LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Mayor Glen Robertson's State of the City address left some wondering if he is considering challenging Congressman Randy Neugebauer in the March 2016 Republican Primary
On Friday he sat down with KCBD and confirmed that he is doing just that.
Robertson, who was elected Mayor of Lubbock in May 2014, says that "dozens" of people have asked him to consider running for the 19th Congressional District.
"I've been approached by a number of people and I will tell you it's very flattering. When you're approached about that prestigious an office you think about it; it's natural. I haven't made any decisions," Robertson said adding, "My plan today is another term for Mayor."
The mayor failed to mention Lubbock Congressman Randy Neugebauer in his recent state of the city address while commending Midland's Congressman Mike Conaway (CD 11).
When asked about this, the mayor said, "Congressman Neugebauer is not the chairman of the Ag Committee. I was talking about cotton and the future of cotton farming and how that impacts Lubbock. It is such a major part of our economy. Rep Conaway is the chairman of the Ag Committee, that's the reason I brought his name up. Do I wish our congressman was chairman of the Ag Committee? Yes I do."
Robertson said, "I really didn't mean for it to infer anything negative about Randy Neugebauer. Do I wish he was the chairman? I'll repeat, yes I do…Congressman Neugebauer is not the chairman of the Ag Committee so I can't make the same accolades in that regard."
We asked Robertson what he believed the most important issues in the 19th Congressional District were. He was quick to point to agriculture.
"Cotton farming number one. You have to look at agriculture. We're a $3.8 billion industry. We've got a crop now that has no supports other than an insurance program. Farmers cannot continue going forward under the current Ag program. We cannot compete against China. We can't compete against India when we've given them the technology, when they're paying $25 for a bag of seed that our farmers are paying $500 for. We've got major issues we need to address in agriculture. We've got major issues we need to address with water. We've got major issues we need to address concerning immigration."
Robertson points to Lubbock Power and Light, a water plan, the proposed I-27 extension and plans for an outer loop as being major accomplishments of his administration.
"We've got a council that's looking forward. We're not just reacting to problems that happen. We're actually looking forward 20, 30, 50 years. In my opinion, that's good governance," said Robertson.
Robertson's time in office has not been without controversy. Some have criticized his willingness to take city disputes public. We asked Robertson if he would change anything he had done over the last three years. He said he would not.
"Sometimes in this world and particularly in the political environment, you have to get sunshine on what's going on," Robertson said. "Sunshine purifies everything it touches in government."
The mayor declined to criticize Congressman Neugebauer, choosing instead to emphasize what he feels the district should have in a representative.
"We need people in D.C. that are leaders. We don't need somebody that fills a seat and just votes," Robertson said.
Robertson was particularly concerned about leadership in ag policy.
"It takes a different type of person to go up there and actually lead - to bring coalitions together, to work and get a farm bill that doesn't ignore cotton, that doesn't leave cotton completely out of the equation. We've got the cyclical payments for corn, for wheat, for almost every other ground crop that we grow in the U.S. and cotton was left completely out. We've got to have leadership, in my opinion, somebody that can go to D.C. and provide that leadership."
While he would not give a deadline for making a decision on a possible congressional run Robertson said he would make the decision soon, citing "early spring."
"I need to decide probably within the next 60 - 90 days," he said.
Robertson cited a list of issues that he feels must be addressed by Congress.
"We got to look at all factors. The way our world is changing we've got to be looking at national defense every day. We've got to look at immigration. We've got to figure that problem out. It's not a one size fits all and it's not a just shut down the border and be done with it.
"We've got to address the core issues and come up with solutions. We've got to talk about health concerns. We've got to talk about a health care program we've got now that doesn't work, that is bankrupting businesses.
"There are so many other things but we have to remember - that we do live in the cotton patch. That has to be our priority but it can't be our only priority. There are so many things affecting our great nation, our great state, and especially West Texas that I just want to see somebody who's passionate about the area, passionate about the people and passionate about this country."