The Udalls Vote
DATELINE: Santa Fe—After a hearty breakfast of steel-cut oats and an omelet, Rep. Tom Udall rolled up to Atalaya Elementary School in his blue Toyota Prius Hybrid with his father, former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, and wife, Jill Cooper Udall, to do their civic duty. With no lines, it was an easy saunter to the check-in table where the Udalls gave their names and got their ballots. Papa Udall, who is legally blind, was aided by Mrs. Udall and wasn’t afraid to say he was voting for all the bond issues—by his own admission, he’s a sucker for bonds.
Rep. Udall filled out his ballot from behind a black voter booth, his signature cowboy boots visible bellow the table. He placed his filled-out ballot in the scanner with a smile and vocalized his appreciation for getting to see a record of his vote on the printed receipt. A few friends and politically starstruck voters stopped the congressman to shake his hand and wish him good luck on Election Day, some going so far as to call him “Senator.”
In his trademark humble style, Rep. Udall greeted his supporters graciously and asserted his belief that this election is one of the most important ever in the country as well as for New Mexico. He says his campaign is exhilarated by Election Day, and New Mexicans are, too. “People out there are energized, they’re excited and they’re really going to get out to vote,” he said.
To those unsure about heading to the polls, Udall urged them voice their opinion. “The big issues that face us have to do with the economics and with how the middle class is doing,” he said. Affordable health care, the war in Iraq and the reform of No Child Left Behind are just a few issues Udall said will be tackled under the new administration and legislative session. “There are so many things that impact people’s lives, we’ve got to have them get out to vote and express an opinion on all these issues.”
In his campaign leading up to today’s election, Rep. Udall says he learned just how much the working class and working families of New Mexico are hurting. If elected a U.S. senator today, Udall plans get back to Washington and get to work. “The first thing I want to do is get back there and put together an economic recovery package that’s going to move us in the direction of building back and growing our economy,” he said.
But Election Day isn’t over, and there are still votes to be cast and ballots to be counted. Rep. Udall will travel between his home in Santa Fe and the Democratic Party headquarters in Albuquerque for the duration of the day. Tomorrow morning, he’s up early for a radio interview at 6:30 a.m. No rest for the elected, it seems.