By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Don Wiviott, candidate for U.S. representative in the 3rd Congressional district, told the Roosevelt County Democratic Women on Monday he is capable of finding solutions to America’s problems and will actively work for change in government.
“This is a year, honest to God, for change,” Wiviott said. “But if you want change, you have to vote for it.”
Wiviott is one of eight candidates and six Democrats campaigning to replace Tom Udall, who is running for U.S. senate.
Wiviott said he has been laying the groundwork for that change in his business life as a contractor, where he has worked to pioneer “green building” in the state. He said he’s also been an advocate for energy-efficient alternatives in the state.
Wiviott said even though on the face his background is progressive, he is fiscally conservative. He told the group gathered Monday that the increasing national debt is a problem that needs to be addressed. He said without sound fiscal policy, the U.S. can’t pay for national health care, water recycling or energy independence initiatives.
Wiviott said he’ll work for practical solutions to the nation’s problems.
Questioned by Roosevelt County resident Kaare Haddeland about the efficiency of biofuels such as ethanol, Wiviott said they weren’t the complete answer to the nation’s energy problems.
“The good news about ethanol is that it educates people as to what else can go into a fuel tank besides imported oil,” Wiviott said.
The candidate said conservation, along with more research into feedstocks other than corn or sorghum could be part of the solution.
“I believe there are local solutions to global problems because I’ve been doing it,” Wiviott said.
In an interview with the PNT following the meeting Wiviott expressed his views on the following topics:
“What you have to make sure of is your budget and how you’re going to fund it. What we’re very good at in New Mexico is not only funding capital improvement projects, but making sure we have enough dollars for the actual operating costs.”
Wiviott also believes most people in a rural economy know how to make the best use possible of a resource. He said that will be a key piece to finding a solution to supplying eastern New Mexico’s water needs.
War in Iraq
“My father served back-to-back tours in Vietnam. Friends of our family didn’t come home. So I understand what it’s like to be a military family.”
Wiviott said it is important to take care of the human investment in Iraq by providing for military families’ needs once they return.
He said troops should be withdrawn from the central areas in Iraq with forces redeployed in the Kurdish areas of the north and probably in the south as well.
“The Brits have withdrawn from areas in Iraq. It can be done and we need to start doing it.”
Wiviott believes a guest worker program is needed for seasonal workers not planning to stay. For those looking to immigrate to the United States, he said the process is too difficult. He proposes making the legal process for immigrating easy enough that immigration doesn’t go underground.
He said employers should pay immigrant workers a living wage, documentation should be in place and accurate, and immigrants should be paying taxes.
Cannon Air Force Base
“When Cannon diversified from F-111s to the modified C-130 programs, they were responding to a new mission. … As long as the mission is adapted to what’s the current requirement, they won’t become irrelevant or redundant and neither will that portion of your economy.”
Wiviott said Congress needs to put the money where it counts most. He said the new special operations mission is important to the types of combat situations the country is facing. He would rather see money there than other more traditional areas.