Udall stumps in Clovis

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico

U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said he would make sure Cannon Air Force Base keeps its new mission if he is elected to the Senate.
He said the Special Operations mission will help fight new conflicts and would make sure Cannon has all the facilities needed to support it.

Udall spoke Friday at the Clovis-Carver Public Library North Annex during a nine-stop tour announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate. Among the issues he addressed were the Iraq war, health care and value-added agriculture.

“If we get another vote on the Senate, we can make a difference on these issues,” said Udall who is serving his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives’ third congressional district.

Udall is running for the senatorial seat Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., is leaving at the end of his term. Domenici announced in October that he will not seek for another term after he was diagnosed with an incurable brain disease.

He said U.S. troops in Iraq should withdraw from the county by the end of 2008.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we have got ourselves in the middle of a civil war,” said Udall, who voted against bringing troops to Iraq.

He said one more vote could have saved alternative energy and children’s health care bills in the senate.

“I want to be that vote,” he said.

Locally, he said value added agriculture would help create more jobs in the Clovis. He said instead of shipping agricultural products to be processed into consumer goods, communities should do the processing locally.

“When you grow an agricultural product, it isn’t good enough to just ship that off someplace and sell it,” said Udall, citing the Southwest cheese plant as an example of value added agriculture.

After his 10-minute speech, he spoke personally with people who gathered at the annex.

Udall said he would work in the Senate to make sure the Ute Water Project becomes a reality.

“The Ute Water Project is the future for this side of the state,” he said.

Mark Sweetman, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Curry County, said he believes Udall will be a strong candidate.

“We want a senator who will continue a lifetime of service to our state and never forget who he serves,” he said while introducing Udall. “We want Tom Udall as the next senator of New Mexico.”

Other Democratic contenders for the seat are Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and Leland Lehrman, who publishes an alternative weekly newspaper in Santa Fe.

Republicans Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson have also announced their candidacies for the seat.