On the Border, Martin Heinrich Has Gone Missing

Mick with Murray Keeler and Levi Klump on the Klump ranch.

In April 2016, I visited ranchers Levi Klump and Judy Keeler in New Mexico’s boot heel (Hidalgo County), to learn firsthand about the security of our Southern border. The told me they live with drug smugglers running across their ranchland and through the yards of their homes. I vowed to them that I will take action to solve this problem when I replace Martin Heinrich in the U.S. Senate.

When I got home and told my wife, Marion, about my visit, she said, “No American citizen should have to live with that fear.”

One month later, Martin Heinrich also visited Levi and Judy. After he left, Judy told the Albuquerque Journal: “I’ve been to so many meetings where promises are made to secure the border, and it just doesn’t happen. We’re fatigued of all the promises, and they don’t deliver, and I think I’m not the only one that feels fatigued. There are not enough people to really matter down here. The message is the border is secure, and everyone who lives on the border knows it’s not true.”

That was two years ago. This month, citing a “point of crisis,” President Trump ordered the National Guard to the U.S. border to help control illegal immigration. Martin Heinrich responded on Twitter: “Pres Trump is grossly out of touch with reality of our experience in NM. He should spend less time watching Fox News & more time listening to ppl who live & work in communities on border. I guarantee the answer is not wasting billions of dollars to militarize their neighborhoods.”

Ms. Keeler responds: “I don’t agree with Mr. Heinrich at all. ‘Militarization’ is just fear mongering. But I’m not sure the National Guard will be able to help that much, because they are put in office support positions, and we won’t have any more boots on the ground at the border, where we need them.”

In his nine years in Congress, with infrequent visits back to New Mexico, Martin Heinrich has proved that he is good at creating photo opportunities. He has proved that he can listen to people’s heartaches, walk away, and do nothing. He has voted more than 94 percent of the time with California’s senators, which is why he has earned the nickname, ‘California’s Third Senator.’ He has proved he will sacrifice New Mexicans’ safety and security to advance his own political career.

What does this tell us about our junior senator? He is arrogant: he thinks he knows better than we do what’s good for us. Also, he regards us – the people he was elected to serve – with disdain. He believes he can go on ignoring us and still be re-elected.

He’s wrong. New Mexicans have caught on to his deception and impotence. Recently, when Heinrich offered to meet with a veterans group in Silver City, they turned him down. They told him that he was not coming to hear their concerns, but for a taxpayer-funded fishing trip.

In his soft-spoken, telegenic package, Martin Heinrich represents the worst of career politicians: tell the people what they want to hear, then ignore them and serve only yourself.

I am Martin Heinrich’s opposite. I have made my career about getting the job done.

We deserve a Senator that will stand up for New Mexico and New Mexicans.

 

The Hard Hat and The Beast: Mick Rich crisscrosses the state looking for votes

By Andy Lyman
The NM Political Report

Just after 10 on a bright, but chilly Wednesday morning, Mick Rich strolled into a retro-looking coffee shop on historic Route 66 in Tucumcari. Making his way to the back of the restaurant, where the walls and windows were covered in “Mick Rich for Senate” campaign signs, he introduced himself to diners.

“I’m Mick Rich and I’m running for Senate,” he said to a few people eating bacon, eggs and stacks of pancakes.

Pushing 6 feet tall and bald, Rich made a point to stop at every table, both on the way in and out.

After less than an hour talking to about 15 people in Tucumcari, and with a cinnamon roll to go, Rich climbed into the back seat of “The Beast,” a four-ton rig, wrapped with the words “Mick Rich for Senate” and an attached living space, for the two-hour trip to Las Vegas, NM. The driver turned the ignition and the truck cab filled with a whirring sound as air filled bellows which serve as the truck’s suspension. Nothing about “The Beast” is subtle.

“It’s surprising how many people will take a photograph of the truck, ‘The Beast,’ and then post it on their Facebook or somewhere else,” Rich said. “It just gets a lot of attention.”

On his third day of his statewide town hall tour—dubbed the Hard Hat Town Hall Tour—Rich was doing his best to make sure potential voters knew his name. He and his campaign staffers had made their way through two Republican-friendly counties in the southeast part of the state and were heading north toward country dominated by Democrats. NM Political Report rode along in “The Beast” with the the Republican, who wants to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich.

The Hard Hat

Rich, 64, has lived in New Mexico, working in the construction industry, for nearly four decades. In the late 1980s he started his own company, Mick Rich Contractors. He married his “college sweetheart” and together they had four kids—the youngest of whom is now in college.

The political newcomer is running on a relatively standard Republican platform. He opposes stricter gun control laws and abortion and wants to increase border security. But ask him about specific policies and he’ll get at some of the nuances. When it comes to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Rich will mention it’s not feasible everywhere due to natural boundaries or point out that increasing border security could also mean increasing resources for the Border Patrol. Alternatives to oil and gas is another nuanced issue for Rich. While he seems to like the idea of solar energy—“The Beast” has solar panels on the roof—Rich said he questions the economic and energy efficiency of wholly converting the state’s power structure to wind and solar.

“Does it really make sense to tear down a power plant and build a whole different power plant?” he asked. “And do you really save any money?”

His views on President Donald Trump, who looms over all election races this year, are not simple either.

On the road to Las Vegas, Rich told NM Political Report Trump’s words make people nervous, but his actions aren’t always as bad. To Rich, Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel were a “shot across the bow” and a way to cut a better deal. And Trump’s public rhetoric about North Korea, he said, were ends to justify means as Trump and the country’s leader Kim Jong-Un agreed to meet to discuss nuclear weapons.

“I’ve learned to watch what people do and not what they say,” Rich said.

During a later stop in Raton, Rich qualified his positions a little more, using his often-used phrase to describe what he’s “good with.”

In the back room of a chicken wing and pizza restaurant in the conservative-leaning county seat of Colfax County, Rich told about 10 people he wants to serve the state of New Mexico, not the president or Congress.

“When [Trump is] good for the state, I’m good with him,” Rich said.

He also laid out his views on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“He’s enforcing the laws and I’m good with that.”

For inspiration, Rich said he looks to two former New Mexico politicians.

He’s quick to praise the late U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici for having a “solid reputation” in New Mexico and said the six–term Republican senator had a way with the state’s national lab employees.

“When there was a problem [at Los Alamos National Lab], people were more concerned about Sen. Domenici than they were about the Department of Energy coming,” Rich said.

Domenici is often remembered for the large amounts of federal funding he secured for the state’s labs.

Rich said it “might surprise some people” that his other political inspiration was the late Gov. Bruce King, a Democrat.

King was “just a good guy,” Rich said. “He was easy to talk to and he cared about people.”

Following Rich through rural New Mexico, it became clear he was attempting to channel Domenici’s political values and King’s reputation for being a people person.

On the road

The tight schedule for his Hard Hat Town Hall tour meant Rich and his staffers ate their meals and snacks on the road. The breakneck pace of the trip created a relay-routine. At least one campaign staffer was always 30 minutes ahead of Rich on the road. Then, minutes after Rich arrived at the next hosting restaurant or coffee shop, a young staffer would gather campaign materials and leave to greet attendees and set out signs and flyers. And of course, the staffer would have a hard hat, key to the “Send a Hard Hat to Washington” slogan, ready at the next campaign stop.

In Las Vegas, like Tucumcari, campaign flyers and signs were ready for Rich. A small group of residents finished eating before Rich walked into the downtown pizza restaurant. By then, Rich had his talking points down and introduced himself and his ideas in just a few minutes, leaving time for questions. In at least two of the stops that day, Rich carefully answered questions and concerns affably, careful not to get into policy debates. Later in the day, a woman in Raton criticized the Los Alamos National Lab for its diverse employees, calling it “a mini U.N.” Rich pivoted that conversation to his time as a construction contractor working for the lab.

In Las Vegas, one resident complained that the city council relied too much on the federal government, particularly for fixing the leaky Peterson Dam, which is key to supplying water to the city.

“The prevailing attitude is, ‘let someone else fix it,’” the man said.

Rich replied that the federal government has a role in funding state projects.

“If I can add to that,” Rich replied. “A lot of times the federal government has a piece of the puzzle, but not all of it.”

That attitude is one thing that cements him firmly between his two opponents in November—although he only acknowledges one of them, Democratic incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich.

At no time during his tour did he mention State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, the longtime Republican who announced his run for Senate and his switch to the Libertarian Party earlier this year. When NM Political Report asked Rich if he considers Dunn an opponent, Rich answered with a simple, “I don’t.”

That’s partly because, Rich said, Dunn’s candidacy was, at the time, challenged in state district court. The lawsuit was withdrawn by the challenger last week.

Dunn said Rich’s focus on Heinrich is political strategy.

Earlier this month, when Dunn said he would block federal Border Patrol agents from state land, Rich called it a political stunt. On the road to Las Vegas, Rich told NM Political Reporthe questioned why Dunn didn’t raise the issue sooner.

“I’m going, ‘You’ve been in office for three and a half years. So for three and a half years you didn’t do your job.’ Now you’re doing your job, that’s not what we need. The voters are going to see that, so the focus is Martin Heinrich,” Rich said.

Rich called both Dunn and Heinrich “career politicians.” Heinrich served two terms as a U.S. Representative and is finishing his first term in the U.S. Senate. Dunn is serving the last year of his first term ever in elected office, though he previously unsuccessfully ran for state senate.

At campaign stops, Rich accused Heinrich of being out of touch with New Mexico and spending too much time in Washington D.C.

“The reason this is a winnable race is he forgot about us,” Rich said of Heinrich.

One of Rich’s campaign promises is that he will not live full time in Washington D.C., but instead regularly travel back to New Mexico.

Dunn bucked Rich’s criticisms, saying he’d easily beat Rich in the race, and Heinrich steered clear of personal jabs at either Rich or Dunn.

“I don’t approach my races based on my opponents,” Heinrich said. “I try to approach them based on my values.”

The election is still about eight months away though and there are numerous factors that will play into it.

Heinrich’s approval rating is below 50 percent, but those who approve outnumber those who disapprove and Dunn likely has more name recognition than Rich. But Rich has party support from key Republican players and the party’s infrastructure.

Donors to the Rich campaign include former Republican National Committeeman Pat Rogers, former Republican gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidate Allen Weh as well as former New Mexico Speaker of the House Don Tripp.

While speaking to both NM Political Report and New Mexicans around the state, Rich doesn’t use the word “if” when talking about a win, but instead says “when.”

The difficulty of running for one of the highest offices in New Mexico is not lost on Rich, or apparently many people he’s talked to.

“People ask me, ‘So you didn’t want to start out as a state senator?’” Rich said. “And I go, ‘Yeah that’s about right.’”

And he’s good with that.

Mick Rich To Host 23 Town Halls in Five Days

 

Mick Rich, New Mexico’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, will barnstorm New Mexico next week in a 23-city “Hard Hat Town Hall Tour.”

“I’ve listened to New Mexicans’ concerns and dreams for 35 years,” said Rich, a general contractor. “In the past year alone, I put 150,000 miles on my Ford meeting with voters in all 33 counties. But it takes on new meaning now that I’m the nominee.”

Mick Rich for Senate campaign manager, Evan Machan, said the tour is testimony to the candidate’s desire to meet every voter he can. “Mick is a working man who cares about the problems facing working families,” Machan said.

Machan added that candidate and staff will be riding in ‘The Beast,’ a rugged, off-road camper wrapped in campaign branding. “The Beast is a good vehicle for Mick and his campaign,” Machan said. “We go anywhere, and we have the tools to get the job done.”

Click here for Hard Hat Town Hall Tour information and free tickets.

Why I’m Running for U.S. Senate

I’m Mick Rich, and I’m running for the U.S. Senate.  I’m not a career politician. I’m an outsider and a proven job creator.

From the time I was in grade school, I wanted to build big things. I worked my way through college in construction and started my own company here in New Mexico.

Along the way learning Hard Hat Values.

What are Hard Hat Values? Always do your best work.  Use teamwork for every job. And do what it takes to get the job done.

Thirty-five years ago, I chose to start my construction business in New Mexico because I loved the beauty of this state and the character of its people, and I knew I could make a difference here. This is where my wife, Marion, and I chose to make our home and raise our family.

With the help of Marion and our four children, along with the efforts of scores of skilled and dedicated employees, I have helped to build communities around our state.

New Mexico’s strongest resource is you and me, the people. People who work hard, treat one another with respect, and do what it takes to get the job done. We care for others and take pride our in our lives. That’s Hard Hat Values.

Recently, like you, I’ve seen New Mexico emptying out. I see young people leaving the state for jobs elsewhere – two of our four children among them. Now even business leaders are giving up hope and moving away. Many of our cities and towns are not safe. The list of our state’s problems is long.

One of New Mexico’s senators is an example of the problem. Martin Heinrich has betrayed the people of New Mexico. In his nine years in Washington D.C., he consistently has put his personal political ambitions above the needs of our state.

I stand in contrast to Martin Heinrich, because I believe at the end of the day, we will be measured by how well we serve the people around us.

I believe in America. I believe in New Mexico. I know the road ahead is long and hard. But I am a get-it-done guy. And with the support of the great people of our state, we can and will improve the lives of our children and neighbors.

As your – New Mexico’s – senator, I will put on my Hard Hat and work to create good-paying jobs that support families. I will get this job done. New Mexicans will never again be taken for granted by out-of-touch career politicians like Martin Heinrich.

Together, we can change Congress for the better. Join me, and Send a Hard Hat to Washington.

Albuquerque Builder Mick Rich Accepts GOP Nomination for U.S. Senate

 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Feb. 26, 2018 – Mick Rich, a general contractor from Albuquerque, on Saturday accepted the New Mexico Republican Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate. Rich will face Dem. Sen. Martin Heinrich in the Nov. 6 midterm election.

“I am honored to be the Republican Party’s nominee,” Rich said. “And I am eager to replace Martin Heinrich in the U.S. Senate, and return common-sense Hard Hat values to Congress.”

Rich said his campaign is based on jobs. “New Mexico’s unemployment rate is still second-worst in the nation,” he said. “I am a proven job creator, and I know how to use federal policy to create good-paying jobs in New Mexico.”

State campaign chairman, Rick Lopez, said Rich’s message appeals not only to Republicans, but to all hard-working taxpayers. “When you’re hungry, you don’t debate philosophy,” Lopez said. “New Mexico is hungry for opportunity. Many traditional Democrats and Independents also will support Mick.”

Rich, 63, was born in the California Bay Area and received his civil engineering degree from Oregon State University. He moved to New Mexico in 1980 and founded a contracting business several years later. He and his wife, Marion, have four adult children.

 

Mick Rich Calls on Martin Heinrich To Condemn Pelosi’s “Crumbs” Attacks

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Feb. 21, 2018 – Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Mexico, Mick Rich, today called on his opponent, Martin Heinrich, to condemn House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for repeatedly denigrating the GOP tax cuts and resulting worker bonuses as “crumbs.”

Rich’s challenge came as six Democratic leaders refused to endorse Pelosi’s statements. New Mexico’s Congressman Ben Ray Luján joined Democratic Congressmen from New York, Texas, Minnesota, Missouri and Kentucky to contradict or refute Pelosi’s characterization of the tax cut’s benefits to American workers.

“Martin Heinrich must make a choice,” Rich said. “He either must admit he was wrong to vote against the tax cut, or he must continue to cow to his party’s leader, Nancy Pelosi, as he has done consistently throughout his career in Congress.”

Mick Rich for Senate campaign manager, Evan Machan, said Heinrich’s problem arose from casting votes based on his political ambitions instead of the well-being of the people of New Mexico.

“Martin Heinrich is a Democratic Party puppet,” Machan said. “If he had considered New Mexico’s unemployment rate, which is second-worst in the nation, he never would have voted against this tax cut. But he keeps singing the Democratic Party song, positioning himself for his next job in Washington D.C.”

As polls show that GOP tax cut is becoming more popular, Democrats who face re-election this year are concerned they must correct their messaging to align with public sentiment.

“It’s time for Martin Heinrich to man up,” Rich said. “Declare that you will put New Mexicans’ needs above your own political career, or face the wrath of voters this November.”

– # # # –

Mick Rich Announces Statewide Campaign Leadership Team

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Feb. 20, 2018 – Mick Rich, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Mexico, today announced his statewide campaign leadership team, which will be tasked with organizing a strong grassroots campaign in every county across the state.

“I’m thrilled to have the support of these community leaders from every county of our state,” Rich said. “In visiting all 33 counties and listening to voters, I found the leaders who share my Hard Hat Values, and who care as much as I do that New Mexicans once again have a voice in Congress.”

In the past year, Mick has visited every county in the state, driving more than 150,000 miles in his truck to listen to voters and hear the issues they care about.

“Grassroots leaders are incredibly important,” said campaign manager, Evan Machan. “They are part of a populist movement of New Mexico citizens who are taking back their government from career politicians.”

Rick Lopez of Estancia will serve as state campaign chairman. Lopez is the current First Vice-Chair for the New Mexico Republican Party. He has more than 10 years of experience as a county chairman, and many years of grassroots political organization experience. His family has been in New Mexico since 1498.

“Mick brings an energy and excitement to campaigning that I have not seen in 40 years in politics,” Lopez said. “After watching him campaign tirelessly in every county in our state during the past two years, I am honored to join his campaign as State Chairman.”

Rich also announced campaign chairmen in all 33 New Mexico counties:

Bernalillo County
Julie Wright, Albuquerque
Small Business Owner and Grassroots Activist
“I support Mick because like me, Mick believes in fair and open government.”

Catron County
Keith Riddle, Reserve
Catron County Clerk
“Mick’s a Christian who walks the walk. He’s kind and compassionate to those in need.”

Chaves County
Catherine “Cat” Nagle, Roswell
“Mick supports America’s energy independence. I like that.”

Cibola County
Deniece Cornett, Milan
“I believe the federal government needs more elected officials who understand business. Mick Rich has owned a successful business for 35 years.”

Colfax County
Steve McFall, Angel Fire
Candidate for NM’s 3rd U.S. Congressional District
“I want to work with Mick in Congress to solve New Mexico’s problems. We are both common-sense problem-solvers, which is a big change from the partisan career politicians who pretend to represent us now.”

Curry County
Rube Render, Clovis
“It is imperative that we elect Mick Rich to replace Martin Heinrich in the U.S. Senate.”

 De Baca County
Ronald Barras, Fort Sumner
“We need solutions to the growing opioid crisis and the rise in crime. Mick understands that we must secure the border and support law enforcement.”

Dona Ana County
Dale Ann Lathrop, Las Cruces
“I’m supporting Mick because he knows how to create jobs. Mick will bring jobs back to New Mexico.”

Eddy County
Richard Stephens, Carlsbad
“Mick Rich understands that here in Southeast New Mexico, the oil and gas industry will do just fine if the federal government doesn’t interfere.”

Grant County
Candy Luhrsen, San Lorenzo
“I’m supporting Mick Rich because we need someone who will get the job done in Washington.”

Guadalupe County
Fred Hinker, Santa Rosa
“We need a Senator who will actually get things done in Washington. I believe Mick Rich will get things done. Anyone who knows how to build schools, churches, and offices knows how to put things together and make them work.”

Harding County
Donald Flowers, Mills
“Martin Heinrich is a lap dog of the Democratic Party. It doesn’t matter whether a bill will help New Mexico; Martin Heinrich will only vote for it if Chuck Schumer tells him to and it benefits his own political career. Mick doesn’t care about all that. He’s already said he will only serve two terms.”

Hidalgo County
Judy Keeler, Animas
“Mick believes in preserving New Mexico’s rural heritage of farming and ranching. It’s more than a way of life ­– it’s part of our identity. He’ll help us make rural New Mexico a place where young people want to carry on their family traditions, instead of having to leave for jobs out of state.”

Lea County
Ann Batson, Hobbs
“I’m supporting Mick Rich because he’s a Hard Hat. He knows the value of good-paying jobs that get your hands dirty but can support a family.”

Lincoln County
Ann Eby, Ruidoso
“Mick’s wife is a trained pharmacist and his daughter is studying to be a surgeon. He understands healthcare, and what it takes to make the system work.”

Los Alamos County
Jesse Velazco, Los Alamos
“I’m supporting Mick because he has built projects for our national labs. He understands how they work. Like Pete Domenici, Mick will make sure they have vital missions that are properly funded.”

Luna County
Cliff Denshire, Deming
“Mick has been here and talked with residents and ranchers. He knows we’ve absolutely got to secure the border, before the border region devolves into lawlessness.”

McKinley County
Dave Dallago
“I’m Democrat but I support Mick because I have worked with him over the years. I support Mick 100 percent, not based on politics, but based on his character and integrity.”

Mora County
Frank Trambley, Mora
“Mick’s a fellow Hard Hat. We share the same work ethic: do what it takes to get the job done.”

Otero County
Laurel Fischer, Alamogordo
“I support Mick because he has an excellent reputation in New Mexico’s community of builders and realtors. He truly has helped to build our state.”

Quay County
Jeff Byrd, Tucumcari
“Mick Rich is a man of faith. He doesn’t believe in telling people how to live, but he will defend the rights of people of faith. That’s enough for me.”

Rio Arriba County
Troy Padilla, Hernandez
“Most politicians forget about rural folk. Mick Rich will work for us. He won’t pander to D.C. politics. He believes in the people, no matter who you are or where you live.”

Roosevelt County
Gene Creighton, Elida
“We have got to replace California’s third Senator, Martin Heinrich, with someone who actually cares about New Mexico. Mick Rich is the man to do it.”

San Juan County
Janis Jakino, Farmington
“Business people respect money. Mick has owned a business for 35 years. We need more financial accountability and responsibility in government, and I believe Mick will bring that.”

San Miguel County
Reynaldo “Rey” Herrera, Rociada
“Martin Heinrich is out of step with New Mexico’s traditional family values. We need to turn New Mexico red.”

Sandoval County
Don Chapman, Rio Rancho, Sandoval County Commissioner
“I support Mick because like me, Mick can connect with people from vastly different backgrounds to get the job done.”

Santa Fe County
Yvonne Chicoine, Santa Fe
“Mick is a principled conservative who discuss divisive issues while showing calm and respect. We need more leaders like Mick Rich.”

Sierra County
Johanna Tighe, Elephant Butte
“Mick Rich fits well with the conservative values of Sierra County!”

Socorro County
Della Vega, Socorro
“If we want to bring jobs back to New Mexico, it makes sense to elect a Senator who has personally created hundreds of jobs. Mick Rich has done that. The only jobs Martin Heinrich has created were his own government staff, at taxpayer expense.”

Taos County
Susan Griffin and Tommy Simpson, Taos
“We want to get more Republicans registered and energized. Mick is a conservative, but his common-sense values appeal to independent and moderate Democrats as well.”

Torrance County
Pete Golden, McIntosh, Candidate for Torrance County Sheriff
“Mick believes in the rule of law. Unlike Martin Heinrich, Mick sees so-called sanctuary cities for what they are: outlaw cities. Mick will work the federal government to help local law enforcement lower crime.”

Union County
Victoria Baker, Clayton
“Washington is broken. Congress is broken. We need to shoo out the career politicians and elect people like Mick Rich who will act as citizen legislators to get Washington working again.”

Valencia County
Patricia Houston, Belen
“I’m supporting Mick Rich because Mick is very aware that our state and national security depends on securing our southern border.”

– # # # –

Mick Rich Files Ballot Qualifying Signatures as Sole Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate

SANTA FE, Feb. 6, 2018 – Albuquerque contractor Mick Rich today filed nominating petitions with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver that qualify him as the sole Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

“I am proud to be the candidate for all New Mexicans who are sick and tired of Martin Heinrich acting like California’s third senator instead of New Mexico’s senator,” Rich said. “I will be a senator for all New Mexicans.”

Mick Rich for Senate campaign manager, Evan Machan, said that Rich filed well over the minimum nominating petition signatures required for major party candidates.

“This campaign began three years ago as a kitchen table discussion with my wife, Marion,” Rich said. “It has never been my dream to be a politician. But as I told Marion that night, I refuse to stand by and watch our state suffer. We need a voice in Congress. If New Mexicans send me – a man with Hard Hat Values – to Washington, I will get the job done.”

Machan said that Rich appeals to all hard-working taxpayers, regardless of party affiliation. “Working people relate to Mick,” Machan said. “He will do what’s right for New Mexican families – above party or personal ambition.”

Machan added that Rich has pledged to serve no more than two terms in the U.S. Senate.

– # # # –

Where Now, America?


With the Success of the GOP Tax Cut,
Here’s What To Achieve Next in 2018

The big, quick benefits of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the U.S. economy, businesses, and workers have surprised even some of its supporters. Soon there will be a second wave of benefits, as more than 80 percent of families feel tax relief.

But America always moves forward. As the President outlines the State of the Union, I want to add my voice to where our great nation needs to go.

National Security
National defense is our federal government’s top priority. Because of budget caps enacted by Congress during the Obama Administration, our military has lacked sufficient funding and must be rebuilt. As President Reagan said, peace comes through strength.

We also must conduct a clear-eyed accounting of our friends and enemies. Under no circumstances should we send aid or make arms sales to foreign countries that support terrorism. We must work together with our allies to fight and defeat terrorists around the world.

Jobs and the Economy
In addition to benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the White House has helped the economy and jobs by reducing needless government regulations. Getting rid of needless regulations helps employers raise wages and create jobs, and it increases retirement accounts by lifting the stock markets. Progress has been made, but we have far to go in reducing the strangling effects of government regulations.

Infrastructure
As a commercial contractor and Hard Hat for 35 years, this topic is near and dear to my heart. America’s economic strength comes from its infrastructure – its airports, roads, bridges, tunnels, and communications networks. But like our military, our infrastructure has been underfunded for far too long.

The federal government, in partnership with states and cities, must rebuild America’s infrastructure. This will make travel faster, easier and safer, bring fast Internet to rural communities, and smooth and speed interstate commerce. An added win from this $1 trillion investment will be the creation of thousands of good-paying Hard Hat jobs.

Immigration
A common-sense immigration policy is long overdue. But legal immigration cannot work until our borders are secured, and illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle. Then we can decide who should be allowed into our country, and how many.

I believe that legal immigration should benefit the American economy, workers and taxpayers. Immigrants should be required to be productive members of society, and should bring with them only their spouses and children.

Trade
As a business owner, I believe international trade benefits Americans. But trade agreements must be fair, and I agree with the President that it is easier to create fair trade agreements with single countries than with large blocks of countries.

We live in divisive times. But America is strongest when we work together toward common goals. We need a strong military; secure borders; and a strong economy with good-paying jobs that support families. These are not partisan ideals. They are the basis of our nation’s survival and well-being.

Federal ART Funds for Albuquerque May Get Thrown Under Bus

Lost in the clamor about last weekend’s federal government shutdown is a potential loss of $75 million in federal funding for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) bus line project.

President Trump included the funding in the FY2018 budget that was submitted to Congress last March and approved by the House of Representatives in September. However, the Senate has not approved the budget. Two of Martin Heinrich’s committees, Defense and Interior, are holding up the approval.

The government shutdown is over – at least for the next three weeks. But until and unless a budget is passed, Albuquerque’s ART funds remain at risk. Congress could forgo the FY2018 budget altogether, operating on continuing resolutions through FY2018. If that happens, New Mexico’s Senators will need to petition the Trump Administration to include the $75 million in the FY2019 budget – after they torpedoed FY2018 budget.

This calls to mind another mass transit project: Rail Runner. Gov. Richardson’s administration promised the federal government would fund a majority of the cost. But it didn’t. New Mexico was stuck with the entire $500 million bill. Now we have two balloon payments of $112 million each due in the next 10 years. We don’t need to be stuck holding the bag for another $75 million.

Call Senators Udall and Heinrich, and tell them to put New Mexico first. Tell them to pass the FY2018 Budget, so this time, Albuquerque receives the funds it was promised.