U.S. Senate candidates Hector Balderas, left, and Martin Heinrich converse during the State Central Committee Meeting for the Democratic Party Saturday at the Roswell Convention Center.(Mark Wilson Photo)
Democratic hopefuls to the U.S. Senate focused on issues such as the recession, education reform, and turning New Mexico into a “blue state” at the fall gathering of the Democratic Party of New Mexico at the Convention and Civic Center, Saturday.
The biannual meeting included a gathering of the State Central Committee, which administers the course of the Democratic Party in the state.
Rep. Martin Heinrich spoke about how to and how not to end the recession.
“The best way to balance the budget is to put America back to work,” Heinrich said. “I believe we should be a nation that makes things again.”
Heinrich said returning to an economy based on production will not happen by selling out to companies that base their work on the lowest common denominator or to corporations that send jobs overseas.
Heinrich also adamantly spoke about turning around the current state of affairs in New Mexico by making it a blue state — one in which Democratic candidates prevail. He said he wants to “turn New Mexico blue from corner to corner and border to border.” Speaking directly to the crowd, he said, “The eyes of the nation are upon you. The country is counting on you to get it right.”
Hector Balderas, currently the state auditor but running for the U.S. Senate, referred to corporate tax loopholes as offensive.
“We should all be playing under one set of rules,” Balderas said. “They want to cut Medicare, … Medicaid (and) food stamps. People that are already struggling will have to pay. … That’s just plain wrong.”
Balderas also spoke of public education, stating that half of third-graders cannot read and that there are not enough teachers in the schools. He said Hispanics and blacks are struggling with increased drop out rates.
“We can do better,” Balderas said, calling the current issues with schools a “black eye on the educational system.
“We need to make sure dollars are going into the classrooms,” he said.
Evelyn Madrid Erhard from Las Cruces plans to run against U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce. She said being able to reach a consensus across party lines is important to her, and is something, she said, the Tea Party is unwilling to do.
“(Pearce) is supported by the Tea Party,” she said. “They will not sit down at a table to make a good decision. … We can’t have that.”
Erhard said she feels she is concerned with the issues that matter the most, such as good public education, increasing jobs and clean, renewable energy.