U.S. Rep Tom Udall, D-N.M. said Tuesday it was ironic the U.S. government spent money to build bridges in Iraq while the country’s infrastructure, such as the Hull Street overpass, was deteriorating.
Udall was responding Tuesday to a statement from Clovis resident Angelina Baca who said, coupled with high fuel costs, her pocketbook has taken a heavy blow from the closure of the Hull Street overpass, which has caused her to use a 5-mile detour.
Baca was among about 30 eastern New Mexico residents attending a town hall meeting at Clovis Community College as part of Udall’s “Do Right by New Mexico” campaign tour.
Udall is running in the Nov. 4 general election against U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Pete Domenici.
Baca said she wanted to make Udall aware of the Hull Street issue to get federal appropriations in the fall to repair the overpass.
City officials have said repairing or replacing the overpass would cost between $4.5 million to $10 million.
“It’s an extremely expensive endeavor,” she said.
Before taking questions from the audience, Udall spoke on several campaign issues, such as funding the new mission at Cannon Air Force Base, ending the war in Iraq and focusing on middle class families.
In response to Baca’s question, he said he would work with the city to help with infrastructure projects.
He said the government should use the money it spends in Iraq and invest it in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
Addressing the energy issue, he touted domestic drilling for oil while funding technology for alternative energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Responding to a question regarding health care, Udall said the government should expand the federal Medicare program to include people between 55 years old to 64 years old, small business employees and the self-employed.
He said ways should be determined to trim administrative costs of companies that provide health insurance.
Another town hall meeting is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. today at Eastern New Mexico University, according to campaign spokeswoman Marissa Padilla.