Officials: Governor’s criticism won’t hurt Cannon mission

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Gov. Bill Richardson’s weekend criticism of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will not scar the search for a new mission at Cannon Air Force Base, according to staunch Cannon advocate and Clovis banker Randy Harris.

Richardson, interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said there is “deep frustration” within the military, “the Iraqi war has been mismanaged” and Rumsfeld should “step aside,” according to a “Face the Nation” transcript posted on the CBS Web site (

Rumsfeld will ultimately decide the fate of Cannon, according to the decrees of a federal commission that urged the Defense Department to find a new mission for Cannon or close it by 2010.

Harris said he’s confident Richardson’s comments aired Sunday will not be a factor when Cannon’s future is decided.

“I have full confidence in Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to make a decision (about Cannon) based on what is best for the men and women of the armed services, based on what their needs are,” Harris said.

“(The show) is a non-event. (Richardson) expressed his opinion… like all people express their opinions, but I don’t think it has any bearing (on Cannon) at all.”

Harris said he regards Richardson as an integral supporter of Cannon — in the past during the Base Realignment and Closure process, in the present, and in the future.

“The governor was with us all during BRAC. … He committed $5 million to expand Cannon Air Force Base, just at the request of the leadership of Clovis and Portales,” Harris said.

Efforts to reach Richardson on Tuesday were unsuccessful. His media representatives did not return telephone calls from the Clovis News Journal.