Likely gubernatorial candidate meets local business leaders

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By Carol A. Clark

Traveling the state on his “Back to Business Tour,” Albuquerque businessman Allen Weh met this morning with local business leaders gathered at the Hilltop House Hotel.

“I feel like Jimmy Carter in Iowa in 1974 where he’s out living in people’s homes and he has no name ID,” Weh said, making light of the small turnout and his own lack of name recognition. “When you’re unknown, it’s interesting what you encounter sometimes and I understand we’re competing in the day with people’s work – and it’s difficult to confine these things to between 5 and 8 in the evening.”

Weh chaired the state GOP from 2004 through this January and is currently considering a run for governor.

“For all practical purposes, I am running for governor,” he said, noting the gubernatorial primary is just 50 weeks away.

“I’m off on an extremely bi-partisan quest, I need 150,000 registered Democrats to vote for me if I’m to be governor of this state and I intend to find them. That’s presuming all registered Republicans vote for me.”

He also said, “I’m running for the office of governor and not anything else and those who know me very well know one political handicap I have is I don’t B.S. people.”

His stint as a party leader does not qualify him to be governor, Weh said, but his business and military experience does.

Should he officially enter the race, Weh will face National Guard Brigadier General Greg Zanetti in the Republican primary. Democratic Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is already running for governor.

In a release before this morning’s meeting, Weh said he wanted to talk to Los Alamos business leaders to hear about the struggles in the local job market and what leaders want done in the future.

“For the last eight years, Bill Richardson and Diane Denish have shackled New Mexico businesses with taxes that are higher than our bordering states, as well as excessive, often irrational, regulations,” Weh said. “All of this combined, drives business away from New Mexico and costs our economy jobs. It’s time to ‘think different’.”

Weh described his desire to restore integrity and public confidence, fix New Mexico’s budget by spending wisely and not overspending, make public safety a priority, compel the state’s education system to improve and contain healthcare costs.

He also spoke of his pro-business stance. “I believe the state should be run like a business in terms of its fiscal responsibility,” he said. “If I’m elected governor, you would not meet a more pro business-open this state for business person than me.”

With the state’s $6 billion budget, Weh said he is willing to wager 10 percent of it is waste and abuse.

Weh intends to spend two weeks traveling 2,500 miles of New Mexico highway speaking with business leaders. He has launched a Twitter account from which he will post updates from the road.

“It’s important that we reach out to every citizen of this state, and we’re going to do that through every possible avenue,” Weh said. “This website will be a great opportunity for us to tell New Mexicans what we’re hearing around this state and how we’re going to find solutions for issues such as our broken economy and failing education system.”

Follow Weh on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/AllenWeh2010.

Weh is chief executive officer of CSI Aviation Services. He also is a retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve where he served as an infantry and intelligence officer, parachutist and diver.

Weh’s military service includes two tours in Vietnam, active duty during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, active duty in Somalia in 1992-93 and as chief of staff for the Marine Forces Pacific in 1997 from which he retired.

Weh volunteered to serve as chief of staff of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team, which was tasked to rebuild the new Iraqi Armed Forces in 2002-03.

During his military service, Weh received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with “V” for heroism, three Purple Hearts, five Air Medals and a Navy Cross recommendation.

In addition to his combat awards, Weh is the recipient of the Legion of Merit and two Meritorious Service Medals.

Weh has served on several civic boards, the most recent being the National Advisory Board, Anderson Schools of Management at the University of New Mexico.

He holds bachelor and master degrees from UNM.

Born in Salem, Ore., Weh is married with three children and four grandchildren.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamoniitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.