In a very civil debate held last evening by the local public broadcasting station candidates for the northern congressional district debated the major issues facing both our country and our state. Topics covered were: No child left behind, taxes, the environment, and healthcare.
When it came to “No Child Left Behind” both candidates agree that the current system of teaching to the test had resulted in total failure. Congressman Lujan pointed out that teaching to the test had caused damaged to our educational system nationally. Mullins who had work with a private school also pointed out that when tried by a privately run school that it was an unworkable test. Congressman Lujan was quick to stand up for affordable public education for all of our children and would not back down on the issue. Mullins supported private schools that would only end up increasing the amount of Educational administration and therefore his policy would take money from the classroom which could only harm middle class children and their hope to better this country in the future.
Taxes was a problem revisited by three questions on the issue. Mullins is supporting an old idea first studied by the Bush Administration. The system would create a flat tax for all. As Congressman Lujan pointed out a number of times that this approach would raise taxes for the middle class by from as mush as 23% to close to 50% while reducing taxes for the very rich which Mullins was quick to defend. Mullins was very supportive of that upper class group and would be a protector of the very rich by supporting pure capitalism at the cost of raising the middle class taxes.
When it comes to the environment the issue of energy came up. Mullins is a denier of changes caused by pollution and a strong supporter of the oil companies. He would reduce or do away with laws that protect the environment which would result in harm to our children’s health. He would support laws that would allow large foreign oil companies to pollute our ground water in this state. Congressman Lujan is approaching this issue with common senses. He wants to use our national labs to promote new technologies that could allow us to use many different types of national energy resources safely in this state and around the country. Congressman Lujan’s approach has increased the number of jobs at our national labs which is good for the state economy. Congressman Lujan is working to make New Mexico a new center of clean green energy. Mullins was right when he pointed out that our state’s economy is based on the permanent fund which is provide by revenues supplied by the oil companies. Until our state finds a new source of revenues any harm to the oil companies will result in loss revenues that support things like education, law enforcement, and health care in this state. Clearly our next governor needs to work out a way to tax new energy sources so that our state does not go bankrupt.
Last was healthcare reform. Mullins would roll back healthcare reform taking away any hope that the middle class would have in being able to afford healthcare insurance for their families. We all know that the current bill is by no means perfect and does need changes but a step back to the past that would allow large profits for the healthcare companies would only be harmful at this point in time. Congressman Lujan is working hard to make sure that his district is protected in the process of reform. He made sure to stand up for rural areas by getting funding for technologies for those small hospitals and healthcare centers.
All in all I would say that Congressman Lujan clearly showed that he is a skilled congressman for our state and a strong defender of the voting public. So while there were no single got you moment in last evening’s debate Congressman Lujan was the winner by a strong measure of common sense approaches to issue facing our state and our nation.