Alibi V.21 No.20 • May 17-23, 2012 

Primary Election Guide 2012

United States Senator

Democrat candidates

Salary: $174,000/year

Term: Six years

Tasks: Drafts and votes on legislation

Martin Heinrich Hector Balderas
Background: He's about to complete his second term in Congress and is on the Armed Services Committee. He was an Albuquerque City Councilor for four years. Background: He served as a state representative for one term. He was elected as state auditor in 2006 and holds that position today.

Jobs: Heinrich wants to bolster New Mexico's intellectual assets—the labs and the universities—so they put people to work. Science and technology parks in our state mean high-quality jobs. He'd like to see the public and private sector forge partnerships. He supports a more equitable tax structure that spreads responsibility across income levels. He'd also like to close loopholes for corporations that send jobs to other countries. Jobs: Creating work opportunities can be accomplished by investing in education—particularly head-start and early education programs. He'd offer tax credits to small businesses for hiring veterans and the unemployed. Investing in rebuilding schools, bridges and roads would provide immediate jobs, too, he says.
Immigration: He says we've got to reform the system and pass the Dream Act, which allows undocumented immigrant students to remain in the States. We also need to offer visas to people who use our education system to obtain upper-level college degrees. The U.S. should sort the narco-traffickers from the people whose only crime is being in the country illegally. Immigration: To be competitive on the global stage, we have to confront our immigration challenges, Balderas says. "It's a black eye that we have not passed the Dream Act in 10 years," he adds. He believes the borders must be secured and criminals must be deported, but Congress has failed to understand how important immigration is to building the economy.
Citizens United: There are no super PACs working on Heinrich's behalf, he says. The Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court was antidemocratic, he adds. As a senator, Heinrich would approve good Supreme Court justices who could overturn the ruling. He supports public financing of campaigns at the federal level. Citizens United: "We are proud of not garnering PAC support," Balderas says, and big money in elections increases the risk of fraud, self-interest and poor policy decisions. He also supports public financing of campaigns at the federal level.
Social Issues: Heinrich is in favor of abortion rights and supports full marriage equality for same-sex couples. Social Issues: Balderas supports abortion rights. He says he'd ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate why there are fewer women's health dollars coming to New Mexico than other states. He's in favor of full-marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Foreign Policy: It's a mistake to attempt to provide security in Afghanistan, and our troops need to come home, Heinrich says. "It's incredibly expensive to have that footprint there." That burden should rest on the shoulders of the international community. Obama's got the right idea about Iran by using economic sanctions instead of military force right off the bat. Foreign Policy: Balderas believes the United States is overextended in the world. There should be more accountability for our foreign aid packages, he adds. We need to make sure we don't get involved in military conflicts in the Middle East or elsewhere.
The Alibi Endorses Martin Heinrich: He's a strong, principled leader who's great at building consensus. We'd be thrilled to see Heinrich lead the way in healing some of the wounds among his colleagues so they can get their job done. There's no doubt he will always vote humanely, with the interests of New Mexico's working class in mind. Balderas is a great candidate, and he's pitching himself as a reformer. We're just not sure Balderas can find allies in D.C. to accomplish his goals, though we're sure he could investigate the heck out of the place. Balderas promises to turn a sharp eye on Washington. We're glad he's using that fearless, critical thinking in New Mexico. Can we just say ... Balderas for guv!
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