Editor’s note: Incumbent Keith Gardner is seeking the Republican nomination for state representative of District 66 in the June 6 primary. He is running against Lucille B. Tucker.
Q. Why are you running for state representative?
A. I am running for re-election to continue to represent your philosophy and stand up for your principles and values. This includes policies such as lower taxes, less government and stronger families. When I do that, I can help translate your views into successful legislation. I co-sponsored legislation to protect private property rights by limiting the power of government to take private property for private purposes. And I pushed legislation to crack down on illegal immigration by repealing (Gov. Bill) Richardson’s laws that gave driver’s licenses and free college tuition to illegal aliens. I will continue to pursue these kinds of initiatives if re-elected.
Q. What is the most important issue in this race and why?
A. The kind of representation you want. Which candidate best represents your philosophy, your values, and your principles? It is about who has the courage to stand up for what you believe in Santa Fe. This can include opposing liberal ideas, and opposing Gov. Richardson when he is wrong, such as on cutting the gas tax, on increased motor vehicle fees and many other issues. It also means having the judgment and common sense to support the governor when he is right, on income tax cuts for example. I believe this common sense, balanced approach to government is the kind of representation the good people of Roosevelt County want.
Q. What are your views on a statewide minimum wage?
A. I believe we should let the Federal Government set the minimum wage. We are a small, business-based economy in New Mexico and an increase in minimum wage will drive jobs out of our state. It does not address poverty as intended but will actually make the situation worse by making New Mexico less competitive with our neighbors. We should concentrate on attracting high-paying jobs, rather than arguing over the minimum wage.
Q. What do you believe the state legislature should do to alleviate funding crunches in the schools?
A. The education bureaucracy is eating up more and more of our tax dollars that should be spent in the classroom. Gov. Richardson raided our children’s Permanent School Fund, but we still find ourselves in a crunch. That’s why I support efforts to get more money out of the bureaucracy and into the classroom where it can make a difference in the form of teacher pay raises, improved school buildings and computers, and better learning materials for our students. I also believe education reform must include higher standards for our students and increased accountability for our schools.
Q. How will you work to bring project funding to Roosevelt County?
A. I have worked very hard to bring project funding back to Roosevelt County over the past two years. In fact, I have been able to bring more than $1.5 million for community improvement projects for Roosevelt County over the past two years. I will continue to fight to provide the necessary funding for our community.
Q. What is the most important thing for you to accomplish if elected?
A. I believe the most important thing I can do is to continue to represent the views and address the needs of our community. By that I mean I will continue to stand up for our values.