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Small business owner runs for U.S. Congress

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By Carol A. Clark

General contractor Dan East hopes to strengthen the voice of small business owners in Washington, D.C. “Our current congressman, Tom Udall is not really pro small business,” East said during a recent editorial board meeting at the Monitor. “I really am a staunch small business supporter and I thought it was time I raised my hand and see if I can be the individual to make a difference in this district.”Udall is vacating his District 3 congressional seat, which serves Los Alamos and 15 other Northern New Mexico counties, and seeking retiring Pete Domenici’s U.S. Senate seat.East spent the last couple of years contemplating a run for congress and decided, “New Mexico has been great to me and I want to give back.”He seeks to empower ordinary people and to energize and revitalize what he calls, “one of the poorest, worst performing congressional districts in America.”Government regulations and taxes are killing small businesses, East said, adding that there are too many ineffective set-asides today. There also are too many lawyers in congress, he said. More small business owners should be in congress, he said because they better understand the issues and challenges.“I have a job and I’m not interested in becoming a career politician,” East said. “I just feel it’s very important at this time to have someone in Washington who really cares and who will work for New Mexico.”East is owner-operator of Cone Construction Inc., in Albuquerque. Cone Construction is a general contracting firm that builds water and wastewater treatment facilities.  He is senior vice president of the National Utility Contractors Association.“I’m promoting re-investing in America and not by raising taxes, we have enough taxes now,” East said. “Our roads, bridges and other infrastructures are disintegrating at an alarming rate. We have 15,000-20,000 miles of bridges that go uninspected each year across the United States and we need to start re-investing.”East stressed the importance of enacting the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 that are expiring. He also advocates repealing the death tax and entitlement programs he says aren’t working. “If we get people working and keep them working, we don’t need new taxes,” he said.Regarding the war in Iraq, East says, “I firmly believe in supporting our military and I believe we are winning the war in Iraq. He also wants the Iraqi government to take over the responsibility for their people. East described two wars – the one in Iraq and the war on terror.“Even though we might be pulling out of Iraq, that doesn’t mean our troops will be coming home,” he said. “These soldiers believe in America and they believe in God. Our son is on his third tour and getting ready for a fourth. We never know where he is. But we can’t just pull out. The Iraqi government needs to step up now.”East doesn’t want health care mandated by the government. He strongly supports free market enterprise.“Competition is always good,” he said. “Services go up and quality improves.”Los Alamos National Laboratory should be supported in its current mission, East said.“I do believe in nuclear deterrents, but that’s just one part of it — there’s science, math, technology, defense measures — there should be enough to keep this Lab and Sandia National Laboratories going,” he said. Campaign financing is something East has thought about a great deal, he said. While he doesn’t have the millions of dollars other candidates have spent on their campaigns, East doesn’t like the idea of people being taxed for public campaign financing.“It’s disturbing and amazing how much money it takes to run a campaign,” he said. “Even though I don’t have that kind of money behind me — I’ll just work a little bit harder.”East was born in Las Cruces. He resides in Rio Rancho with wife Nancy. They have a family of seven children, ages 13 to 25. Their oldest son serves in the U.S. Air Force and was recently decorated with a Bronze Star. The couple has one grandchild.For information, access www.daneast4congress.com.