Alibi V.21 No.20 • May 17-23, 2012 

Primary Election Guide 2012

United States Representative

District 1, Democrat candidates

Salary: $174,000/year

Term: Two years

Tasks: Drafts and votes on legislation

District: Central New Mexico, including Albuquerque

Michelle Lujan Grisham Eric Griego Martin Chavez
Background: She’s has been in New Mexico’s political game for more than 20 years. Lujan Grisham served as the Aging and Long Term Services Department cabinet secretary and the head of the state’s Department of Health. She’s been a Bernalillo County commissioner since 2010. Background: He got his start in politics on Albuquerque’s City Council. When Griego ran for mayor against then-incumbent Martin Chavez in 2005 and lost, he was appointed as chairman of the state Economic Development Commission. He’s served as District 14’s state senator since 2009. Background: He was elected to the State Senate in 1986 and then became Albuquerque’s mayor in 1991. Chavez served three terms as mayor, leaving the seat in 2009. Since then, he’s acted as the executive director of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability in Washington, D.C.
Jobs: Lujan Grisham has a three-pronged approach to address job growth: 1) Develop incentives for small businesses that create jobs. 2) Invest in infrastructure, such as transportation and energy systems, to add immediate jobs. 3) Use resources like Sandia National Laboratories to generate cutting-edge ideas, and support research and development as a whole, especially as it relates to clean energy. Jobs: Griego believes the best way to improve the economy is to invest in infrastructure like technology, energy and transportation systems. To pay for such a large investment, Griego proposes restructuring the federal tax system to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for those who make more than $250,000 a year. Jobs: Chavez’ primary strategy for promoting job growth is based on restructuring taxes. He thinks we should close the tax loopholes for large corporations, take away tax breaks for companies that ship jobs oversees and provide tax cuts to small businesses.
Health Care: Lujan Grisham is a fan of the Affordable Care Act, but she thinks it’s fundamentally flawed because it’s structured around insurance companies. She supports a single-payer system. She’s a strong advocate for seniors’ rights and opposes the privatization of Medicare and Social Security. Health Care: A strong supporter of Medicare and Medicaid, Griego wants to improve funding and expand their range. He also wants to see funding increase for veterans’ care, including investments in education, job opportunities and health benefits. Health Care: A proponent of the Affordable Care Act, Chavez would like to see the legislation expand. He’s also against the privatization of Social Security and Medicare.
Reproductive Rights: Abortion rights all the way. Heading the Department of Health in the Bush era, she was told she’d lose funding if she refused to follow abstinence-only guidelines. Lujan Grisham flew to Washington and made it clear that she was going to take the funding and teach comprehensive sex ed. It worked. Reproductive Rights: Griego is strongly in favor of abortion rights. Not only does his voting record prove that he’ll fight to maintain Roe v. Wade, he’s also shown that he understands prevention is a key part of the battle. As state senator, he sponsored the “Unintended Pregnancy Advisory Panel,” with a goal of studying how to reduce unwanted pregnancies while maintaining women’s rights. Reproductive Rights: Chavez is in favor of abortion rights, plain and simple. He says he’s astounded that the nation is again having a conversation about women’s access to health care and birth control.
Marriage Equality: “Why is the government involved in issues of people’s private lives?” asks the Catholic Lujan Grisham, who is fully in support of marriage equality. Marriage Equality: “I’m 100 percent for full marriage equality and unapologetic about it,” says Griego, who formed his opinion after he witnessed the lack of rights his uncle was afforded after his partner of 30 years died. Marriage Equality: Chavez is also a strong supporter of marriage equality. During his time as mayor, he extended benefits to partners of of city employees and enacted the first gender identity antidiscrimination policy. He also hosted Albuquerque’s first “anti-hate” summit.
Middle East: Lujan Grisham doesn’t believe troops should withdraw from Afghanistan immediately since there are still threats in the country that need to be addressed. Middle East: Griego wants troops to return from Afghanistan, and he believes the United States’ role in the Middle East should be limited until it has further support from allies. He applies the same philosophy to international relations as he does to local politics: You have to build a coalition to get anything done. Middle East: Chavez attributes a large part of the deficit to the United States’ role in the Middle East. He supports bringing troops home for financial as well as philosophical reasons.

The Alibi Endorses Michelle Lujan Grisham: District 1 Democrats are lucky this year. You’ve got two excellent congressional candidates to choose from. Lujan Grisham has shown that she knows how to work across the aisle and push forward-thinking legislation. She’s an obvious progressive. She also comes across as remarkably passionate about her district, the 99 percent and creating a better life for those who are scraping by in this economy. We’ve been a fan of Griego’s since his early days on the City Council. We endorsed him in his 2005 bid for mayor, and we support him in his run for Congress. During his time in politics, Griego has proven a few things: He’s transparent about his positions and practices and votes in line with his ideals. He works as hard as any politician we’ve met, sponsoring progressive legislation. He’s good at setting aside his ego and building coalitions to get bills passed. He responds quickly and thoroughly to his constituents. While we’re endorsing Michelle Lujan Grisham, it’s an exceptionally close call. We agree with Chavez on most of his policy positions. Our main problem lies in the fact that he doesn’t work well with others. During his time as mayor, he continually butted heads with nearly all Council members, as well as other city employees who disagreed with him. He’s pushed through good measures that greatly benefitted Albuquerque, including clean energy and green building initiatives. But as a freshman congressman, he’ll need to build coalitions with other members of the House to accomplish anything. We don’t recommend him for this position.
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