June 3, 2012 • Editorial

Heinrich for U.S. Senate (Democrat)

In the contest between U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich and state Auditor Hector Balderas we are presented with two candidates who are already holding important elected positions. This demonstrates their potential for serving in the Senate.

Examining their credentials, we were impressed by both men’s accomplishments. However, we believe Heinrich’s experience in Congress sets him up as the better choice.

Heinrich was elected to the House in 2008. Before that, he served as Albuquerque City Council president and as natural resources trustee for the state of New Mexico.

As a member of the House’s Armed Services Committee, Heinrich worked to save more than 1,000 jobs at Kirtland Air Force Base.

The Daily Record endorses Martin Heinrich in the Democratic contest for U.S. Senate.

Wilson for U.S. Senate (Republican)

New Mexico’s congressional delegation is a mere shadow of what it was just a few years ago. We need someone who can step forward and quickly work to rebuild our state’s influence in Washington.

First we lost Congressman Joe [auth] Skeen. Then Sen. Pete Domenici stepped down. All three House members from our state left office to compete for Domenici’s spot. Now we’re losing Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

Heather Wilson, one of the three House members who sought to succeed Domenici, is the clear frontrunner in the Republican race. She is so for good reason. Her resume is one any candidate would hope to have.

Before serving in the U.S. House for a decade, she headed New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department. Prior to that she was the director for European defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council staff at the White House. That followed her service as an officer in the Air Force.
Wilson’s opponent, Greg Sowards, seems to have good intentions, but New Mexico needs someone with a proven track record of excellence. On the Republican side of this race, that person clearly is Wilson.

The Daily Record endorses Heather Wilson in the Republican contest for U.S. Senate.

Hicks for District Attorney (Republican)

Locally, the race between incumbent District Attorney Janetta Hicks and challenger Janet Ellis has been by far the most heated contest this season. Ellis came out of the corner swinging and has had a lot of negative things to say about her opponent.

The job of district attorney is a difficult one in the best of times. Hicks has had to contend with having her budget cut at a time when the caseload is on the rise. That makes for some hard decisions and some are going to be unpopular.

Ellis has taken Hicks to task for having police officers prosecute misdemeanors. The alternative would be to cut into the time prosecutors have to work on more serious cases, of which there are plenty. We can’t say which choice is better, but we can’t fault Hicks for a policy that prioritizes prosecuting suspects of violent crimes and other serious charges.

Another criticism Hicks has raised is the high turnover of employees. Budget cuts, a growing workload, the constant responsibility for handling cases which will have huge impacts on the lives of people and having to deal with people in highly emotional states of mind equals a pressure cooker of a work environment. We suspect a lot of prosecutors regularly fantasize about the reduced stress and greater financial compensation of private practice.

Finally, Ellis has accused Hicks of micromanaging prosecutors and taking up valuable time by having them report in on plea deals. As Hicks explains it, she’s ensuring consistency across the district. For the law to be fair it has to be consistent. Offering better or worse deals in different areas of the district would be unfair and could encourage defendants and attorneys to manipulate that discrepancy to their benefit.

Hicks has demonstrated she is capable handling the immense responsibilities of her position. We hope voters will see past the negative campaigning of her opponent and allow her to continue her service.

The Daily Record endorses Janetta Hicks in the Republican contest for district attorney, 5th Judicial District.

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