By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Ben R. Lujan was the second political candidate in less than a week to visit Mark’s Restaurant in Portales for questions and answers with local voters.
Lujan, a Democrat seeking the District 3 U.S. representative seat, stressed his experience on the state’s Public Regulation Commission, as well as three planks of his platform: energy policy, health care reform and global warming prevention.
In his current post as Public Regulation Commissioner, Lujan said he is uniquely qualified to represent eastern New Mexico’s congressional district with respect to energy policy, and developing new sources of renewable energy.
“I believe that I have the strongest position and record in the area of energy,” Lujan said. “We need to change the way that we are generating energy. We need to bring more renewables in. I don’t believe that any of my opponents in this race — from any party, have taken the positions that I have on making sure that utility companies are going to be held accountable with energy generation.”
As a Public Regulation commissioner, Lujan said climate change has also been a priority for him and will continue to be if he is elected to the Congress.
“Global warming is a serious problem facing this nation,” Lujan said. “This part of the state should be very concerned about global warming because of the agricultural programs that exist here. Changes in the temperature in New Mexico are going to devastate the agricultural economy that we have here.”
Lujan also wants to see significant change in the health care industry, envisioning a single-payer system that provides universal health care coverage for all Americans.
Lujan said also addressed the economy.
Lujan is among six candidates vying for the seat currently held by Rep. Tom Udall, who has said he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by the Pete Domenici, whom is retiring for health reasons.
Other Democratic candidates for Udall’s seat include Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya, former New Mexico assistant attorney general Jon Adams, New Mexico attorney Rudy Martin, former state indian affairs secretary Bennie Shendo Jr. and Santa Fe businessman Don Wiviott.
Lujan will be appearing at the Golden Corral restaurant in Clovis at 9:30 a.m. today to greet citizens.
Linda Uttaro, president of the Democratic Women of Roosevelt County, said she is glad that candidates are starting to campaign in Roosevelt County.
“Roosevelt County gets kind of pushed aside because we’re small,” Uttaro said. “We’re important. We have large dairies here and there’s a lot going on in Roosevelt County that they tend to forget about.”