U.S. Congress: District 1
Job Description: The federal representative for New Mexicans living in the First Congressional District. Drafts and votes on legislation.
Term: Two years
Office Held By: Heather Wilson, who’s vacating the seat after a decade to run for U.S. Senate.
It’s mainly Heinrich’s time in the City Council that earns him our endorsement. That time was relatively brief—he was voted into office in 2003 and served a four-year term, one year of which as Council president. But during those four years, Heinrich accomplished more than some two- or three-term councilors, and through it all managed to hold on to his integrity.
Heinrich always demonstrated a vast reserve of knowledge and accountability on city issues. And he did an admirable job of never backing down against the Mayor's Office.
These things matter, because we believe the exceptional qualities Heinrich displayed in his previous office will translate into the next.
We'd like to take this opportunity to address an article that was published in this paper by columnist Jim Scarantino [Re: The Real Side, "The Heinrich Maneuver," Feb. 14-20]. In the article, there was an accusation that Heinrich has never had a full-time job. It should be made apparent that the accusation was made, in a quote, by one of Heinrich's opponents, Robert Pidcock. We have no evidence that this is the case, and Heinrich states that he worked full-time as the executive director of the nonprofit Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, an organization that teaches youth about the environment and natural sciences through wilderness expeditions. Heinrich also says he founded a public affairs consulting firm that served the nonprofit and education sectors, in addition to working at both Phillips Laboratories (now Air Force Labs) and AmeriCorps.
During his time as councilor, Heinrich sponsored (and passed) legislation to protect the Ojito Wilderness. He also played an important role in protecting the Valle Vidal. He was a voluble and passionate supporter of the minimum wage increase and public financing. The issues he focused on in the Council give us a good idea of the kinds of issues he'd focus on as a congressman.
We agree with Heinrich on most of his issue positions. Our main contention with him is that we don't think he's specific enough on what he plans to do with regard to those issues. In his candidate interview, he told us he wanted to bring the troops home from Iraq, but his strategy only went so far as to say Congress should set a deadline for withdrawal. On the economy, he said we need to clean up the mortgage market. He's not too concerned with Social Security and says Medicare is a bigger priority.
On energy, Heinrich wants to create a nationwide renewable portfolio standard, a minimum of a 10-year commitment to solar tax breaks and increase research and development of renewable energy sources at Sandia National Labs. Those things are great, but we don't think they're enough. When it comes to immigration, he believes in securing the border with personnel instead of "a monument to a political ideology;" holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers; and he'd like to sort out NAFTA to be easier on northern Mexico ranchers and farmers. On health care, Heinrich supports expansion of the children's health insurance program, requiring pharmaceutical corporations to negotiate prices with Congress and opening up Medicare to younger people, as well as "incentivizing prevention and early intervention."
In the end, we think Heinrich would make an excellent congressman. He's demonstrated that he can work with people from a wide political spectrum and stand out among a crowd. He's proven himself a true progressive. He strikes us as honest. And it is with great pleasure that we give him our endorsement.
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