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Gubernatorial candidate Pete Domenici Jr. focused much of his attention on Los Alamos during a telephone interview from Albuquerque Wednesday morning.
“The state of New Mexico is extremely fortunate to have Los Alamos National Laboratory as a major institution … it is a tremendous research and information source and provides a significant job base. The state should give the appearance and act appreciative of Los Alamos,” Domenici Jr. said.
As governor, he said he would advocate for LANL and its contributions and “look for ways to expand it and embrace it.”
Domenici Jr. held a press conference at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque on Jan. 17 to officially announce that he was entering the governor’s race.
“I am not a professional politician. I am an ordinary citizen who like most New Mexicans is frustrated and fed up with the unprecedented budgetary and corruption crises our state now faces,” he said at the time. “I have a deep concern for our state. I have a passion for handling tough situations. I know that I can steer our state in the right direction. This is why I am entering the election for governor now.”
Domenici Jr., 50, is the oldest son of retired Sen. Pete Domenici and Nancy Dominici’s eight children. They were on stage supporting their son during the press conference.
“The initiative for me to run came neither from the GOP or my dad. It came primarily from two sources, my personal growing concern for the state of New Mexico and the next eight years of the governor’s office … and a widespread grassroots effort from the Albuquerque business community to rural areas of our state encouraging me to run …”
Before finalizing his decision, Domenici Jr. discussed with his father the difficulties and challenges and things that needed to be considered in entering political life. They met both in New Mexico and in Washington, D.C. Domenici Sr. was in Albuquerque over the Christmas holidays where much of the discussions took place face to face, Domenici Jr. said.
“My dad spoke of the rigors of the campaign and the fundamental pieces of the campaign. He talked about the personal time commitment involved and that it would require changing the mind set of being a private citizen in non-political work to entering a different world of politics. He said you have to understand the process … in that world of politics he wanted to make sure I was aware I needed to have a solid organization and information based views,” Domenici Jr. said.
Developing information-based views would take effort, he said, in that there would be significant research involved and experts would need to be brought in for briefings. His father also stressed the need for politicians to understand local issues as well as statewide issues.
“There’s a need to work with local officials, which my father always did. He had an affinity for these people and how hard they worked and that’s one of the reasons why he was appreciated so much,” Domenici Jr. said.
He spoke of his father’s close affiliation, affinity and advocacy of Los Alamos and how he used a lot of political capital after the Cerro Grande Fire to ensure there was no push to move LANL projects or programs out of Los Alamos.
Once the decision to run was made, Domenici Sr. threw all his support to his son.
“He’s solidly behind me and we speak daily about the campaign,” Domenici Jr. said. “It’s busy and exciting. There are so many activities and we’ve crossed the first hurdle with a significant number of signatures more than we need on our petition, which we’ll turn in Tuesday.”
Domenici Jr. is an environmental lawyer who’s owned his own law firm in Albuquerque for 20 years. He has traveled to Los Alamos many times during the last 18 months, representing LANL in renewing a hazardous waste permit.
Domenici Jr. joins a field of four GOP candidates including Janice Arnold-Jones, Susana Martinez, Doug Turner and Allen Weh. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is the sole Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
Domenici Jr. plans to hold a local interactive forum to give Los Alamos residents an opportunity to discuss issues and ask questions.
To read about Domenici Jr.’s stand on the issues, visit www.domeniciforgovernor.com.