The Alibi Endorses: Bill Richardson

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

Term: Four years

Salary: $110,000

Gov. Richardson has done a lot of good for our state. He masterminded the ongoing transformation of New Mexico into a mecca for renewable energy. He got voter approval for a secretary of education post within his cabinet to achieve better, more centralized control over our state’s struggling education systems. Richardson also got New Mexico teachers a much-needed pay raise and initiated plans to create access to pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds in the state. His tireless efforts to bring Hollywood to New Mexico have created a thriving film industry here. And he’s been instrumental in cracking down on the continuing DWI problem in New Mexico. Furthermore, his international clout, gained through stints as U.N. Ambassador and Secretary of Energy, bring a lot of welcome attention to our neglected corner of the world. This has undoubtedly been good for New Mexico.

We have to point out, though, just how despicable it is that Richardson refused to debate his opponent John Dendahl in the run-up to this election. This shows not only cowardice, but a real disrespect for our democratic system of government. Another potential Democratic contender for the 2008 presidential race, Hillary Clinton, is likewise far ahead of her opponent, Republican John Spencer, in the senatorial race in New York. Sen. Clinton didn’t need to debate Spencer, but, to her credit, she did anyway. She reportedly did a lousy job of it, but that’s beside the point. She’s going to win that race anyway, and her willingness to debate shows real strength of character and a respect for the voting public.

Richardson will win the governor’s race hands-down, but if he runs for president in two years, this act of cowardice will be used against him—and it should be used against him. We endorse him here because we support most of his policies. John Dendahl, a local conservative pundit who once served as the colorful head of the state’s Republican Party, has accused Richardson of cronyism. Some of his charges ring true. Richardson, because of his immense popularity and financial backing, occasionally seems to run the state like his own personal fiefdom, making appointments based more on his own political connections rather than on the qualifications of the appointees. Dendahl, unfortunately, makes for a better polemicist than a governor. He’s lagging so far behind in the polls because although it’s fun to have him as a candidate, it’s difficult to imagine him as governor. Despite his flaws, Richardson has been a good and effective leader of our state, and for this reason, we give him our endorsement.
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