If Martin Heinrich is elected to serve as our congressperson for the First Congressional District, New Mexico would gain a moderate progressive in a seat that’s held a hard-right conservative for the last decade.
Heinrich’s reasonably new to the political landscape. He was elected to the Albuquerque City Council in 2003 and served a four-year term (including one year as Council president). He chose not to run again last year in order to pursue larger ambitions. But during his tenure on the Council, Heinrich managed to accomplish what few councilors could: He created and pushed through important socially and environmentally minded legislation; he refused to bow down to the Mayor’s Office; he reached across party lines; and he garnered himself an avid base. It is his experience on the Council that gives us confidence in his abilities as a leader and a creative and open-minded thinker—qualities this country craves in an elected official.
Heinrich is known for his environmental record, supporting legislation that protected the Ojito Wilderness and Valle Vidal. He was also one of three councilors that introduced a plan to make the city’s building code more energy efficient. If Heinrich were our congressperson, he would continue to push alternative energy and environmental legislation. In his campaign, he refers to an eight-point plan that includes drilling domestic oil on a case-by-case basis; cutting oil company tax breaks; and encouraging solar, wind, geothermal and research for safer nuclear power.
It is his experience on the Council that gives us confidence in his abilities as a leader and a creative and open-minded thinker—qualities this country craves in an elected official.
As congressperson, Heinrich would support a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq and a middle-class tax cut. He would also work to pass the State Children's Health Insurance Program bill (SCHIP) that President Bush vetoed, which would have extended medical coverage to nearly 30,000 New Mexico children. He would also vote for requiring pharmaceutical corporations to negotiate prices with Congress, opening up Medicare to younger people, and "incentivizing prevention and early intervention."
Heinrich doesn’t have as many of the finer points of his proposed legislation fleshed out as we’d like, but we believe in his abilities, his bipartisanship and his conscience. He’s shown that he listens to his constituents. We trust him. And with that, we enthusiastically give Martin Heinrich our full endorsement.
If Sheriff Darren White was elected to Congress, we would have a congressperson with a tattoo of Ronald Reagan’s face on his calf. The point may seem trivial, but it also serves as a model for what White mostly has going for him: his likability (even if you don’t like Reagan, you’ve got to be at least amused by seeing his face imprinted on someone’s leg).
If Sheriff Darren White was elected to Congress, we would have a congressperson with a tattoo of Ronald Reagan’s face on his calf.
White has a charming, firm-handshake persona. He earned points with us when he ran for re-election as Bernalillo County Sheriff in 2006. Despite being in a race he would easily win (his opponent was a 26-year-old security guard who refused to campaign or return any phone calls from most media), White came in for his endorsement interview with a severe case of laryngitis. He had to whisper through the entire hour but was still congenial, thoughtful and well-reasoned in his answers. He easily won our endorsement that year.
But this race is different. White’s still a likable guy (he was the lead singer in The Force, APD’s all-star anti-drugs rock band, after all), but he just doesn’t have the experience needed for this position. He was an Albuquerque police officer for eight years, and he spent five years as the secretary of the Department of Public Safety under Gov. Gary Johnson. He’s been Bernalillo County Sheriff since 2002. Those positions, while esteemed, don’t necessarily translate to Congress.
White says he supports a comprehensive energy policy, but he only explains what that is in broad, general terms. He is in favor of potentially drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He doesn’t believe it’s time for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq. He doesn’t support a national health care system but thinks small businesses should be able to pool to buy insurance. White is adamant about lowering taxes—he touts ideas such as increasing per-child tax credits from $1,000 to $1,250 and giving a tax benefit to those who buy their own insurance.
In the end, White’s not a bad guy. He might make a decent congressperson, but we disagree with many of his policy stances. Don’t elect him, but do ask him for a peek of that tattoo.
Job Description: The federal representative for New Mexicans living in the first Congressional district. Drafts and votes on legislation.
Term: Two years (no term limit)
Martin Heinrich, Democrat
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