Janice Arnold-Jones vs. Michelle Lujan Grisham: “She’s a bureaucrat,” the Republican says, “I’m bi-partisan,” says the Democrat
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The two women will meet in three televised debates across Congressional District 1 — which makes up greater Albuquerque and central New Mexico — to convince voters in the district that has been long considered a toss-up between Democrats and Republicans which candidate should replace outgoing Congressman Martin Heinrich, a Democrat who’s giving up his seat in the US House of Representatives to make a run at the US Senate.
We caught up with Lujan Grisham and Arnold-Jones on Monday afternoon (Oct. 1) after they finished taping the TV program, “Report From Santa Fe” with Lorene Mills.
A former Bernalillo County Commissioner, Lujan Grisham says Congress should work in a bi-partisan fashion to tackle the daunting fiscal problems the country faces. But in our interview, we pointed to Lujan Grisham’s news conference last August when she announced her candidacy when she declared: “I’m running for Congress because our country is under attack. A band of right-wing radicals have hijacked this country, putting the interests of their corporate masters ahead of the middle class, seniors and our New Mexico families.”
Hardly sounds bi-partisan. Was Lujan Grisham playing to the political left since she was entering a Democratic primary with liberal Eric Griego as one of her prime opponents, and now is she pivoting to the center?
“It’s not a pivot,” Lujan Grisham said. “In those remarks I was very clear about the Tea Party. Extremism in Congress has got to go away. Who’s in control of that extremism right now is the Tea Party. But it should not exist on either end. And the Republicans today, you’ve got many wonderful Republicans that did great things in this country … President Eisenhower and President Reagan, they couldn’t be elected in Tea Party districts. This is a totally different issue where you’ve got individuals who are holding Congress hostage who will not allow any compromise.”
A former 4-term state representative, Arnold-Jones has been attacked by Lujan Grisham, who has tried to tie the Republican to Paul Ryan’s budget proposals that include changing Medicare so that it would work more like a voucher system for those under the age of 55 in order to make the program financially sustainable.
“Continuing to talk about expanding health care programs without ever addressing where the money is coming from is simply foolish,” Arnold-Jones said. In regards to the Ryan plan, Arnold-Jones said, “I love this discourse, ‘you’re for this.’ We’re just beginning to to talk about it [the Ryan plan]. And I am ready to be in the arena to come up with the best ideas.”
Back on September 3, a poll from the Albuquerque Journal showed Lujan Grisham up by 12 points. Arnold-Jones claims that “my latest polling still shows us within about three points.”
Here are the interviews we conducted with each candidate.
Here’s Lujan Grisham:
And here’s Arnold-Jones:
You can watch the discussion the two candidates had on “Report From Santa Fe” on KNME-TV on Sunday at 8 a.m., on KRWG 22 at 6 a.m. Sunday, on KENW in Portales at 6 p.m. Saturday, statewide on | DirecTV/DishTV 3 at 6 p.m Saturday and on the radio at KANW-FM 89.1 at 9:30 a.m. Monday.