District One Congressional Race

Richard Romero: The Real Deal Versus A Placebo

5 min read
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To receive our endorsement, candidates must meet with our editorial board. It's not complicated. We ask difficult questions and we expect informed, detailed answers. We like candidates with intelligence and enthusiasm, folks with a strong attachment to the community and a desire to work hard in the public's interest.

Heather Wilson personally agreed to meet with us, but never showed up. In her place, campaign manager Enrique Knell arranged to meet with the Alibi on two occasions. Both times he failed to show up. New Mexico is nothing if not a state where people face down their critics, look you in the eye and give you a straight answer. But Wilson, in the spirit of someplace else, ducked us. We hope you remember this at the polls.

Since Wilson won't answer our questions, we can only judge her on her voting record and campaign contributors. Based on that record, we see Wilson as a tool of the oil and gas industry, the pharmaceutical industry and above all the fiscally reckless and secretive White House. She is not independent—her votes are bought and paid for by corporate interests—and for Wilson to claim otherwise proves, in our opinion, that she thinks District One voters are gullible fools.

A look at a few of Wilson's campaign contributors—more than $10,000 from Tom Delay's ARMPAC, $1,000 from Katherine Harris (Florida's former Secretary of State who certified the election for Bush before the votes were counted in 2000), $2,000 from Haliburton, $1,000 from El Paso Corporation (which wants to open New Mexico's pristine Valle Vidal, located in the Carson National Forest, to mining and coalbed methane development)—explains her politics well enough. To add insult to injury, Wilson opposes publicly financed elections, but mails her campaign literature at taxpayer expense. She talks about education being her “personal passion,” but she refused to take a position during last year's education reform debate that led to millions of dollars in increased funding and the creation of a secretary of education. That's pitiful.

At the Republican National Convention, she propped herself on the back of a fallen New Mexico soldier, exploiting his memory for the purpose of a partisan speech. Her unyielding support for Bush's Iraq disaster, even while other Republicans in Congress have spoken critically of the White House, don't speak well for independent claims either.

Still, both sides have sunk to new lows this year, choosing to swim in the sewer of negative politics instead of talking about a positive future for New Mexico. Richard Romero linking Osama bin Laden to Wilson is as ridiculous as Wilson slandering Romero by claiming he doesn't support improving education in our city. Wilson, with her practically unlimited out-of-state corporate money will spend millions on these ridiculous ads. Romero's side will do its best to keep up. The campaign has become one giant distortion because of paid media on both sides. People deserve better—all of us.

We advise serious voters to ignore these ads and look at the records and true beliefs of these candidates.

We're endorsing Richard Romero because he offers genuine, independent leadership that we believe reflects true New Mexico values. He devoted his professional career to education as a public school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent at APS. In short, nobody running for office knows the education needs of this district better than Romero. He's an Air force veteran who speaks passionately about veterans' affairs. He rightly criticizes Heather Wilson's absurd claims that the Bush administration's Medicare prescription bill helps seniors more than it panders to pharmaceutical companies.

Romero fought his own party in the Legislature when he disagreed with fellow Democrat Manny Aragon's leadership. He walked out on Gov. Bill Richardson's food tax repeal legislation—with 18 Republicans and nine Democrats—when he didn't think it fairly challenged the tobacco industry. As president of the state Senate, he also joined with Republican Gov. Gary Johnson to allow felons to vote once they paid their debt to society.

Most importantly, Romero is correct to criticize Wilson as a rubber stamp for the White House. The Republicans in Washington have made a mockery of fiscal conservatism, while shackling us—the younger generation—with a soaring deficit. Wilson has gone right along with it. She flat out misleads the public when she says economic growth will fix the deficit. No self-respecting economist believes that. Truth is, the only way to pay down the deficit is by increasing taxes or cutting spending, or both. Romero understands this and he also understands that good paying jobs have been lost in the past four years. Wilson, on the other hand, talks up rosy job growth numbers that don't exist.

Romero would vote to repeal the Medicare bill and change the law to allow seniors to import drugs at a lower cost. Wilson says she supports importing drugs, but her voting record clearly shows this is a lie. In fact, the Republicans in Washington treat our entire health care industry as a beast that needs to be fed—a profit driven system designed for private gain at the expense of the public good—and without change in Congress there will be no relief.

Most importantly, Richard Romero is an honest, principled guy with longstanding ties to New Mexico. Some Democrats fault him for not being partisan enough. Republicans know even when they don't agree with him, he can be trusted. The Alibi endorses Richard Romero to serve the people of District One in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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