GOP opens Los Alamos campaign HQ

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Gubernatorial hopeful Susana Martinez talks about the lab, education

By Carol A. Clark

As the political season heats up, the Los Alamos Republican Party opened its campaign headquarters in Central Park Square Saturday. Congressional candidate Tom Mullins, gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez and Errol Chavez, who is running for state auditor, attended the event.
“We plan on changing things, we plan on being strong…we plan on shining a light on corruption,” Martinez told the crowd of 100 or so. “This race is so important, even for the Democrats, because if we turn the state red, then we can look to 2012. The nation is looking to us as a swing state…there’s only 59 days to the election.”
Both Martinez and Mullins expressed frustration with their opponents for being no shows at events throughout the state.
“There have been several events where she hasn’t shown up,” Martinez said of her opponent Diane Denish. Martinez pulled ahead by 6 percentage points over Denish in a recent Albuquerque Journal poll.
Mullins said he became tired of the fact that organizations weren’t polling his race against incumbent Ben Ray Lujan so he conducted a poll of his own Aug. 19.
Lujan received 45 percent and Mullins 40
percent with 15 percent undecided.
“And that is with Lujan having a name recognition of 97 percent in the poll and mine was only 38 percent,” Mullins said. “That means I have nothing to do but go up and he has nothing to do but go down.”
Mullins said Lujan refuses to debate him or meet him in public.
“We get the government that we deserve because we vote for our representatives,” he said. “Ben Sr. (House speaker) and Ben Jr. are what I would call the ruling class because they’ve been in power so long…I think we need to rein in our elected officials and we can do that with me – I don’t have any political connections. I’m a small businessman and an entrepreneur and my opponent is a bureaucrat and a regulator.”   
Mullins called Los Alamos National Laboratory “a New Mexico treasure” and “an engine of entrepreneurial opportunity.”
“Nuclear power is what I call the renewable energy,” he said. “I would like to see five new nuclear power plants built in New Mexico on our public lands – that’s the future. We need wind, we need solar but we also need nuclear power and building it on public lands should expedite the process. We can reprocess the fuel and recycle 98.5 percent so our waste can be minimized.”
Martinez said national security is foremost and asked why the lab can’t focus on both weapons research for national security and green energy solutions for the environment. She also stressed education as a major issue.
“Education is in need of desperate reform because New Mexicans are dissatisfied with being 49th in the nation,” she said. “It’s unacceptable to fail our kids the way this administration has failed them.”
Incumbent Rep. Jeannette Wallace and county council candidates Fran Berting and Geoff Rodgers also addressed the crowd.
Carol Clark can be reached at lanews@