Los Alamos County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers today announced his candidacy for New Mexico’s House of Representatives District 43.
“I’m a pragmatic, problem solving elected official with a proven track record of reaching across the aisle,” Rodgers said during an interview with the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Rodgers, 52, is in his second term on the Los Alamos County Council. He served 2001 to 2004, was elected again in November 2010 and last month his peers elected him to a second consecutive term as chair. His term on council ends Dec. 31.
“I have lived here for more than 17 years, am vested here, and am raising my family here. I also am a small business owner here. This is home,” Rodgers said. “While I love the natural beauty of this state, its people and culture, I am very concerned about its future. Lately, it’s become chic to say things like ‘Thank God for Mississippi.’ I don’t think it’s funny, and I am sure the good people of Mississippi don’t find it funny either. Struggling with failing education systems, poverty rates exceeding 20 percent is not a joke.”
Rodgers said that as a state, New Mexico is on the wrong end of just about every list that matters. Education results, economic recovery, poverty, drug issues, and last on the list of child well-being, “just to name the obvious.”
“I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do know that more of the same will produce more of the same,” he said. “However, I am hopeful for the future. We have challenges, but we also have the ability to meet them. Right here we have a world renowned laboratory. As a state we are blessed with natural resources. We have human resources. Drawing arbitrary lines in the sand because of politics and voting for special interest will not capitalize on those resources. It is using our voice in the legislature for someone else’s ends. I have a proven record of voting my conscience on council and an equally long record of seeking solutions across party lines.”
Rodgers has been the Los Alamos representative on the board of the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) for the last two years, serving as the secretary/treasurer. He pointed to the success of the NCRTD “as a real model of solving problems together.”
“In a combined effort by four counties, two cities, one town and six pueblos, we started from scratch a regional transportation system that now serves more than 10,000 square miles from Questa in the north to Edgewood in the south. Making it easier to live and work here,” Rodgers said. “Ridership on the Blue Buses has increased year over year for the last four years. The last audit showed no new findings and the resolution of all but one past finding.” (Click here for audit.) If this type of cooperation can work regionally, it can also work state wide.”
Having served a combined seven years on the county council, three of them as chair, Rodgers explained that he has a deep knowledge of the issues that impact the community and the district.
“My first term spanned the re-building after the Cerro Grande Fire when some of our neighborhoods were charred ruins. My current term spans the Las Conchas Fire and having to navigate the deep reductions in county revenue caused by the recession,” he said. “I also spent 12 years as the transportation director for Los Alamos Public Schools. That job took me into every neighborhood and school. I found myself dealing with many issues that impacted families that one would never think of when you think of school buses. That experience taught me how to be a better public servant. In order to achieve this, we need to reach across the aisle. That means disagreeing with your own party at times. It’s called functional government.”
In 2008, Rodgers and his wife of 18 years, Marla, decided that he would leave his job with the schools and become a work from home dad to their sons Garrett, now 14, and Jason, now 5.
Rodgers served more than five years active duty with the U.S. Army and eight years in the Reserves as a helicopter pilot. His career as a pilot included serving with the Florida Division of Forestry and Collier County Emergency Medical Services. He also flew the WGN traffic copter in Chicago. Rodgers received his BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago.
Rodgers and his family live in White Rock with their 16-year-old dog Rio.
“After living in many different settings and places, Los Alamos is home,” Rodgers said. “I first visited New Mexico in the mid 70’s as a teen when I hiked the wilderness trails of Philmont Scout Ranch. I was captured by the beauty of Northern New Mexico and don’t believe it is an accident that I eventually wound up calling it home.”
Editor’s note: Rodgers is a Republican and if successful in the June 3 Primary Election, will run against Democrat incumbent Stephanie Garcia Richard in the Nov. 4 General Election.