Easley and Miller racking up the miles in their race for the Roundhouse
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“The district is oddly shaped,” Miller said. “It’s a lot territory to cover.”
Easley agrees. “A lot of it boils down to a question of getting to know each other,” he said.
A reapportioned House District 50 is one of the weirdest-looking in New Mexico, covering some 110 miles that stretches into the Eldorado subdivision in Santa Fe County to suburbs, extending way over in Valencia County, into parts of Torrance County as well as one precinct in Bernalillo County. It encompasses rural and ranching communities and while it includes the town of Mountainair, the district’s borders split the towns of Stanley and Moriarty.
The district is shaped like two rectangular globs attached by an umbilical cord. Here’s a look:
“We are different fundamentally on a number of issues,” Easley told Capitol Report New Mexico in a telephone interview Wednesday (Oct. 31). “It’s like night and day,” Miller said in a separate interview.
The 67-year-old Miller is the principal of the Estancia Valley Classical Academy in Moriarty who’s concerned about the national debt and supports many of the legislative goals as Gov. Susana Martinez while the 60-year-old Easley, an Eldorado resident, owns an IT business and calls for protecting “clean air, clean land and clean water” that he says “in various ways are under assault.”
Easley points to the coal-fired generating plant up the Four Corners area and says PNM should invest in new technology to mitigate the effects of regional haze. “They just don’t want to spend the money,” said Easley, who also opposes repealing the “pit rule” – a 2008 rule requiring oil and gas producers to deposit the waste and mud that’s extracted from the earth during drilling to be placed in a pit lined with protective coating.
“I know that oil and gas is crucial to the state’s economy,” Easley said. “I just want to make sure [the work from extractive industries] is done as responsibly as possible.”
“I want to do my share to leave the state and the nation in better shape financially,” Miller said. “The national debt our kids are inheriting, it’s so unfortunate to strap that on them.”
To stimulate the economy in New Mexico, Miller calls for eliminating the gross receipts tax for small businesses that generate less than $35,000 in taxable income and reducing the corporate income tax rate. “Small businesses are unable to keep their businesses because of the regulations they have to comply with,” Miller said.
Easley says his focus is on “jobs, jobs, jobs” and points to his previous experience as a city commissioner in Alamogordo between 2000-2003 and his small business experience as advantageous. “I’ve been a job creator on a small scale,” he said.
Both candidates also say they consider shoring up the state’s public education system as major priorites, although they differ on what’s the best way to do it.
Easley calls for “more intervention in the early years” for struggling students and opposes the governor’s repeated calls for retaining third-graders who cannot read at a minimal level — what’s been called the “social promotion” bill.
“It’s a good slogan but it’s kind of meaningless,” Easley said, adding he’s opposed to holding third-graders back without having their parents sign off on it. “Taking a student who has done poorly,” Easley said, “when you put them in the same school, with the same staff, in the same environment you’ll get the same result.”
In contrast, Miller supports the bill.
“It’s a disservice to students to allow them to move to the next grade if they can’t read,” he said. “All subjects are connected to reading … There can be extra school time alotted, where these kids are identified and they can get extra help.”
Miller also supports repealing the state law granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
“I believe it’s a public safety issue, not an immigration issue,” Miller said. “New Mexico is a magnet for people from all over the world to come here and get a license … It’s just wrong for the security of our state and our nation.”
Easley said he’s in favor of “repeal and replace” of the driver’s license law. “However, it still has many good public safety aspects” and says a compromise bill offered by state Sen. Tim Jennings (D-Roswell) in the last legislative session that would place fingerprints in a database and increase penalties for those who knowingly provide false paperwork for foreign nationals was a good idea.
“I guess he knows more people have have more money than I do,” Miller said, adding, “I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have.”
“It’s hard on all of us,” Easley said. “If you want money, you have to work hard to raise it … It’s a name recognition and marketing campaign and that’s where the money helps.”
Here’s the link to Easley’s campaign website: http://electstepheneasley2012.com/
And here’s the link to Miller’s Facebok page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/lmillerfornm?fref=ts
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Capitol Report New Mexico, driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, Estancia Valley Classical Academy, Larry Miller, Rhonda King, social promotion bill, Stephen Easley, Susana Martinez, Tim Jennings