Why the ObamaCare Repeal Didn’t Happen

Mick, Audrey, and Jim Rich at Audrey’s White Coat Ceremony at UNM Medical School.

Congress has adjourned for its traditional August recess after Senate Republicans failed to repeal, revise, or replace the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare). As a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, this news grieved me.

But it did not surprise me. Why not?

Because I am a realist, and it would be unrealistic to expect members of the current Congress to vote for the interests of their country and its hard-working taxpayers above their own careers.

The vast majority of U.S. Senators and Congressmen are career politicians who put political calculation – doing whatever it takes to remain in power – above the demands of leading our nation.

Career politicians contradict my view of public service, which is why I’ve pledged to serve no more than two terms in the U.S. Senate. To quote Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania: “You run to win. But, you win to govern; not to win again next time.”

I believe career politicians also contradict the role of public servants as envisioned by our Founding Fathers, who themselves were businessmen, farmers, soldiers. They required newly elected members of Congress to swear an oath of office. This oath pledges them to support and defend the Constitution – the muscle and bones of our Republic.

So when Senators refuse to repeal or enact a law because they fear it will lead to defeat in their next re-election campaign, they are breaking their oath of office by putting career above country.

A week ago, I attended a different swearing in ceremony – one of great importance to me. It was the White Coat Ceremony for my eldest daughter, Audrey, at UNM Medical School.

A White Coat Ceremony is when medical students pledge their oath to treat and care for their patients and members of their community.

As I stood with my family witnessing Audrey’s next big step into her profession, I thought, “If only members of Congress took their oath of office as seriously as doctors do.”

Could you imagine going to a doctor with the same track record as Congress? You’d better hope you stay in good health.

In construction, we take no oath of office. But we take very seriously our work to construct buildings, because as with medicine, if we fail in our jobs, people could die.

A Congress full of negligent career politicians probably won’t cause the death of our Republic. But it very well may lead to a prolonged decline in our national well-being.

Fortunately, replacing a career politician is fairly easy: you vote him out. Martin Heinrich, whom I intend to replace in the U.S. Senate, is one of the career politicians who created the problem of ObamaCare. He will continue to vote for his own career in the Democratic Party above the needs of the people of New Mexico.

To date, Martin Heinrich has voted with Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer 94 percent of the time. This cannot possibly represent the best interests of New Mexico.

Here’s my oath to you: If you elect me as your Senator, I will uphold my pledge to the Constitution. I will work hard to do what’s best for America and New Mexico. And I will never become a career politician. After two terms in the U.S. Senate, I will come home and hang up my Hard Hat for good.

Heinrich’s Trip to Southeast NM Proves He’s Out of Touch


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.

Associated Builders and Contractors Endorses Mick Rich for U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a national construction industry trade association of 21,000 members, has endorsed Mick Rich for U.S. Senate.

The endorsement includes a campaign contribution from ABC’s political action committee of $5,000, the maximum allowed under Federal Election Commission rules.

“I’m honored to receive ABC’s endorsement,” Mick Rich said. “I know of no other trade association so committed to hard-working Americans.”

At the same time, ABC’s New Mexico chapter endorsed Rich, and ABC New Mexico PAC contributed the maximum allowable $5,400 to his campaign.

“We’re proud of Mick – he represents Hard Hats all across America,” said ABC New Mexico President, Roxanne Rivera-Wiest. “Mick will bring common sense values to Washington, and help get our state back to work with good-paying jobs.”

Rich has been a a member of the New Mexico chapter of ABC for 30 years, and has served on its board of directors. He helped the chapter establish a construction trade apprentice program in Albuquerque to teach young adults carpentry skills.

In the 2016 election cycle, ABC PAC contributed nearly $1.2 million to federal political candidates, 100 percent of which went to Republicans. In addition to financial support of candidates, the PAC exists to educate its members about the importance of political activism.

Rich said that as Senator, his priorities will be to ensure America’s security and to help businesses flourish so they can create more jobs.

In D.C. Speech, Mick Rich Blames Career Politicians For New Mexico’s Problems

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2017 – Addressing a legislative breakfast today for the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) immediately prior to Vice President Mike Pence, Mick Rich, candidate for U.S. Senate, blamed New Mexico’s problems on “politicians who care more about their own careers than doing what’s right for the people who elected them.

“If we keep electing career politicians to represent us, we will never get ahead,” Rich said.

He cited a recent poll showing that 73 percent of New Mexicans believe the state is on the wrong track.

“We need more members of Congress who believe in free enterprise, smaller government, and fewer taxes and regulations. Simply put: Congress needs men and women who are comfortable wearing a hard hat, who find dignity in work,” Rich said.

Rich said that as Senator, his priorities will be to ensure America’s security and to help businesses flourish so they can create more jobs.

“Business, not government, moves this country forward,” Rich said, pointing to his work with ABC’s New Mexico chapter to establish a construction trade apprentice program. Rich has been a member of ABC New Mexico for three decades, and has served on its board of directors.

“For hard-working taxpayers who want America to succeed: I will be your voice in Washington,” Rich said, and repeated his pledge to serve no more than two terms in the U.S. Senate.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association of 21,000 members. Rich’s speech was part of ABC’s legislative week, designed to educate Congress about the issues that affect the construction industry and to showcase how its members create jobs and boost America’s economy.

Mick Rich To Speak Prior to VP Mike Pence at ABC Legislative Day

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced that Vice President Mike Pence will deliver the keynote address at its Legislative Day on June 22 at 9:30 a.m. He will speak to member construction contractors gathered for ABC Legislative Week 2017 before they head to Capitol Hill for meetings with lawmakers.

Mick Rich, candidate for U.S. Senate from New Mexico and a former board member of ABC’s New Mexico chapter, will immediately precede Vice President Pence on stage.

“I’m honored to speak before Associated Builders and Contractors and Vice President Pence,” Rich said. “I know the Vice President agrees that construction creates good jobs, so construction projects should be encouraged.

“Whether or not Washington funds a national infrastructure rebuilding program,” Rich added, “the very least lawmakers can do is remove burdensome regulations that drive up construction costs.”

Additional security measures will be in place for the Vice President’s appearance at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.

Hypocrite Heinrich Is Killing Rural New Mexico

A recent Wall Street Journal analysis shows what any of us who travel outside cities already know: since the 1990s, rural counties have become America’s most troubled areas — and the decline is accelerating.

In terms of poverty, educational attainment, teenage births, divorce, death from heart disease and cancer, opioid addiction, reliance on federal disability insurance, and male labor-force participation, rural areas now rank the worse off than small- to medium metro areas, suburbs, or big cities. Not surprisingly, total rural population – accounting for births, deaths and migration – has declined for five straight years.

Rural New Mexico is worse off than the national averages. Our #1 in the nation unemployment rate and #2 poverty rate disproportionately hurt our rural counties.

Into this problem wades New Mexico’s junior senator, Martin Heinrich, who, along with his fellow congressional Democrats, spent untold tax dollars and staff time to produce a report titled, “Understanding Economic Challenges in Rural America.”

The report brings less information and understanding than The Wall Street Journal’s, which begs the question why Senator Heinrich did not simply pay for a newspaper subscription and save hard-working taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

But we know why: Heinrich’s votes have hurt rural America and New Mexico. Producing a report about the problems he made worse is his limp attempt to cover his failures as he faces his first re-election challenge in 2018.

Who does Martin Heinrich blame for rural America’s problems? Wall Street and President Trump. Ignoring how ridiculous it is to blame President Trump for a problem that his own report says has existed since the Great Recession of 2008, Heinrich also brands himself a hypocrite, because it is his votes that have decimated rural New Mexico. In Heinrich’s nine years in Congress, he has consistently voted:

  • Against New Mexico’s military jobs
  • Against New Mexico’s national laboratory jobs
  • Against New Mexico’s energy and natural resources jobs
  • Against New Mexicans’ use of public lands to earn a living
  • Against securing our southern border to keep out drugs and gangs

What does Martin Heinrich suggest will solve rural America’s problems? “Congress must invest in developing the next generation of grant writers and civil servants to serve in small rural communities.”

Seriously, Sen. Heinrich? Your solution to rural unemployment is for the government to pay for more grant writers who will apply for more government handouts?

Talk about a coastal elite, nanny state worldview. You can’t make this stuff up.

“I can promise you,” Heinrich wrote when he released his report, “that I am working to develop real solutions that will actually work to make life better in rural America.”

Here is Martin Heinrich’s true view of rural New Mexico, based on his votes, not his promises. He is either:

  • Unaware of what our state’s needs are – he represents California, not New Mexico
  • Unaware of the consequences of his actions on our state
  • Or, he just doesn’t care about us

The most obvious and devastating conclusion is that Sen. Heinrich cares more about his own career in the Democratic Party than he does for the people he was elected to represent.

Heinrich’s Record of Voting Against New Mexico Includes Public Lands

On May 9, New Mexico’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the EPA urging it to implement a $4 million long-term water monitoring plan for areas impacted by the Gold King Mine spill. Those areas include the San Juan and Animas Rivers in northwest New Mexico.

This is a classic example of Washington politicians doing too little, too late.

Note that the $4 million is for monitoring, not cleanup. Sen. Martin Heinrich asked all New Mexicans to stand up for safe drinking water in Flint, MI. Flint got what it wanted. Why didn’t he do the same for New Mexico? He could have held up Flint water bill to ensure the EPA cleaned up the drinking water that it contaminated in the San Juan and Animas Rivers.

But this is only the most recent example of Martin Heinrich’s misplaced legislative priorities and loyalties. His record regarding public lands, the environment, and natural resources betrays his “federal bureaucracy knows better than you” attitude.

  • Heinrich voted against irrigation water for farmers in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The drought there not only wiped out farms and agricultural jobs, it threatened America’s food supply.
  • Heinrich voted against mining of critical strategic minerals in national forest lands. These minerals are necessary for our national defense and economic security. China now controls 90 percent of the world’s production of these minerals.
  • Heinrich voted against giving states authority over coal mining. In his view, global CO2 emission goals are more important than local mining jobs. Coal produces more than 70 percent of New Mexico’s energy.
  • Heinrich voted against allowing oil and gas leasing on federal lands. If you care about America’s energy freedom, and don’t want us to be dependent on Mideast oil kingdoms that fund radical Islamic terrorism, this was a bad move.
  • Heinrich voted for “Cap and Trade,” a carbon emission reduction scheme by global elitists that forces industrial nations such as the United States to pay non-industrialized nations cash penalties for air pollution.
  • Heinrich voted to remove federal lands from public use. This may be his most damaging vote against New Mexicans and their right to earn a living, because unlike every issue above, this bill passed and was signed into law by President Obama.

One-issue environmentalists may look at this list and pat themselves on the back for voting for Martin Heinrich. But responsible, hard-working New Mexicans know otherwise. We see the full implications of federal legislation, including negative impacts on jobs and working families.

We see Martin Heinrich’s voting record for what it is: captive to liberal environmental contributions from out of state. We see Martin Heinrich’s career for what it is: favoring Martin Heinrich, not the people of New Mexico.

Heinrich’s Attack of Trump Tax Plan Puts Party Over People

The Trump Administration has released a one-page outline of how to reform America’s complex and unfair tax system. Predictably, the mainstream media criticized the outline’s simplicity. Just as predictably, New Mexico’s junior Senator, Martin Heinrich, immediately criticized the plan. Here is his full response:

“It took almost 100 days for President Trump to release a one-page tax proposal that reads like a wish list for big corporations and his wealthy friends. This outline lacks detail on how any of these many tax giveaways will be paid for. While President Trump continues to hide his tax returns, we can assume he is proposing to give himself tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks, rather than help struggling families to get ahead [emphasis added]. Democrats and Republicans all agree our tax code should be reformed but this certainly doesn’t pass the test. This proves that President Trump has no intention of reaching across the aisle to build consensus on reforms both parties can support.”

If we ignore Sen. Heinrich’s personal attacks on President Trump, his core argument – and core error – is: “rather than help struggling families to get ahead.” Let’s examine that statement against the actual proposal.

1) The plan calls for cutting the current seven tax brackets to three at 10, 25, and 35 percent. It doubles the standard deduction, which reduces the amount of tax paid by people who don’t itemize their deductions.

The three new tax brackets will significantly lower taxes paid by individuals and families. Increasing the standard deduction also will help hard-working taxpayers, because people who itemize their deductions tend to be in higher income brackets.

Senator Heinrich, how does this part of the plan not help struggling families?

2) The plan calls for tax relief for childcare expenses and a repeal of the death tax.

Families often struggle with the cost of childcare, which is so high that many couples decide only one of them can work so the other can take care of the kids. Getting a tax break for childcare expenses means more couples will be able for both mom and dad to work, raising their family’s income.

As for eliminating the death tax, is Senator Heinrich arguing that the death tax (the tax on inheritance) helps families? The death tax is nothing more than double taxation: making you pay taxes on income your parents already paid taxes on.

Senator Heinrich, how does this part of the plan not help struggling families?

3) The plan keeps deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving, but it would eliminate most deductions, including those for state and local taxes.

Again, people who itemize deductions tend to be in higher income brackets. So reducing the number of deductions not only will simplify the tax code, it will favor hard-working taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions. This makes the tax code fairer.

The American dream includes owning a home. Keeping the mortgage interest deduction helps promote home ownership, which is the #1 way that Americans build financial security for their families.

Regarding the deduction for charitable giving: Americans give more money to their churches than to any other category of nonprofit organization. Churches then redistribute those donations to programs that help our communities – often to families who are most in need.

Senator Heinrich, how does this part of the plan not help struggling families?

As for eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, I can understand why Senator Heinrich objects, because this deduction is most loved by high-tax states on the coasts, including California and New York. Here, Mr. Heinrich again demonstrates that he serves as California’s third Senator, instead of New Mexico’s junior Senator.

4) The plan proposes a flat 15 percent tax rate for businesses, and eliminates tax breaks for special interests.

We all rightly complain about how Washington power brokers and career politicians favor special interests. President Trump’s plan eliminates tax breaks for special interests. How is that not more fair?

America’s tax on corporate earning – currently 35 percent – is the highest in the developed world. I can personally attest that if my family’s business were taxed at 15 percent instead of 35 percent, we would reinvest that savings into the company by creating more jobs. The fact is, tax cuts for business create job growth. New Mexico desperately needs more jobs.

Senator Heinrich, how does this part of the plan not help struggling families?

Martin Heinrich no longer acts as a voice for New Mexicans in Washington, D.C. He votes with his Democratic Party masters, Nancy Pelosi of California and Chuck Schumer of New York, 94.4 percent of the time. But the interests of New Mexico and New York are quite different, as Mr. Heinrich’s statement about the Trump tax plan proves.

It is time to abandon empty party politics, and return common-sense government to Washington. It is time to let hard-working Americans lead the way, and reduce the federal government’s interference in our lives. It is time to shrink government instead of growing it, and reduce taxes instead of increasing them. It is time to send hard-working Americans to Congress instead of career politicians.

The Trump tax plan makes sense for America, and it makes even more sense for New Mexico. Mr. Heinrich, you are not fooling anyone with your automatic rejection of everything our President proposes. You are simply making yourself look foolish.

In Case You Missed It: Mick Rich in the News

Mick Rich launched his campaign for U.S. Senate with a tour from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, including stops in Albuquerque, Roswell, Ruidoso, and Alamogordo. Here are excerpts from the news coverage he received, with links to full articles.

Associated Press
Rich criticized Heinrich’s vote against the confirmation of Energy Secretary Rick Perry as a liability for New Mexico in efforts to ensure funding for national nuclear weapons laboratories overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy, and vowed to be a better broker for New Mexico interests with the federal government. Read more…

Albuquerque Business First
Rich said he wants to follow in the footsteps of former Republican U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, who was the last Republican to serve in that seat. Read more …

Albuquerque Journal
Rich said he would push for relaxed restrictions on federal land use and more funding with solidified missions for the state’s federal laboratories, while describing high crime and drug overdose rates in New Mexico as a barrier to economic development. Read more…

Santa Fe New Mexican
Rich described Heinrich, who is expected to run for a second Senate term, as “California’s third senator,” saying Heinrich’s votes are more in line with California’s interests than New Mexico’s. Read more…

Alamogordo Daily News
Rich said he wants to fight for New Mexico residents who want to make an honest living in order for families to provide for their children. “Sen. Pete Domenici insured our labs had a mission,” Rich said. “He ensured the mission was well spent. It’s one of the legs of the economy that still can come back to life in our state. We need a new mission for Holloman. I am going to make an effort and focus on our labs and military installations have a mission.” Read more…

Rich is emphasizing his support for commercial development of natural resources on federal lands as a way to boost the New Mexico economy. Read more…

Las Cruces News-Sun
When times are tough, Rich said, citizens should take a close look at how government is run and ask questions like, ‘Are we going in the right direction?’ or ‘Do we have the right people on the bus?’

“Martin Heinrich isn’t the right guy on the bus,” Rich said.

Specifically, Rich doesn’t think the federal government should take over state land and designate it as wilderness, something he said Heinrich supports too often. Read more…

Sacramento Bee
An engineer and the married father of four grown children, Rich described his 34 years in the construction business as an asset in understanding employment issues and how the federal government contracts with businesses. “I understand how hard it is for people to deal with those agencies,” Rich said, while also praising some dedicated federal workers. Read more…

New Mexico Political Report
“I am not moving to D.C.,” Rich said. “I want to make it clear: two terms and I’m done.” Read more…

U.S. News & World Report
Rich also signaled public safety issues as a top priority, while tracing New Mexico’s difficulties in addressing violent crime and drug overdoses to illegal drugs crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Read more…

Politicians with the Wrong Purpose

Politicians need a litmus test to help them decide their votes. The best such test is, “Will this help or hurt the people I serve?”

On March 2, New Mexico’s two Democratic U.S. Senators faced an important vote: whether to confirm former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. Udall voted for confirmation. Heinrich voted against Perry, who was confirmed on a vote of 62-37.

Martin Heinrich’s ‘No’ vote reveals a lot about the priorities of New Mexico’s junior first-term Senator.

When President Trump announced Perry’s nomination, Heinrich called Perry “utterly unqualified” to lead DOE. “President-elect Trump has signaled his blatant hostility to the Department and the workforce at our National Labs by nominating someone who has proposed eliminating this entire agency,” Heinrich said.

But during his confirmation hearings, Perry said that he regretted proposing to eliminate the DOE. While governor of Texas, Perry oversaw a budget larger than the DOE’s. During his tenure, Texas led the nation in energy development and in job growth.

While liberal states such as California hampered development of renewable energy sources with cumbersome regulations, Texas lowered regulatory burdens, reduced taxes, and fostered an economic climate that encouraged business investment.

Perry has made it clear that creating jobs and energy independence for America must be balanced with caring for our environment. As proof:

  • He reduced Texas’ carbon footprint.
  • He made Texas the top wind energy state in the nation.
  • He was one of the first governors to sign a law requiring public disclosure of liquids pumped into the ground to access shale oil.

The Energy Secretary’s primary role is to manage our nuclear arsenal. The DOE oversees four national nuclear labs. Two of them, Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), are located in New Mexico.

Nearly 25,000 New Mexicans work at institutions under the umbrella of the DOE. LANL is one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world, and one of only two of America’s national labs to design nuclear weapons. With its $2.2 billion budget and 11,000 employees, LANL is New Mexico’s second-largest employer.

Now, imagine that you are a U.S. Senator from New Mexico. You face a vote to confirm a candidate for DOE Secretary who strongly supports energy development and national defense. Do you want to oppose him with your public statements and your vote?

Tom Udall broke with the ideologues in his party, and cast his vote to benefit the people of his state – as did 10 other Democrats.

Martin Heinrich voted not to confirm Perry…a candidate certain to be confirmed. Why?

On this vote – as on so many others – Martin Heinrich chose conformity with his party to advance his personal political ambitions above the best interests of New Mexicans. Heinrich votes with Democratic Party leadership 94 percent of the time.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer represents New York. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi represents California. How many New Mexicans believe that New York and California represent our best interests?

I expect Martin Heinrich will again play lap dog to his Democratic Party masters, and oppose U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch is so qualified that Neal Katyal, a liberal lawyer who served as solicitor general in the Obama administration, called him “a first-rate intellect and a fair and decent man.” Even the liberal New York Times has called him “a plainly qualified judge.”

So, will Martin Heinrich continue to obstruct the well being of the people of his state? Will he continue to be California’s third Senator instead of New Mexico’s junior Senator?

Heinrich has two years left in his term. We will be watching.