Last weekend, New Mexico’s junior Senator, Martin Heinrich, conducted a brief three-city tour of Southeast New Mexico as part of his re-election campaign. He visited Carlsbad, Roswell, and Ruidoso.
But Mr. Heinrich’s tour was more notable for what he didn’t do and say than what he did. To begin, he didn’t meet with all New Mexicans – he met only with registered Democrats.
Why would he meet only Democrats? He does not have a Democratic primary opponent. Why not hold town hall meetings open to everyone, as does U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce?
While Mr. Heinrich was meeting solely with Democrats, I attended a bipartisan business meeting in Roswell on Friday, and on Saturday morning met with a group of hard working New Mexicans in Albuquerque who happen to be Democrats.
What did Mr. Heinrich discuss? His opposition to Republican attempts to improve health care, and our state legislature’s failure on early childhood education.
Mr. Heinrich has done nothing to fix his broken promises about the Affordable Health Care Act. He promised New Mexicans that our health care costs would drop, and that if we liked our health care provider, we could keep it. That didn’t happen. Mr. Heinrich was one of the legislators who broke our healthcare system, and he hasn’t lifted a finger to fix it.
As for early childhood education: that is our state legislature and Governor’s responsibility. Instead of blaming others for our problems, here is what Mr. Heinrich should have discussed:
In Carlsbad, he should have addressed the huge sinkhole that threatens a large portion of the city, and could interrupt all truck and passenger traffic in Southeast New Mexico. The sinkhole resulted when federal bureaucrats approved a brine mine in southern Carlsbad. The federal government created the problem and the federal government should fix it.
Speaking of which, the two passenger elevators at Carlsbad Caverns National Park are still not operating. This limits the Caverns’ elevator capacity, which dampens tourism and hurts the local economy. It’s a federal issue with a simple fix (emergency repair funding), but our junior Senator has taken no action.
In Roswell, if Mr. Heinrich had met with Republicans as well as Democrats, he probably would have had to defend the fact that he has upheld burdensome federal regulations on the oil and gas industries, costing jobs in Southeast New Mexico and tax revenue for the state. If Mr. Heinrich wants the keep the burdensome regulations, he should seek federal financial relief for people left unemployed, and for our state schools left underfunded.
Mr. Heinrich’s third stop, Ruidoso, comes close to matching his vision for New Mexico: plenty of restaurant and hotel jobs to host tourists. Unfortunately, those jobs don’t earn enough to support families. New Mexico has the #1 unemployment rate in America and the #2 poverty rate. We need more good-paying jobs in Southeast New Mexico.
My vision for New Mexico? We once again lead America in energy independence, while also treating the environment responsibly. Our federal labs once again guide America’s technology development, leading to a vibrant high tech industry. Our young professionals can find exciting and fulfilling careers right here at home. And New Mexico once again has a U.S. Senator who is more concerned for your job than his own.
Mr. Heinrich’s tour to three Southeast New Mexico cities made headlines in the local papers – proof of how rarely he is seen here. It should be a frequent occurrence for our U.S. Senator to meet with, and hear the concerns of, all hard-working New Mexicans.
New Mexicans deserve a U.S. Senator that will work as hard as they do. That is why I am running for the U.S. Senate.