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Protecting the LANL workers

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Rick Newton, Taos Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in District 3, blasted his opponent, Ben Ray Lujan, this week for endangering our national security and for his uncaring attitude toward the nearly 800 people losing their jobs at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  
Rick Newton ripped the incumbent, Ben Ray Lujan, saying “Once again, Lujan has chosen the narrow partisan interests of President Obama over the jobs of highly skilled workers in northern New Mexico.” Lujan actually said “LANL is not immune from these cuts in the President’s budget”, as though they were only trimming a little fat out of the Obama administration’s bloated Government.
Newton, a Nuclear Physicist who worked as an Analyst for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), expressed his disgust at Lujan’s blasé attitude toward the careers of those losing jobs and the precarious position in which Lujan and President Obama have placed our national security.
“These professionals must not be treated like commodities that can be bought and sold on a whim. These are some of the most well-educated, highly-trained and most sought after scientists in the world.  It could be very difficult to replace them once real leadership and sanity return to the Department of Energy after the 2012 election.”   
The Republican candidate continued, “The CMRR Facility is the key to ensuring that this great nation maintains its deterrent against the threat of nuclear war. President Obama is considering three plans which could unilaterally cut our deployed strategic warheads by as much as 80 percent -- from 1,550 agreed to in last year’s New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the Russian Federation to as few as 300.”
Reflecting on the global threat, Newton stressed “By most accounts, China now has well over 300 in its strategic arsenal and is currently engaged in a nuclear weapons modernization program. Even rogue nations like North Korea could build up their stockpiles to over 300 warheads over time and present a real threat to their neighbors and the United States.
“It’s unthinkable that Ben Ray Lujan and President Obama would abandon the nuclear deterrent that assured our nation’s security throughout the Cold War and especially now in the face of the additional growing threats from the build-up in China, North Korea and the emerging threat from Iran.”
Newton added, “Given the current stockpile of nuclear warheads by the Russian Federation and the unknown size of the Chinese stockpile, it would be foolish to consider reducing our deployed warheads below 1,550.
To maintain that level and firmly establish an effective nuclear deterrent, LANL’s CMRR Facility remains critically important because the existing W76 and W88 warheads need to be replaced by the new Reliable Replacement Warheads (RRW).
Therefore, I will urge the 113th Congress to provide funding for the RRW development program and the completion of the CMRR Facility.
Provided that Congress funds these programs in 2013, the buy-out of up to 800 employees by April 5, 2012, with as much as nine months salary as the incentive, provides practically no savings at all. Congress should halt the layoffs and hold hearings to consider my proposal.”
Newton, who worked as a Soviet nuclear weapon analyst during the SALT I negotiations, pointed out that “Our overwhelming nuclear deterrent held in reserve is what prevents other nations with one or more nuclear weapons from actually using them. Furthermore, that deterrent encourages less powerful nations to negotiate and accommodate alternatives to high-intensity nuclear warfare.”
Over the past few months, Newton has been meeting with LANL employees and Los Alamos residents whose livelihoods depend on the Labs. “This body of scientists and engineers represents one of our nation’s most valuable resources,” Newton said. “I don’t want to see it diminished in any way, nor any such action justified or excused by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.”
Of course, there are many other important missions that LANL performs. But none is more important than LANL’s central role in maintaining our national security through the nuclear deterrent.” President Obama is willing to lay this principle aside and Rep. Lujan, as usual, is following instead of providing leadership to protect New Mexico’s jobs and the nation’s security.”
Rick Newton then delivered a direct challenge to Ben Ray Lujan, “He likes to say he’s for the worker but his record demonstrates a cavalier attitude toward Jobs in New Mexico --- he has chosen illegals over unemployed Americans, expansion of federal lands over farmers and ranchers, defense cuts over active-duty military and veterans’ benefits, and now misplaced spending priorities over scientists and engineers at LANL and our National Security.
“ If Ben Ray is willing to defend his record on Jobs and National Security, let him do so in an open public forum before the media with an independent moderator where he and I can debate these critical issues for all to see.”