Candidates participate in league forum

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ Staff Writer

U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, R-N.M. and Tom Udall, D-N.M., offered different takes on how the federal government could help municipalities with issues such as water and infrastructure during a forum Friday at the Clovis Civic Center.

Pearce said competition for federal resources is too stiff for communities to depend on the federal government. Udall said he would work to bring federal resources to help New Mexico communities address their problems.

Pearce and Udall were part of a New Mexico congressional candidate forum broadcast live by KENW-TV live Friday from the Clovis Civic Center.

Candidates had an eight-minute window to speak on several topics ranging from water to immigration reform to reducing gang and criminal activity in the state.

Part of the New Mexico Municipal League conference, the forum will be rebroadcast 8 p.m. Monday on KENW, according to General Manager Duane Ryan.

Pearce and Udall, who are running for Pete Domenici’s Senate seat in the Nov. 4 election, talked about how they would address issues in the Senate. Domenici is stepping down for health reasons.

Pearce said issues such as funding water sources and criminal violence should be handled locally.

“No one is coming from Washington, (D.C.) to save you,” he said.

He said he would help municipalities find solutions without depending on the federal government.

Pearce also advocated tightening the country’s borders and reforming immigration laws to speed up the process for immigrants to come into the country legally.

Udall said problems in water quality and infrastructure stem from federal mandates without support from the government.

“(The federal legislature) should be willing to step up to the plate and put the resources there,” he said.

Udall also said he would work to change tax policies to keep jobs in the country to help the middle class.

Four candidates running for the 3rd Congressional District, which is being vacated by Udall.

Republican Dan East said he would work to curb wasteful government spending and invest federal funds in state water projects, roads and highways.

“I will fight wasteful government spending and wasteful government dollars that do not provide a value back to the American taxpayer,” he said.

He said investing in the state and lowering taxes would create jobs.

On immigration, he said laws need to be fixed and borders need tighter security.

Independent candidate Carol Miller used her time to answer the municipal league’s question about strengthening the partnership between the federal government and municipalities.

She said it’s not a question about strengthening the partnership but creating one. She said building a relationship between municipalities and the federal government would address issues such as infrastructure, health care and water.

Democrat Ben R. Lujan spoke about working with municipalities to help address issues such as water, infrastructure and health care.

He promised an open-door policy with his constituents.

Independent Ron Simmons proposed a state-run health care system and increasing border security.

He favored funding municipalities with block grants they can use however they wish.