By Allen Weh: Guest columnist
At the beginning of the 20th century, rural America was the center of American life, home to most of the population and the source of the nation’s food and commerce.
The core values of hard work, an entrepreneurial spirit and respect for private property took root in these early communities, and while there is increasing discussion about how to accommodate the changes occurring in rural America today, those defining values still persist.
Toss into this mix a love of family, a deep faith, respect for nature, and neighbors willing to lend a hand, and you have described the important and essential values that have made our country so unique throughout its history — a standout in the world.
President Bush, speaking from his Crawford ranch, said, “I always tell people that every day is Earth Day when you own your own farm and work the land.”
Bush said our country’s strength comes from the loving and decent people who, when they find a neighbor in need, are willing to help them out. “And that doesn’t require any government law. You can’t pass a law that says ‘thou shalt love thy neighbor,’” he continued.
Bush, a Republican, was re-elected in 2004 because he touched the soul of hard-working Americans who, in kind, respected the part of him that reflected their own values. Consequently, 31 states generously granted him their votes. The American heartland stood up to the urban centers that dominate the coasts and elected a president who could identify with their way of life.
In New Mexico, 21 counties supported Bush in 2004. Curry, De Baca, Quay and Roosevelt counties were among those that stood up to our state’s larger liberal cities to protect the conservative values that residents in these counties hold.
Rural values are Republican values. Our party cares deeply about the needs of rural New Mexico, and we respect the contribution of rural New Mexicans to our economy and society. Frankly, we are working hard to ensure that areas like Albuquerque and Las Cruces are not allowed to drowned out the political voice of Roosevelt County.
We’re continuing to fight efforts by state Democrats — who have controlled New Mexico government for more than 77 years — to grow the scope of government, take parental control out of the education system, attack traditional values, and erode private property rights.
We understand that our farms and ranches are best run by our farmers and ranchers — not by government bureaucrats or legislators in Santa Fe.
The next election could have serious consequences for rural New Mexico, and that is why I am encouraging good people with conservative principles to register more Republican voters, recruit qualified Republican candidates, and spread the Republican Party’s message to friends and family.
Our shared values are at stake — in the race for the presidency, the Congress, the legislature, and local offices.
Eastern New Mexico counties, while small in size, are quite large in character, and we look forward to building up New Mexico’s heartland — her people and their values and beliefs — in the important months to come.
Allen Weh is chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico. Contact him at: