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Don Wiviott wants change in Congress

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By Carol A. Clark

“I’m not a politician; I’m a citizen who cares about New Mexico,” said Congressional candidate Don Wiviott during a meeting with local Democrats Wednesday evening at China Moon.The Santa Fe businessman chairs the Mayor’s Economic Development Review Committee of which he has been a member since 2002.“I’ve been coming up the Hill for years,” Wiviott said. “I’ve offered advice on the downtown plan and have worked with Kevin Holsapple of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation. I’ve always thought Los Alamos had great heart. It’s a great place for families and it’s essential to the economic well-being of northern New Mexico.”Wiviott explained he has worked on energy policy issues for 30 years, including working with Gordon MacDonald on the White House Council for Environmental Quality.“All of the issues we were working on then are still issues today,” he said. “I’m desperate for change.”Wiviott announced Nov. 19 his intention to seek Rep. Tom Udall’s Third Congressional District seat. Udall is running for Senate now that Sen. Pete Domenici is retiring.Earlier this summer, Wiviott announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate saying New Mexico needed another strong, progressive voice representing them. When Udall, whom Wiviott calls “a good friend and great legislator,” decided to run for the Senate, he said, “that guarantees that a progressive voice will be heard, so I’m running in the tradition of Tom Udall to succeed him in the House of Representatives.”Wiviott has pledged an initial commitment of $325,000 of his own money to the race. He said he wants to help bring the war in Iraq to an end, provide affordable health care for every child in New Mexico and protect the environment.Wiviott is an avid green builder and said he has been creating jobs, building homes and working to protect New Mexico’s natural resources since moving to the state more than 20 years ago.In the mid-1990s, he purchased an abandoned eight-acre site in Santa Fe and overcame political hurdles to create an energy-efficient community called “The Lofts.”Today, the Lofts is home to over 100 businesses and residents.In 2004, Wiviott replicated the Lofts with another green project, “The Lofts at Marquez Place.” This community features cisterns for water recycling with energy-efficient living and business spaces.Wiviott is the son of Navy veterans. His interest in water and energy conservation was cultivated early in his career while working on a sailing vessel.He explained he became familiar with the technology to make salt-water drinkable. He used this knowledge to start a Florida-based company that distributed a full line of desalination and clean-water products. That business grew to service the entire Eastern Seaboard, the Gulf Coast and South America, he said.Wiviott is an active civic organizer in New Mexico. When the 2007 New Mexico Legislature enacted legislation to promote clean energy, he was a leading advocate for increased solar initiatives, he said.He is a member of the Santa Fe Area Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico Green Builder’s Council and the Santa Fe Alliance. He also is an appointee to the Governor’s ‘Our Communities, Our Future’ Task Force.Wiviott’s wife, Kelley Owen Wiviott, is a Santa Fe Realtor. They have two children, Jonathan Owen, 26, and Hillary Owen, 24. The family also has a 4-year-old dog, Scooter, who Wiviott says often joins him when he drives his hybrid car around town.The Third Congressional District contains all of Los Alamos, Taos, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Mora, Colfax, Union, Curry, Roosevelt, San Miguel and most of Santa Fe, Sandoval and McKinley counties.For information about the Wiviott campaign, access www.donfornewmexico.com.