Salary: $174,000 per year • Tasks: Drafts and votes on legislation • District: Central New Mexico, including Albuquerque
United States Representative
|Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)||Janice Arnold-Jones (R)||Jeanne Pahls (Write-in)|
|She’s a county commissioner with strong background in public service. Her private business was chosen to run the state health insurance pool. Lujan Grisham says she’s determined to work with folks across the aisle to get thoughtful policy passed, and told the Alibi that she'll fight for campaign finance reform (though she didn't offer specifics).She views basic health care as a right and describes herself as a “reproductive justice champion,” saying that she wants comprehensive, preventative sex ed and access to contraception. She favors full marriage equality for same-sex couples. Tax cuts for the middle class can be maintained without eliminating safety nets for vulnerable citizens, she says, by letting Bush-era cuts for the wealthy expire and eliminating subsidies for profitable corporations. Lujan Grisham wants to bring our troops home from the Middle East, and she agrees with the president that we must exhaust diplomatic measures and seek support from allies when dealing with potential threats from abroad.||As a state representative, Arnold-Jones deserved accolades for efforts to improve government transparency, and she wants to do the same thing in Washington, D.C. She also believes in complete transparency in election funding. She has said life begins at conception, but after we asked for clarification during our interview, she quietly admitted that women should be able to make their own decisions about abortion. She also says civil unions are enough for same-sex couples. Arnold-Jones is hawkish on foreign policy and the exertion of U.S. military influence overseas, adopting Romney talking points about the Obama administration's handling of evolving crises in countries like Iran and Libya. On economic issues, she wants to pass a federal budget and enact a simpler tax code. She says our state could boost employment by making it easier for rare earth minerals to be mined here. Other government regulations should be rolled back to help businesses, she adds. She has said she supports parts of VP candidate Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. She wants deficit reduction to come from more economic activity, not tax increases.||A public school educator and peace activist, Pahls says her humble campaign seeks to restore trust in Congress. She believes government priorities are out of sync: Defense spending cuts and a progressive tax structure should be enacted to increase funding for education and fight poverty. Pahls is a proponent of universal single-payer health coverage. She also supports full marriage equality for same-sex couples. She views the U.S. as “one nation among many” that should respect the sovereignty of others and stop exploiting them for resources—even if that means committing to a more sensible, less wasteful way of life. Pahls' teaching experience means that she has strong opinions about education, and most issues relate back to education in her plans. Part of school reform should be based in the eradication of poverty so families are more stable, she says. And the emphasis on student testing instead of lower teacher-to-student ratios wastes a lot of money, says Pahls. Plus, tests don't yield information that's helpful in the classroom.|
The Alibi applauds Arnold-Jones' independent thinking on several issues, but her ideals are not a good fit for this district. And while we support Pahls' stances, she seems to lack the pragmatism, drive and experience to enact them. (Given her focus and expertise, she might be a great fit for Education Commission in the future.) Lujan Grisham is energetic, articulate and persuasive. She's firm about protecting low-income and middle class families from across-the-board spending cuts, while at the same time putting forth reasonable proposals about weeding out wasteful government spending. She's versed in health care policy. And her ideas about dealing with unemployment (such as investing in education, entrepreneurship, sustainable energy, small businesses and public infrastructure) are well-balanced. Lujan Grisham's emphasis on reproductive justice is refreshing and forward-thinking. We also appreciate her commitment to diplomacy and judiciousness when it comes to foreign affairs. We enthusiastically endorse Lujan Grisham.