The Alibi Endorses: Diane Denish

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Job Description: Executive head of the state. Enforces laws. Appoints officers. Prepares the budget to present to the Legislature.

Term: Four years, limited to two consecutive terms

Salary: $110,000

Let’s talk about
Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who should be our next governor.

She’s helped create micro-lending opportunities for even the smallest mom-and-pops in New Mexico. "It’s now affected 2,000 small businesses in New Mexico who’ve had the opportunity to borrow money, to expand, to create a job,” she says. Many out-of-work New Mexicans are looking to start their own businesses, she says, and micro-lending means they can do that at a reasonable rate. She’d like to see the state create jobs, not just recruit them from other places. New Mexico must get involved in the green energy economy, she adds. She’s a vocal supporter of the film industry.

For years, bills that would create an ethics commission have died in the Legislature. As governor, Denish promises she would issue an executive order to get the ball rolling.

She boasts a number of statewide educational accomplishments: Early childhood education for 4-year-olds, school-based health centers, after-school programs, school-to-work opportunities for high school students. She says the crux of the education battle is a lack of funding and excessive testing. "Teachers need to be able to teach."

Denish is a longtime defender of consumer rights and has been battling predatory lenders for years—but there’s more that needs to be done. "Sometimes people think this is about just people who are in the lower part of the economic scale. But in today’s economy, it’s actually about students, it’s about small business owners. … ”

Denish has an extensive "issues" page on her campaign website. Each item can be summed up with a few short sentences, or you can click on PDF links to read pages and pages of her comprehensive and detailed plans regarding government spending reform, crime, jobs and many other issues. She also offers a Native American platform, which includes funding infrastructure and supporting the creation of clean-energy jobs on tribal land. She says the relationship between state government and tribal governments should be respectful.

She supports domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and will preserve the benefits offered to the partners of state employees.

Denish strongly disagrees with Arizona’s controversial immigration law and says it creates racial profiling. Comprehensive federal immigration reform is the solution, she adds. Border security in New Mexico needs to be made more consistent in terms of personnel and technology. "All of us want to have the most secure border possible. But immigration and people who come here to work and support their families, and criminal activity are very, very different."

Susana Martinez was unable to come in for an endorsement interview, because, her people said, she was too busy. We called every day for weeks. She is the only candidate who couldn’t participate in the Alibi’s Election Guide. This happens every once in a while, though not very often. Answering a few of our questions would allow Martinez to communicate her ideas with our 165,200 readers. A candidate who doesn’t make time to help voters understand her platform simply has no business in politics.

We also can’t endorse a candidate who refuses to sit down and discuss, in depth, her plans for the state. More than that, we can’t explain to you Martinez’ positions beyond what’s already been made public. When you get right down to it, those positions are woefully shallow and sometimes contradictory. We wish we could have asked her about them.

Every four years, the election cycle dredges up some group of people to dislike and fear. In 2010, it’s Mexicans. Susana Martinez talks about border security on her website, and it’s true that brutal drug cartels are perpetrating hideous violence, though Arizona seems to experience way more of these troubles than New Mexico.

But Martinez’ plan to combat drug cartel violence is built on two main points, according to her site. She will oppose lottery scholarships for undocumented immigrants, and she promises to end the safety policy of requiring driver’s licenses for every driver in New Mexico regardless of citizenship.

Alibi fails to understand how either of those approaches will aid in the fight against the massive and organized drug cartels in Mexico—or prevent them from doing business here.

Enough about the inexperienced, out-of-left-field Martinez, whose war chest is filled by bigwig Republicans, including a Texan who financed the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Alibi is glad to endorse Denish. This isn’t simply an “anyone but Martinez” vote. Qualified, sharp and humane, Denish will be every bit the governor that New Mexico deserves.
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