Hunting season has begun

The Grant County Beat

When I decided to run for the New Mexico House of Representatives, I saw an opportunity to improve the quality of life for the residents in my district by reforming and improving our state’s laws. I also believed that I could elevate awareness throughout the state of the wonderful things people are doing to make southern New Mexico a great place to live, work, and play.

I ran because I felt called to serve my friends and neighbors. The people of my district value life, liberty, and the freedom to create better opportunities for themselves and their families. They believe that when times are tough, state government should live within its means and growing the size and influence of government isn’t the solution to any of our state’s problems.

I share these values and use them as my guide posts.  Every action I take as a state representative is measured against them.

When I was elected, New Mexico was dealing with a fiscal crisis. Legislators were scrambling to balance the state’s budget. As a newly-elected state representative, I expected lawmakers to come together for the good of New Mexico and focus on guiding our state through this challenging time.

But instead of rallying together, entrenched politicians beholden to extreme special interest groups increased the posturing as they fought to manipulate the outcomes of elections and policy decisions. Their willingness to hold the state hostage in order to satisfy the whims of their deep-pocketed backers ran counter to the very values my constituents expected me to uphold.

I believe in New Mexico, and I know we can turn things around in our state if we elected capable people committed to the values New Mexicans hold dear. Now more than ever we need leaders focused on the big picture instead of political insiders who cater to special interests funded by out-of-state political extremists.

As an early childhood educator, I know our children look to the adults around them as examples of how to live and treat others. I worry about the lessons they are learning as they witness the current political climate in our state and nation.

The substance of our debates must change. While running for office two years ago, third-party special interest groups funneled thousands of dollars into a smear campaign against me. They planted news stories about me and hired an army of strangers to knock on doors in my community and assassinate my character. These groups spared no expense in attempting to block my election. I felt like game locked in the cross-hairs of a professional hunter.

Since elected, I’ve have watched in horror as acts of violence against politicians were instigated by policy differences. My own congressmen was shot at while preparing for the annual bipartisan charitable baseball game. Why was he targeted? Because he is a Republican. This madness must stop.

This year, I was saddened to see a capable and committed Hispanic legislator from my party choose to not run for reelection out of concern for her family. During the primary I learned that a female Native American legislator from the other party experienced the same nasty attacks I faced. The leaders of her party targeted her because she didn’t always vote with the party line.

These women are voices for perspectives traditionally under-represented in political leadership, and now they have been silenced. In the so-called “Year of Women,” their absence only sets us back.

As we approach the general election, a new political hunting season begins. I’m told that those representing swing or moderate districts like mine are the prey of choice. Political contests used to provide a marketplace for ideas. Now they have been reduced to blood sport. This is the world purchased by special interest money. Remember that the next time you see a political ad.