October 29, 2010 • Editorial

Pearce for U.S. House

In the short time Democrats have controlled the White House [auth] and Congress our nation has been sunk into a level of debt which defies comprehension. In the contest for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, the candidates, Republican Steve Pearce and Democrat Harry Teague, share many of the same priorities regarding what’s best for our state. However, we believe Pearce has a better platform for national policy.

It’s our stance that the Democrats’ plan to spend federal dollars to restart the economy was fundamentally unsound. Only the private business sector has the power to revitalize the economy. Rather than reducing taxes to allow businesses to grow, our representatives in Washington have borrowed against our future to further expand government. It’s unconscionable that during these hard economic times the president and Congress have added to the problem by pushing expensive projects such as healthcare reform, cap and trade and efforts to “redistribute” wealth.

Pearce and other Republicans are the only hope of putting a stop to the madness in our nation’s Capitol. Our country can ill afford to allow Congress to continue its spending spree. We can’t allow Washington to keep mortgaging our future and Pearce will be part of the solution.
The Daily Record endorses Steve Pearce for the U.S. House, District 2.

Martinez for governor

New Mexico is in better financial shape than many other states, but we’d be in even better shape if government hadn’t been expanded so dramatically by our current governor. It’s time for our state to get serious about tightening its belt and we believe that can be best accomplished with Republican Susana Martinez in the governor’s office.

Martinez brings a fresh perspective to the table and we’re confident she’ll be a powerful force in turning our state around. While we believe accusations that Lt. Gov. Diane Denish would continue the costly policies of Gov. Bill Richardson have been rather overplayed, a totally clean start seems like the best chance to get New Mexico back on track.
We’ve also been impressed over the years with Republican lieutenant governor candidate John Sanchez and are confident in his abilities to execute the duties of that office. Martinez and Sanchez would be a great team for getting our state government back on a sound financial footing.
The Daily Record endorses Susana Martinez for governor.

Duran for secretary of state

Regarding the secretary of state contest between incumbent Democrat Mary Herrera and Republican challenger Dianna Duran, we acknowledge there have been improvements in statewide elections during Herrera’s tenure, but we believe there is still work to be done. In light of all the accusations flying about regarding the Secretary of State’s Office, it seems it is time for a change.

Duran has three decades of experience when it comes to elections and her time as a county clerk will serve her well as the state’s top authority regarding elections.
The Daily Record endorses Dianna Duran for secretary of state.

Balderas for state auditor

The office of the state auditor is often overlooked during elections, but this position is responsible for keeping an eye on how state money is spent.
During his time in office, Hector Balderas and his staff have uncovered a lot of irregularities. Everything we’ve heard indicates he is working hard to safeguard our state against the misuse of public funds. Balderas has successfully demonstrated he is capable of ferreting out problems and he should be allowed to continue his public service.
The Daily Record endorses Hector Balderas for state auditor.

Lewis for state treasurer

The state treasurer’s position is not about political views, it’s about the ability to manage money. It’s our stance that Democrat James Lewis has the best qualifications for handling the important duties of the State Treasurer’s Office.
In our conversation with Lewis we found him to be candid, intelligent and highly motivated. As the incumbent he has experience with the position. His membership in organizations relating to his profession also speaks highly of his abilities. During these lean economic times we need a reliable treasurer to handle our state’s money wisely. Lewis is the man for the job.

The Daily Record endorses James Lewis for state treasurer.

Yes on Bond Issue A

Bond A would authorize $7,790,320 for senior citizen facility improvements across the state, including $150,000 to plan, design, construct, equip and furnish the Hagerman senior center and $102,600 to purchase and equip vehicles for the Roswell and Hagerman senior centers.
Bond A would cost an average of 50 cents per year for every $100,000 of a property’s assessed value, equaling $5 over the course of 10 years.
Area senior centers provide important services including recreation, education and addressing the special needs of seniors. The tax increase for Bond A is negligible and will benefit a lot of local seniors.
The Daily Record supports passage of Bond Issue A.

Yes on Bond Issue B

Bond B, which totals $7,082,110, would give Chaves County more than $193,000 for public school libraries, including $48,780 for Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. The bond also includes funds for public libraries.

The bond would cost an average of 45 cents per year for every $100,000 of a property’s assessed value, totaling $4.54 over 10 years.
This bond would support education and literacy and comes with a cheap price tag.
The Daily Record supports passage of Bond Issue B.

Yes on Bond Issue C

The Roswell Independent School District will receive more than $47,700 for the district’s libraries if voters approve Bond C.
Bond C totals $5,100,000 across the state and would cost an average of 33 cents per year for every $100,000 of a property’s assessed value, totaling $3.27 over 10 years.

New Mexico’s schools, including the RISD, can use all the support they can get.
The Daily Record supports passage of Bond Issue C.

Yes on Bond Issue D

Bond D is for capital improvements at institutions of higher education and special schools statewide and totals more than $155,567,000.
It would provide ENMU-R with $4 million to construct and improve the college’s physical plant complex. The bond would also bring $5 million to the New Mexico Military Institute for renovations at Lusk Hall.
Bond D would average $9.98 per year for every $100,000 of a property’s assessed value over the course of 10 years, totaling just less than $100.
While the cost of this bond is significantly higher than the others, it will help ENMU-R and NMMI, two institutions which are invaluable to our community and the surrounding area.
The Daily Record supports passage of Bond Issue D.

Chandler for attorney general

This race boils down to whether the experience Gary King has built during his time in office is more valuable to the position than the passion and energy demonstrated by challenger Matthew Chandler. There’s a lot to be said for experience, but in this contest we believe Chandler’s enthusiasm for going after wrongdoers makes him the better candidate.

It’s easy for an incumbent to become complacent after awhile in office. Routines develop and patterns become inflexible. Chandler can bring a fresh perspective to the office and we’re confident the prosecutor will burn the candle at both ends in the pursuit of justice.
The Daily Record endorses Matthew Chandler for state attorney general.

Powell for public land commissioner

New Mexico’s public land commissioner is sometimes referred to as “the most powerful person in the state.” We tend to agree. The State Land office manages the utilization of state lands — and the natural resources beneath their surface — allowing countless private businesses to thrive and the state coffers to be replenished.
Ray Powell, who served as land commissioner from 1993 to 2002, has a proven track record when it comes to managing our state’s natural resources.
Powell served nearly a decade as a member of the State Investment Council, Mining Commission, Oil and Conservation Commission, the Youth Conservation Corps Commission and the Capitol Building’s Planning Commission.

During our discussion with Powell he made it clear that accountability and transparency are priorities for him. That’s exactly what we want to hear from a candidate running for an office which oversees our state’s natural resources and the money derived from their use.
The Daily Record endorses Ray Powell for public land commissioner.

Ezzell for state House, District 58

For many years we have held a high opinion of both Republican Candy Spence Ezzell and Democrat Michael Trujillo. Ezzell has been a stalwart advocate for New Mexico farmers and ranchers. Trujillo continued to perform his duties as a county commissioner while serving our country in Iraq.
Both candidates have the ability to be a powerful voice for our region as a member of the Legislature. We would be honored to have either of them elected. However, only one of them can serve and after much reflection we put our support behind Ezzell.
Ezzell is still new to her position, but she has gained invaluable experience during her time in the Legislature. We also recognize that agriculture is a key component of the local economy and is deserving of a strong voice in Santa Fe. Ezzell is that voice.
The Daily Record endorses Candy Spence Ezzell for the state House, District 58.

Espinoza for state House, District 59

In this race, the clear choice is to re-elect Republican legislator Nora Espinoza. She embodies the principles of family values, the entrepreneurial spirit and community involvement.

Espinoza’s bill to punish people who expose children to meth received overwhelming support and is just one example of her dedication to protecting our state’s youth. Compared to most of the lawmakers in our area’s delegation she’s a relative newcomer, but she’s learning fast and we expect great things from her in the future.
It’s a certainty that she will passionately and faithfully defend the interests of southeastern New Mexico and the state as a whole.
The Daily Record endorses Nora Espinoza for the state House, District 59.

No pick for Court of Appeals, Position 1

The Daily Record lacks sufficient information about the candidates in this race to issue an informed endorsement.

Retain justices, judges

After a member of the New Mexico Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals is elected to the court, he or she periodically comes up for a retention vote. These votes allow the citizenry to weigh in on whether judges should stay on the bench.

This year, State Supreme Court Justices Charles W. Daniels and Petra J. Maes and Appeals Court Judges Michael D. Bustamante and Celia Foy Castillo are up for retention. All four of them have received passing marks from the New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.
An explanation of what the JPEC is and how it performs its evaluations is located to the right of this column. As the JPEC was created to be an impartial group tasked with keeping an eye on the performance of judges, we concur with its recommendations.
The Daily Record supports retention of all the justices and judges in the nonpartisan section of the ballot.

Lyons for PRC, District 2

We’d be hard pressed to name another government body in the state which could challenge the Public Regulation Commission’s reputation for being a disfunctional operation. Since its creation it’s been plagued with problems.

One of our commissioners left the PRC out of disgust with the political maneuverings which were taking place. There have been scandals involving commission members and with staff. It’s going to take some serious work to straighten out the mess the relatively new body has become.
This is why we put our support behind Patrick Lyons. During his time as the state land commissioner he’s proven to be an effective administrator capable of handling the complexities of interaction between government and the private sector.

It’s going to be a long road to transform the PRC into what it was envisioned to become, but Lyons has the intelligence and fortitude to get the job done.
The Daily Record endorses Patrick Lyons for Public Regulation Commission, District 2.

Halvorson for Magistrate Court judge, Division 2

This is the type of race we’d like to see across the rest of the ballot. Two honorable candidates, Republican John Halvorson and Democrat Oscar Gonzalez, informing voters about their qualifications and staying away from the attack ads so prevalent elsewhere.
We’re thankful to have two community leaders competing for this position. Both have the qualifications to serve in Magistrate Court. The deciding factor for us is that while he has only been a judge for a short time, Halvorson has successfully demonstrated he can do the job. We believe he should be kept in place and allowed to continue his service to our community.
The Daily Record endorses John Halvorson for Magistrate Court judge, Division 2.

Ortega for County Commission, District 2

Eloy Ortega Jr. has years of experience in elected offices and has demonstrated he’s a dedicated public servant.
Ortega ran up against term limits after being elected to the County Commission twice. After taking a break for a few years, he’s again eligible to hold a seat on the commission. In the interim, he’s been serving the community as a member of the Roswell School Board.

Ortega is a proven element when it comes to local elected bodies. He’s well versed in the issues facing our county, he knows how county government works and we’re confident he’ll do everything he can to help the residents and businesses here.

The Daily Record endorses Eloy Ortega Jr. for the Chaves County Commission, District 1.

Lethgo for county assessor

Political affiliation has no bearing on the operation of the County Assessor’s Office. Assessors are responsible for following the law and managing their staff. There’s little interpretation allowed.
Ron Lethgo is by all accounts doing a solid job in his position and is a reliable county assessor. His office has received positive evaluations and it’s performing its function for county residents. The addition of a website for public research during his tenure is further proof he’s working hard to make information available to the public. We recommend that voters allow him to continue in his duties.
The Daily Record endorses Ron Lethgo for Chaves County assessor.

Sanchez for District Court, Division 4

Democrat Jim Templeman and Republican Mark Sanchez both appear to be well qualified candidates for this position. Both have extensive experience with the law and possess demeanors befitting a judge. Either man would be well suited to serve in District Court, but our evaluation gives Sanchez the edge.
During our visit with Sanchez we were impressed by his enthusiasm and commitment to public service. His membership in a variety of community organizations demonstrates his dedication to being actively involved in making his city a better place to live.

If elected, we’re certain Sanchez will faithfully execute the duties of his position for years to come.
The Daily Record endorses Mark Sanchez for District Court, Division 4.

No on Constitutional Amendment 1

This amendment would create a new exception to the constitution’s anti-donation clause allowing the state to establish a veterans’ college scholarship program for military war veterans of conflicts which began after Aug. 1, 1990.

We hold the men and women who have served our country in uniform in very high regard. However, this amendment has some serious shortcomings.
There are legal concerns regarding a residency requirement in the amendment which make it a likely target for litigation.
The amendment would leave out veterans who served in conflicts between 1975 and 1990. This is likely to violate the equal protection clauses of the federal and state constitutions.
Finally, education benefits for veterans have been established as falling under the domain of the federal government. Providing benefits at the state level might encourage the federal government to shift the cost of educating veterans onto states.

No on Constitutional Amendment 2

This amendment would allow county officials to serve three consecutive terms instead of two.
While there are some cases involving highly qualified individuals having to step down even though they would be the best candidate for office, as a general rule it seems that eight years in office is long enough to get most tasks accomplished. Keeping the same person in office for 12 years would likely stifle the exploration of new ideas and prevent new priorities from emerging.

No on Constitutional Amendment 3

This amendment would make changes regarding voter qualifications in the state.
Criticism of this amendment includes the fact that it would make several changes to the constitution through a single ballot item. This is in contradiction to the constitution which limits only a single change, barring special circumstances which are not found here, per amendment. The amendment would also give more power to the Legislature to determine who can and can’t vote, a step not to be taken lightly.

No on Constitutional Amendment 4

This amendment would create a new section to exempt the property of veterans’ organizations chartered by Congress and used primarily for veterans and their families.
As we stated above, we deeply respect our nation’s veterans. However, this would open up the tax-exempt status usually reserved to religious institutions to other charitable organizations. This could quickly become a legal nightmare trying to decide which organizations are deserving of tax-exempt status.

No on Constitutional Amendment 5

This amendment would allow a member of the Legislature to be appointed to a civil office during the legislator’s term of office. Of all the current proposed amendments, this one is by far the most likely to be abused. Our state government has had enough scandals lately. Allowing lawmakers to be potentially influenced by a government job offer is unconscionable. This amendment seems crafted to encourage corruption.

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