My fellow New Mexico Democrats, in this vital election, let us choose integrity over compromise.
The next U.S. senator from New Mexico will shape America’s destiny and can help transform our lives. Consider what’s possible: Primarily by investing in early childhood, K-12, and higher education as well as job training, we can share in new opportunities, in new prosperity, and in millions of new high-paying jobs. And we can balance the federal budget within six years.
But the closer we look the clearer it becomes: Here in New Mexico, only one Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate can meet the challenge of this moment in history. This candidate’s name? Hector Balderas.
Martin Heinrich ignores education. Hector Balderas understands that education is the number one factor in the economy, jobs, and wages. He will make education his top priority in the U.S. Senate and he offers us bold progress on education. This makes Balderas the better choice both on education and on job creation – the two foundational issues of our time.
The federal deficit that grew so much while Heather Wilson was voting in Congress has been vastly exceeded during Martin Heinrich’s tenure. Both his votes and his indifference must lead us to question his commitment to avoiding a Greek-style national bankruptcy. The Wilson-Heinrich deficit will not be reduced in the future by Ms. Wilson or Mr. Heinrich.
Hector Balderas offers us real progress on the federal deficit. Mr. Balderas is the best of our nation’s 50 state auditors. We can all admire his courage in saving New Mexico taxpayers millions of wasted dollars, rooting out fraud and embezzlement in our state and local governments, and ending corruption in our regional housing authorities. Clearly, a Senator Hector Balderas would be a national leader on federal fiscal discipline, accountability and deficit reduction.
Over the next six years, Congress will vote again and again on whether or not to pass the Republicans’ proposed massive benefit cuts – cuts that will really hurt people. Democrats cannot respond by proposing a $1-trillion-per-year tax increase. And yet Martin Heinrich offers neither leadership nor alternatives.
Democrats in Congress must actively work to cut the federal budget without benefit cuts that hurt people. It can be done, and no one in our country today is better prepared to meet this historic challenge than Hector Balderas. If we elect him to the U.S. Senate, Hector Balderas will help lead our nation on the right fiscal course.
Heinrich drowning in special-interest money
Equally important, we must in good conscience focus on the fact that one candidate in this campaign has taken no corporate political action committee money while the other has already accepted $400,000 in PAC money in this Senate race alone. We must consider the very real consequences of the difference between the two candidates on this basic moral level.
Congressman Heinrich has not yet been pushed to answer what he has given away for the more than $1 million in special interest money he’s taken since 2007. In particular, Congressman Heinrich should tell us what he has promised Robert Raben, the K Street lobbyist who has given so much money to Mr. Heinrich that Raben is now openly called Heinrich’s financial “godfather.”
Mr. Raben lobbies for MasterCard. Are we to believe that Mr. Heinrich is independent of MasterCard after taking so much cash from Mr. Raben? What would Mr. Heinrich owe to the credit card companies and to Wall Street if elected? We have a right to know.
Even more fundamentally, why did Mr. Heinrich make the decision to raise and spend hundreds of thousands of special interest dollars against Mr. Balderas? What is the moral and ethical reasoning Mr. Heinrich applied as he decided to conduct this kind of campaign?
In my view, the independence and integrity many of us admired in Martin Heinrich four years ago have both been washed away. By his own choice Mr. Heinrich is now drowning in special interest money.
Mr. Heinrich’s Senate campaign is bankrolled by big law firms, by big casinos, and by Wall Street. He is now indebted and beholden to those special interests and to other special interests as well. Surely Mr. Heinrich will be part of the problem, not the solution, if he is elected to the U.S. Senate.
In sharp contrast, Hector Balderas offers himself to us with his independence and integrity 100 percent intact. His campaign is supported by individuals who care about the future of this country. He will be beholden only to the people of New Mexico. He can enter office free only to work for the people of this state, without any hidden agenda, and owing neither debts nor favors to special interests. We deserve no less in our next U.S. senator.
And so we face a simple choice in nominating a Democrat for U.S. Senate this year.
We can nominate an ineffective sophomore congressman or we can nominate our highly effective state auditor.
We can nominate a congressman with no clear vision for America’s educational and economic future or we can nominate a proven state executive who will advance education in a way that creates millions of high-paying new jobs.
We can nominate a congressman beholden to Wall Street and special interests or we can nominate a state cabinet officer who will be beholden only to us, the people of New Mexico.
We can nominate the adopted son of K Street or we can nominate a native son of the Pecos.
My fellow New Mexico Democrats, in this vital election, let us choose integrity over compromise. For the sake of America’s future, for the sake of our children’s opportunities, let us choose Hector Balderas, the courageous leader we can trust to stand up for us.
I truly believe that for the rest of the 2010s and throughout the 2020s and maybe beyond, Hector Balderas will become the U.S. Senate’s leading champion of education and job growth. Let us stand with Hector now and honor this fine leader by nominating him for the United States Senate.
Mike Weber Goodenow is former legislative and policy director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators and co-founder of the John F. Kennedy Policy Center. As of this date, Mike Weber Goodenow is not and never has been either an employee of or a volunteer in the Balderas campaign. Editor’s note: A prior version of this column incorrectly stated that Balderas “does not accept political action committee money,” when in fact Balderas has taken a few hundreds dollars from PACs – but, as the column now states, not from corporate PACs. Balderas has not made a pledge to reject any PAC contributions. The column has been corrected.