Democrats take stage in forum

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Associate Editor

Five of the six Democratic candidates running for U.S. Rep. Tom Udall’s seat made a pitch for votes at a Quay County Democratic candidate forum Tuesday night.
Democrats running for national, state and county offices spoke to a crowd of about 75 Tuesday night at the Tucumcari Convention Center.
A representative spoke on behalf of Udall, D-N.M., who is leaving the House’s 3rd District to run for the Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Pete Domenici, R-N.M.
Congressional candidates talked about topics such as the war in Iraq, the economy and the environment.
All the candidates said they had not taken money from special interest groups and political action committees from Washington. Ben Ray Lujan said he had accepted funds from some labor groups.
All the candidates said they would vote and work with Congress to end the war in Iraq.

Here are highlights from the presentations:
• Jon Adams
of Los Alamos is an attorney.
Adams said he has successfully argued for human rights laws. Adams served as legal counsel for the Department of Labor and as an assistant attorney general for New Mexico, from 2002 to 2004. And before that worked with the Udall campaign in 1998.
“I will end the war in Iraq,” Adams said.
Adams said he opposed the reintroduction of the gray wolf because it hurt farmers and ranchers.
• Rudy Martin is an attorney from Dixon.
Martin said the needs of farmers and ranchers have not been talked about enough as the price of corn and other product have doubled over the past year. The economy is in dire straits, with people having a hard time making a living, and people starving in different parts of the world. It is not acceptable, Martin said.
Iraq “is a war for oil,” which Martin said he would work to end.
He added the No Child Left Behind program needs revamping and it needs to be funded.
Don Wiviott, a businessman and homebuilder is from Santa Fe.
The more than $10 billion that is spent monthly on the war in Iraq should be used to assist veterans, help small business owners, provide health care and improve educational programs, Wiviott said.
Wiviott challenged attendees to bring more voters into the Democratic fold.
“This part of the district is not an annex of West Texas; it is part of New Mexico,” said Wiviott, who promised to listen to constituents.
• Ben Ray Lujan, a New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner, is from Santa Fe.
Lujan touched on the need to end the war in Iraq, providing more economic development opportunities in the area, affordable healthcare, reasonable housing costs, loans and grants for college education. Lujan said it was important to preserve the rancher’s and farmer’s way of life and to make it affordable.
• Harry Montoya of Santa Fe is the CEO of Hands Across Culture Corp., a non-profit agency.
His experience draws on 14 years in policy making, which would be a plus in Washington, Montoya said. Also, drawing from his experience as a Santa Fe County commissioner, Montoya talked of preserving water, providing affordable housing, ending the war in Iraq and funding the No Child Left Behind Act. Montoya also suggested Los Alamos could also be used for solar and biocell research instead of exclusively for weapons research.