2016 defeating Democrat Richard Garcia and was re-elected in 2018, fending off a challenge from Libertarian Carl Sweeney.
Nibert is an attorney with the oil and gas department at Hinkle Shanor Law Firm. According to the firm’s website, he has been associated with the firm since 1983 and a partner since 1988.
Nibert, in the past, served as a member of the Roswell Independent School District school board, chair of the Republican Party of Chaves County from 2001 to 2003 and was a member of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners from 2007 to 2015.
Nibert told the audience Wednesday he will need their assistance and votes in 2020.
“It requires a vast number of people to get involved in elections and my election is no different than anyone else’s,” he said.
Kimble Lee Kearns, a Democrat and vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Lincoln County is a member of the Captain Board of Trustees, and in September declared his intention to run for the House District 59 seat.
Nibert in his comments also criticized progressive lawmakers in the Democratic-led Legislature who he said want to change the fabric of New Mexico and the nation.
“They embrace the idea that government should meet every need. Government knows best. Government is the only one capable of making decisions for us, and I don’t believe that,” he said.
The other two members of the New Mexico House representing Chaves County have already said they will seek re-election. In April, state Rep. James Townsend, R-Artesia, said he would run for re-election to his House District 54 seat.
Townsend, who is the top Republican in the House, faces a challenge from Democrat Jennifer Gose of Cloudcroft for the seat that represents portions of Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties.
State Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, said in June that she would run for a ninth term representing House District 58. No one has yet declared their intention to challenge Ezzell in either the primary or general elections.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.