United States Representative Tom Udall traveled to Tucumcari Monday and found a small group of people there to greet him.
The 6 p.m. Town Hall meeting saw under 20 people gathered in the lobby of the Tucumcari Convention Center to visit with their U.S. Representative and hear his opinions on a variety of issues facing the people of Eastern New Mexico.
According to Tucumcari resident Henry Pacheco, he was embarrassed by the small turn out at the town hall meeting.
“People sit around and complain all the time, but when somebody comes who can do something they don’t come out and talk to him,” said Pacheco. “I’m angry.”
Despite the small numbers, Udall discussed such things as the Wind Energy Tax Credit within the current energy bill that he says is stalled “between the two houses of congress,” but is a bill he has hopes of making it through the congress.
He also discussed the Ute Pipeline project that he said he is strongly for “after all people in the dry areas need water.”
The U.S. representative also talked about the need by agricultural producers for “value added agriculture” and pointed to Tucumcari’s cheese factory as a good example of the success of that “innovative” style of thinking.
At the town hall Udall also discussed the state of the transportation bill which has the provision to widen U.S. 54 in it. He said that he anticipates it making it through congress and definitely sees the need for it. He pointed out that it had already passed in the House of Representatives and he had hopes for the Senate. He admitted that President George Bush had threatened to veto the bill, but he has hopes that the President will not follow through on his threat.
But Udall spent most of his time on two other subjects, the U.S. economy and health care in the country.
Regarding the economy, Udall pointed out that under the Clinton Administration there was a $5 trillion surplus while under the Bush administration the deficit approached $5 trillion.
“That is almost a $10 trillion swing,” said Udall.
He pointed out that as the “baby boomer” generation retires less and less money will becoming in to bail the country out of the deficit in fact it will put more and more stress on it.
“We are passing on the problems to the next generation,” said Udall. “Who’s going to pay the bills?”
On health care, Udall pointed out that 44 million people are without health insurance and also pointed out that the United States is the only industrialized country that did not have universal health care for its citizens.
“I think to get that, we will have to have a president that has that as a top priority,” said Udall.