Republican U.S. Congres-sional candidate Steve Pearce hammered home four main points during an interview at the News-Bulletin this week.
“Water, education, jobs and defense” are the main issues that Pearce will emphasize in his election race against Democrat John Arthur Smith. With Republicans currently controlling 13 more positions in the House of Representatives than Democrats, Pearce’s campaign has received national recognition.
Pearce is seeking election to the Congressional seat in southern New Mexico’s 2nd District, left open with the retirement of Rep. Joe Skeen (R-N.M.).
“We’ve got to protect our water, improve our education,” Pearce said. “We’ve got to have jobs for those people, when we improve the education,” and technology will be the key to putting more New Mexicans back to work, according to Pearce.
The 54-year-old resident of Hobbs recently obtained endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AGPAC, the political action committee that represents members of The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.
“One of the things that we’ve got to do in the next 10 years is harness the technology revolution for New Mexico,” Pearce said. “If we miss on technology, then there are not many new economies coming at us.”
Pearce, first elected to the state legislature in 1996, owns a fishing and rental company called Lea Fishing Tools Inc. While serving as a state reprensentative, Pearce averaged a 96 percent pro-small-business voting record, compared to 71 percent for his Democratic opponent, as calculated by the organization and, for that reason, the NFIB gave its endorsement.
When asked about future jobs for Valencia County, Pearce replied, “That’s where technology comes in. If we were to get high-speed Internet access, people would live here and telecommute to Washington, D.C., or San Francisco.”
As an example, Pearce mentioned a man he met at one of his speeches in Truth or Consequences who telecommutes to Ohio.
“He said ‘I live here, because I like the style of life here,'” Pearce said.
From his experience on the state legislature, Pearce said he knows why companies want to come to New Mexico.
“They want to come here, because our work force is generally hard working,” Pearce said. “The quality of life here attracts a lot of companies.”
Some of the reasons companies do not want to relocate to New Mexico are the education level and high taxes.
“The overwhelming reason they don’t is that they say our students require more training than students in neighboring states,” Pearce said. “They feel like our taxes are too high here. Those are the things that keep companies from coming in.”
Pearce has already obtained Skeen’s endorsement, and Skeen urged citizens living in the 2nd District to vote for Pearce.
“He knows how you live and how you think, and he will be an effective representative in Congress,” Skeen said.
Familiarity with agriculture began early for Pearce while he was president of his local Hobbs’ 4-H Club for five years. As a state representative, Pearce served on the agriculture and water committee and said he fought to protect individual water and property rights.
Pearce noted that, if elected, he has some of the same interests as Skeen, such as appropriations, agriculture and defense. He said he would love to be part of budget appropriations, as he was on the state legislature.
“Agriculture is also very important,” Pearce said. “I would get to deal quite a lot with the water issue.”