Army vet set on boosting business, adding jobs
Husband, father, Army helicopter pilot, small business owner and Los Alamos native. Republican Geoff Rodgers says those roles shape his core values in the race he’s running against Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard for House District 43.
Rodgers, the chair of Los Alamos County Council, is an Army veteran who spent 5 and a half years on active duty in Germany, flying helicopters with a NATO attachment. He also served 8 years as an Army reservist, also as a helicopter pilot.
Serving in the Army and holding a political office are similar, he said. According to him, the Army “doesn’t want cowboys in the cockpit” because it would rather have level-headed critical thinkers.
“An elected official should make the most of the tools and resources available,” he said. “That training has just stuck with me, whether it was politics or supervisory positions.”
Rodgers, who served on the council from 2001 to 2004, and again since 2010, finds himself squaring off in a northern New Mexico race that’s being watched closely by people on both sides of the aisle.
The Democratic Party has held the majority in the state House since 1954. This year, the Republicans are looking to change the 60-year run by the Democrats, and one place party officials say that might happen is in HD 43.
Rodgers is self-employed. He bought some land in the 1990s, which led to establishing a small property management business for him and his family.
Attracting business and job creation are central to Rodgers’ campaign. “What has been missing from New Mexico, and has been for decades, is a Legislature that clearly understands it is the private sector and private investments that make jobs,” he said. “That is the focus.”
Rodgers said he believes an increase in the quality of life in New Mexico will expand to attracting new businesses. He said that companies wanting to move to New Mexico ask themselves “can we move families here? Can we move our executives here? And if we do, what kind of quality of life will they have?” According to Rodgers, “the state of New Mexico does not compete well.”
Calvin McHill recently moved to Los Alamos to work as a researcher within the psychological field.
“I moved here from a big city. Life is so different,” he said. “I can’t believe how little this place has to offer compared to where I’m from.”
Along with a weak economy in New Mexico, Rodgers says he is also concerned about the quality of education in the state. He said the state can’t and shouldn’t settle for not being able to compete in educational results. “We need to treat our teachers and pay our teachers like the professionals they are,” he said.
Place in politics
Rodgers said he is not a fan of big money in politics. He said his plan ahead of the Nov. 4 election is “to go door to door, talking to people and keeping the campaign small,” much like his business.
So far, Rodgers appears to be sticking to that strategy. According to financial reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office, Rodgers has raised $36,348, most of which has come from small donations from people within the Los Alamos community.
In contrast, Garcia Richard has raised almost three times as much, with $124,897 in total donations as of Oct. 8.[/text_output][share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2964″][text_output]
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State representative at a glance
Job: Represent constituents of House District 43 during the legislative session and at interim committee meetings
Incumbent: Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard
Pay: $159 per diem on work days
Term: two years[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]