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Homebuilder Ron Simmons isn’t running for Congress because he needs the job or a second career. The Independent candidate says he simply wants to make things better for the people of New Mexico.
Simmons filed his District 3 candidacy June 4 and informed the Monitor editorial board Thursday that he’s been notified his name will appear on November’s ballot.
“I have chosen to run as an Independent with the hope of crossing party lines to work as an individual with all sectors of District 3,” Simmons said. “I have a lifetime of concern and connection with all of the issues going on today ... This is my stepping out for my beliefs ... My background gives me the basis for the office.”
The 62-year-old lives in Santa Fe. His background includes small business owner, employer, insurer and teacher, which he said gives him “the ability to do the research in Congress to get the work done.”
His current priority is to make appointments and get out around the district to listen to concerns.
“I’m offering to serve and I’m applying for the job,” he said.
Simmons spoke at length about the importance of researching renewable energy sources. “If we can find the money and make the same effort to enter into energy research and development as we did with the man on the Moon push, that will increase jobs and do many things to improve conditions...,” he said.
Los Alamos National Laboratory should use the next 20 years as a bridge to a new energy source, Simmons said. “I think our scientists and the laboratory are a national resource and a national treasure,” he said. “I want Congress to reset the priority so the lab budget is increased every year, so eventually the lab will become the resource for renewable energy research. We need to be asking and using the scientists up here for this research. I think most people see it but the action on this is little and far between.”
LANL should be funded even more fully on nonproliferation research, he said, also speaking in detail about that issue.
Simmons advocates a national budget priority for the return of all U.S. troops from Iraq. “The most important issue is resetting our foreign policy ... I don’t believe that war was necessary or legal,” he said. “I definitely support the troops ... Education and health care are right up there, too, but I think the renewable energy push and reviewing our Iraq policy are most important.”
The lifelong Democrat said he switched parties because he believes no member of Congress should have to look over his or her shoulder to special interest groups. He advocates the elimination of all money from politics except limited contributions from individuals to election campaigns.
“Law making should be decided on ideas and issues and not on money,” Simmons said.
Simmons moved to northern New Mexico in 1970 and spent 38 years in Nambé building homes. He grew up in the Southern California mountains. His father served in the U.S. Navy.
His mother was a teacher and administrator. The home-builder recalled writing a series of articles with his brother during high school to help preserve the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area from development.
He earned a B.A. in English from the University of California at Riverside and did graduate work there before dropping out to support his family, he said. As an American Red Cross volunteer in 1980, Simmons served as a liaison for military families.
Simmons also holds a New Mexico Secondary Credential in English and math and taught for the federal migrant education tutor program and as a tutor in English and math at Santa Fe Community College.
Other candidates running in the 3rd Congressional District include Carol Miller, also an Independent, Republican Dan East and Democrat Ben Ray Lujan.
For more information, access www.simmons08.com.