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The question on the minds of many local Republicans who attended Thursday’s Lincoln Day Dinner is whether former Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., will run for governor of New Mexico in 2010.
“I’ve known Heather for a long time,” said Rep. Jeannette Wallace, R-Los Alamos. “We appreciate her being here and hope we have her back as an elected official … or in an important position.”
Many others in the room agreed, including local Republican leader Sharon Stover.
“So Heather tell us – when are you going to announce your candidacy for governor so we can get out there and support you,” she said.
Stover’s question was accompanied with cheering applause from the capacity crowd filling the La Vista Room at the Hilltop House Hotel.
Wilson was clearly flattered. “Thank you,” she said. “But what many people don’t know is that for 10 years my life has been scheduled in 15-minute increments.”
She explained that it’s difficult when a friend wants to have coffee with her and she has to schedule it in and it may not be possible until next month.
“I’ve never felt as though I have to be in public office to be somebody … We have a governor who thinks that way,” Wilson said.
She commented about the grand jury investigations into possible pay to play arrangements involving members of Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration.
“You shouldn’t have to feel like you need to take a shower after visiting the Roundhouse,” she said.
Wilson spoke of the state treasurer and others employed during Richardson’s rein who are now serving time in prison for corruption.
A grand jury is currently investigating the governor’s chief of staff for possible financial wrong doing.
“It’s not the governor’s money – it’s your money,” she said. “The fish stinks from the head and it’s time to make some changes in Santa Fe.”
Wilson told the hopeful crowd, “If this pay to play doesn’t stop, I just might run for governor.”
Wilson also expressed concern that the U.S. could become the only superpower in the world incapable of building a nuclear weapon.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard the incoming president mention the word terrorism … how soon we forget,” she said. “The president, I’m afraid is trying to tie our own hands and stuff cotton in our own ears.”
America is a center-right country based on survey results, Wilson said.
“Now it’s up to us as Republicans to articulate what it is we stand for … We believe that family is the most important fiber in our social fabric… not a village,” she said. “It takes a mother and a father - at three o’clock in the morning when the baby is crying – the village is asleep.”
Wilson currently serves on an advisory board to large defense and intelligence institutions, work that she told the crowd she enjoys very much.
Wilson is a longtime friend of retired Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. She mentioned having coffee with him Wednesday and said he sends his greetings to everyone in Los Alamos.
Thursday’s dinner was hosted by the Los Alamos Republican Party. Chairman Ron Dolin reflected on the Party’s last two years of activities. Former Rep. Bill Redmond gave the invocation and benediction. President JoAnn Johnson of the Los Alamos Federated Republican Women led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The local GOP will hold its 2009 County Convention at 7 p.m., April 2 at Trinity on the Hill Church.