U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce was in Portales Wednesday for a town hall meeting about the lesser prairie chicken. The Portales News-Tribune asked him several questions about key issues facing the area, his 2016 GOP predictions, and the immigration activists who have been calling him out through protests across his district.
Pearce represents District 2, which encompasses most of southern New Mexico. He’s running for re-election this year against Democrats Leslie Endean-Singh and Roxanne Lara in the November general election.
Here is what Pearce had to say:
Protests against his immigration stance held in his district by activists, including the organization Somos Un Pueblo Unido:
“I tell them with all respect, I don’t think the policy of amnesty is what the American people want. You all say it’s amnesty or nothing. It’s unfair to the people in line waiting properly to become citizens.
“I’ve always been straight forward with them. I welcome their participation, I fought for their right to protest, but I still have to do what I think is right for the nation.
“We’ve done some bipartisan things with a very liberal Democrat. (The activists) refuse to do a piecemeal approach. And when I’m up for re-election, I’ve never changed my position.”
Funding the Ute Pipeline Project:
“It’s going to take the economy coming back. Funding of new budgets is very difficult. This area needs water and a lot of areas need the same thing. I tell local people, find a different funding source. This is a nationwide problem. How do they (Congress and the federal government) choose which projects are more important?
The sale and reopening of the former Sunland Inc.:
“I think there’s a good opportunity that they will reopen. The economics are there. Anyone who can afford to buy in, it’s a real investment. I was working closely (with Sunland) when it was a troubled plant. I was very surprised Sunland filed for bankruptcy because I toured the plant and everything was steady. I came away with a very strong good feeling.”
His 2016 GOP presidential candidate prediction:
“It’s too early to tell. There’s so many people. I like people who declare their position and state it.”
— Compiled by senior writer Christina Calloway