By Karl Terry: FNM correspondent
Eastern Plains residents got their first taste Thursday of Republican challengers for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Democrat Ben Ray Lujan.
The opportunity came at a standing-room-only forum at the Masters Centre sponsored by the High Plains Patriots organization.
The candidates each gave opening and closing statements and each responded to questions from people in attendance during the hour-long event.
Both candidates were in agreement that, Lujan, running unopposed, needs to be voted out of office in November. They offered one liners to that effect in their opening statements.
“I plan on removing the Nancy Pelosi puppet of Ben Ray Lujan from Congress,” offered candidate Tom Mullins.
“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free,” quipped Adam Kokesh in his opening remarks referring to recently passed health care reform that Lujan voted for.
Mullins introduced himself as a petroleum engineer and small businessman from Farmington who has just recently decided to pursue politics.
Kokesh is a Marine veteran from Santa Fe and served in Iraq with the 3rd Civilian Affairs Unit in Fallujah. His Web site says he is a Tea Party leader who has dedicated his political life to individual rights and constitutional government.
The pair answered questions ranging from budget problems, term limits, the plight of family farms and wind energy to their views on the legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana use.
Both candidates seemed at a loss for talking points on what they would do to keep the family farm alive.
“I don’t have a vision for the family farm,” Kokesh said. He concluded that many of the issues family farms face are much the same as small business and removal of barriers and restoration of free markets was the best solution.
Mullins said he doesn’t know if family farms as we know them will continue. “We may find ourselves on some type of socialistic farm system the way we’re going,” he said to groans from the audience.