After an eight-year absence, Republican Richard Taylor hopes to once again get elected to the Chaves County Board of Commissioners this November.
Taylor, who represented District 4 from 2005 to 2013, is running for the same seat this year. Robert Corn, who currently represents that district on the commission is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.
A Roswell resident for the last 50 years, Taylor said he wants to get back on the commission because he cares about the future of the county.
“I live here, I work here and have an appreciation for this area and want it to succeed and grow,” he said.
Taylor said in addition to his time on the commission, he has amassed experience in budgetary issues and finances. That background includes seven years on the Roswell City Council as chairman of the Finance Committee and decades working as a certified public accountant.
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“I think that background is beneficial for me serving on the county commission,” he said.
Taylor said he is proud of many votes and actions he took as a part of the commission. He lists working with the Roswell City Council and surrounding communities to help bring to the Roswell Air Center commercial air services to and from Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth.
“I feel that is one of the big accomplishments we made because the rewards the city has achieved from that have been great,” he said.
Other notable actions that Taylor said he and other commissioners took that helped the county include helping to balance the budget and voting to expand the Chaves County Detention Center.
Taylor said the big county issues he hears talked about are crime and the need for greater economic development. He said the issues are linked. Economic development can provide job opportunities while increasing tax revenue to the county and also help to reduce crime.
“So it is kind of like a triangle,” he said.
One thing that can be done to increase economic development, he said, is continue to develop the Roswell Air Center.
The county is limited in what tax incentives they can offer to businesses, but some actions can be done to entice them to relocate to Roswell, Taylor said.
These can include working with Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell to help provide a trained workforce so young people stay in the area.
He said the county should also listen to the needs of business and economic developers to find out what would benefit them.
One controversial action the Chaves County Commissioners took in November was voting to close the Chaves County Juvenile Detention Center.
County officials said the closure would save the county money at a center that serves an average of about three county youth a day. Youth at the facility have instead been transferred to facilities in other counties.
Officials with the city of Roswell, including Mayor Dennis Kintigh opposed the closure, saying the center is critical to public safety.
Taylor said he thinks the commissioners made the right decision.
He said regional juvenile detention centers make more sense and are something counties should look at.
In regional facilities, various counties and communities would combine their resources to sustain a facility that would hold more inmates, instead of one county having to bear the cost of a facility that holds fewer detainees.
One other component of maintaining the county that can help bolster growth is maintaining infrastructure. One project he would like to see the county get state or federal highway funding for is the expansion of the West bypass from a two-lane to a four-lane highway, with overpasses on Second and Main streets.
Taylor was born in Minneapolis, but moved to California’s San Fernando Valley as a youngster. After attending high school, he earned an associate’s degree in business education from Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills, California.
Following graduation, Pierce served as an airman first class in the U.S. Air Force from 1962 to 1966. After concluding his military service, Taylor attended California State University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
He briefly worked in the home office of a grocery store chain in California, when in 1969 Taylor and his wife Diane first came to Roswell to visit his sister.
“And I said, ‘Gee, Roswell, this is a nice place,’” he said.
When he was visiting Roswell, he met the head of the Roswell Chamber of Commerce and was connected with someone associated with the firm of Bandy, Duncan & Davis.
“We packed up everything in our car and our 1-year-old son and we came here,” Taylor said.
He later became owner and president of that firm, which is now May Taylor and Company.
Taylor and his wife Diane have three grown children and are guardians of two teenagers.
In addition to his service on the City Council and the county commission, Taylor has been active in the community.
Taylor is president of the Board of Trustees of Assurance Home; is a committee member for Boy Scout Troop 149 and is a member of the Board of Directors for Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and is a member of the financial council of St. Peter’s Church.
In the past, Taylor also served on the board of directors for Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and treasurer of the Republican Party of Chaves County for 20 years.
Taylor said when he moved to Roswell in 1969, the population was dropping in the aftermath of the closure of Walker Air Force Base.
He said he admired how, in the years that followed the base closure, community leaders worked diligently to attract people and revitalize the city.
“And little by little, the town started filling up these empty houses and offices, and started expanding,” he said.
That effort though took a great deal of work and dedication, something that he said is still needed today to grow the community.
“You can’t just sit back,” he said.
To keep up with coverage of this and other 2020 elections of local and regional interest, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/elections/.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at email@example.com.