It is an interesting contested race for US Senate between Incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich, political newcomer Republican Mick Rich and former Republican governor and presidential candidate now Libertarian Gary Johnson. But the choice is more than clear who should continue to represent our eclectic, culturally layered state in the big room on Capitol Hill.
Incumbent US Senator Martin Heinrich is the candidate for us, for Albuquerque and New Mexico. Weekly Alibi endorses this candidate and reminds you not to take his reelection for granted. In other words, do vote.
Heinrich got his political start when he served one term as an Albuquerque City Councilor, an effort this paper fully supported. He then bounced from the municipal table to Capitol Hill to serve two terms in the US House of Representatives. In 2012, he was elected as our junior US Senator to fill the political boots left by longtime US Senator Jeff Bingaman. He served alongside senior US Senator Tom Udall.
Heinrich has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri. He is married to his college girlfriend Julie Hicks and they have two sons. When first coming to New Mexico, he worked on directed energy stuff at the then Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base. He did a stint at AmeriCorps and as executive director of Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, a nonprofit focused on youth and the environment. Former Governor Bill Richardson appointed Heinrich as the state’s Natural Resources Trustee where he worked to restore the state’s land and water resources.
The short answer is he is the best candidate: The Republican candidate is nearly invisible, the Libertarian customarily intoxicated with by-the-bootstraps capitalism.
The better answer is that Heinrich has grown into his job as a statesman representing not only Albuquerque, but the entire state. To lose that respected experience at this most critical time in our country’s history would not only be a blow to all New Mexicans, but the United States as well.
Heinrich has earned his way on Capitol Hill to sit on several powerful Senate committees such as the Energy and Natural Resources, Armed Services, Intelligence and Joint Economic committees. He has leveled some hard-hitting questions during several Senate hearings related to the crazy Trump administration’s shenanigans.
Heinrich is also a pretty regular kind of person, at ease with constituents and leaders alike, whether at the state fair or in session at the US Capitol building.
He was born in Nevada, raised and educated in Missouri before settling in New Mexico. Heinrich’s dad was an immigrant who came to the US from Nazi Germany as a young boy in the ’30s. His dad served in the Navy then became a utility lineman. His mom was a seamstress who also worked in an automobile factory. Neither got a college education but that did not stop them from instilling educational values.
He has worked in the trenches as a fellow with AmeriCorps, educating youth in natural sciences and environmental issues at Cottonwood Gulch Foundation and learned to play politics at the local City Council table.
Heinrich has been solid on his stance for a fair path to immigration reform versus stupid, fearful wall building. He has worked hard to protect our young student DACA dreamers by opposing the Trump administration attempts to end the program. He supports deporting criminals not splitting up families seeking asylum or entry into the United States. “I have stood with New Mexicans to oppose Trump’s border wall and inhumane immigration policies,” he told Weekly Alibi.
Guns are another issue where Heinrich rises to the top. He is an outdoorsman who owns guns but supports universal background checks and supports a military style assault weapons ban.
On the touchy issue of abortion, he minds his own business and has said he thinks healthcare decisions should be left to women and their doctors. He supports a universal healthcare system saying, “I have helped stop Republican attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and take away healthcare coverage from thousands of New Mexicans.”
Heinrich is big on the environment and agrees with climate scientists that if we fail to act on climate change it will be catastrophic. He has backed his words up with action by supporting renewable energy use and funded climate change research. “We need to act on climate change. Rather than running from the data, we need to confront the challenge head on. I am proud to have negotiated a bipartisan agreement in the Senate that extended renewable energy tax incentives that are driving billions in investment and creating thousands of jobs in New Mexico’s growing clean energy industry—while reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate impacts,” Heinrich said in a recent interview.
As far as cannabis is concerned, Heinrich has held his cards pretty close to his chest, but we at this newspaper hope his view on the matter is an evolving one. Earlier this year—on April 20 or 4/20 which is the national unofficial marijuana holiday—he tweeted out that it was time to legalize cannabis. Then midsummer he unceremoniously cosigned on to the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act which would remove the drug from the federal government’s list of Schedule 1 narcotics.