Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
A former Chaves County commissioner, state legislator and magistrate judge has decided on his next political goal, announcing his candidacy for the Roswell City Council.
Rancher and farmer Robert B. Corn intends to run for a Ward 4 seat on the city council during the 2022 municipal elections.
He will vie for a position now occupied by independent insurance agent Daniel Lopez, who was appointed in July after George Peterson resigned to accept a position with the city. Lopez, whose term expires March 31, has said that he plans to run for the position as well.
Candidate filing day for the city elections, which include the mayoral office and one seat in all five city council wards, is Jan. 4. Write-ins are allowed to file on Jan. 11. Early and absentee voting starts Feb. 1, and election day is March 1.
Corn, a resident of south Roswell for most of his life, is part of the well-known ranching clan considered among the founding families of the area, as is the current Ward 3 City Councilor Jeanine Corn Best, who is due to serve until 2024.
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Corn said that he would consider it an honor to be on the city’s governing body.
“When I was first elected to the state House of Representatives, I felt it was a true honor to represent the voters who sent me to Santa Fe,” he said. “Today, I would consider it an honor to serve on the Roswell City Council.”
An experienced political officeholder, he said he decided that city councilor, not mayor, is the role he wants.
“The city council is who votes on stuff, so I think it is a better fit for me being there, trying to put things together properly,” Corn said.
He also said that he thinks the city could run more efficiently and would work toward that aim if elected. While he said he wanted to study the issues more, his concerns include fixing city water lines and streets.
“In the county we had a plan where we cycled through all the roads,” he said, adding, “I just think we need another set of eyes looking at these infrastructure problems.”
He also is concerned about lack of significant population growth in the city over the past 40 years.
“That is a difficult problem to recognize and deal with,” he said, “because you have to have jobs, you have to have a nice community, you’ve got to have good schools to get people enticed to come and live in Roswell. I don’t know what all those things are, but I think the economic development group (the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp.) has some really good ideas and I will sit down and go over some ideas with them if I am elected.”
Corn has sparred in the past with Dennis Kintigh, the current mayor who is seeking re-election, over several issues. Most recently, he spoke publicly at a debate against a proposed $35 million bond issue to build a new public safety complex in Roswell, a proposition city voters rejected in March 2020 but that Kintigh and other city leaders supported. Corn had said that the project was too expensive and planned improperly, including lacking a definitive location.
But Corn said he would be able to work with Kintigh if both are elected to four more years in office.
“I have always been able to work with folks, so the answer to that question is, looking forward to that opportunity, whichever way the mayoral election turns out,” he said.
Corn began his eight years in the New Mexico Legislature in 1980, elected four times to the House of Representatives. He served on the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, the House Government and Urban Affairs Committee, the House Rules Committee and the House Voters and Elections Committee, which he chaired in 1986 and 1987.
He then served 15 years as a Chaves County magistrate judge, elected in November 1994.
According to his news release, he was part of the effort to establish video conferencing and video arraignments statewide, which he said “saved New Mexico taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.” He also served with several judicial groups, including as president of the Magistrate and Metro Judges Association for three years.
In 2012, he was elected for his first of two four-year terms to represent District 4 on the Chaves County Board of Commissioners, serving as chairman for three years and as a budget committee member for six years.
Although the city elections are nonpartisan, Corn is well-known as a Republican Party leader for the area and is the immediate past chairman of he Chaves County Republican Party.
Outside of politics, he worked as a customized training coordinator at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell in 1993, designing and marketing training for industry and business. He is a licensed airline transport pilot, a certified flight instructor and a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He has volunteered with the Chaves County chapter of the American Red Cross and served as a CPR instructor. He also is a National Ski Patrol member at Ski Apache.
In addition, he is a lifetime member of the Roswell Chamber of Commerce President’s Club and, in 1988, received a “Guardian of Small Business Award” from the National Federation of Independent Business. He also belongs to the National Rifle Association, the Roswell Rotary Club, the Roswell Elks Club and the Farm Bureau. He attends First United Methodist Church.
Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep up with coverage of this and other elections of local and regional interest, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/elections/.
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