First in an occasional series
The Chronicle has been interviewing candidates on their thinking about community colleges, specifically CNM, and how their ideas would translate into their jobs following the Nov. 6 general elections. This package features responses from candidates for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, in the order of their positions on the ballot: Hector Balderas, Democrat, the incumbent; A. Blair Dunn, Libertarian; and Michael Hendricks, Republican.
By Audrey Callaway Scherer
Balderas: Safety, Access
N.M. Attorney General Hector Balderas
Photo courtesy of Hector Balderas
In addition to improving college opportunities and campus safety for students, District Attorney Hector Balderas will continue to protect vulnerable children from violent crime, combat corruption and work to recover restitution from fraud, he said.
The Attorney General’s Office is committed to strengthening the lottery scholarship and improving campus safety across New Mexico to provide students with safe spaces to learn.
“We are aggressively committed to . . . providing greater opportunities for students to attend college,” said Balderas.
He said he will work with local and federal authorities to target Medicaid fraud, fraud against taxpayers, and human trafficking to recover millions of dollars in restitution.
“I will protect hard-working consumers by combatting political and corporate corruption,” he said.
Dunn: Transparency, Accountability
- Blair Dunn
Photo courtesy of A. Blair Dunn
As he addresses corruption in government and holds officials accountable, A. Blair Dunn encouraged CNM students to do their research and vote for the candidates, not the party in this fairly historic election.
“Students at CNM and across the country, young people in general, are looking at broken system- red versus blue, tribalism,” he said. The way to break that up is to do their research.
“I strongly encourage everyone to do their research on what each candidate is concerned with and not vote per party or a philosophy that may not give them what they want,” he said.
He wants to ensure that the government is more transparent and thinks that is the chief job of the attorney general, he said.
But when we do see examples of officials who abuse their power, the job also means making sure they’re held accountable regardless of their party or whether they’re your friend.
“The most important thing I’m doing is addressing the corruption and holding officials accountable to the law and the constitution,” he said.
“In order to thrive, we need an economy that works and to get government under control,” he said. This will allow New Mexico students to make a living, be entrepreneurs and have a future in New Mexico.
Hendricks: Crime, Jobs
Photo courtesy of Michael Hendricks
Crime is a central issue for CNM students because it affects the availability of jobs, students’ safety on campus, and parent-students’ peace of mind while in class, according to Michael Hendricks.
“It all starts with crime and trickles down to everything else,” said Hendricks.
CNM students have trouble getting jobs out of college in the fields they studied for when the crime rate affects businesses coming to New Mexico, and without jobs, people can’t pay back student loan debt, either, he said.
Jobs are especially important for CNM students, because four-year degrees are not always necessary or better and people are often pigeonholed into a home they don’t belong in, he said.
“We have cheap land, great weather, lots of people; there’s no reason for people not to come,” he said.
Students’ ability to move around campus freely is important, he said.
In addition, parents shouldn’t have to worry about their kids when they are in class.
“If people don’t know if their kids are safe at home, how are they supposed to do well?” he said.
Without stress, people are more able to succeed, he said.
Helping addiction, addressing the actual mechanisms and helping people come out of those issues rather than throwing them behind bars or letting them walk free, is important to getting them what they need to have successful jobs, Hendricks said.
He said he wants to establish crime-fighting coalitions, including coalitions to protect children, and believes that currently there is no support from the Attorney General’s Office and local law enforcement.
Coalitions would lower the crime rate and more businesses would come to New Mexico, he said.
With more people paying taxes into the system, we could lower tax rates, too, he said.
As attorney general, he would have the resources needed to share expertise in certain areas where people lack.
Hendricks asks readers, “It’s been over three years, do you feel safer today?” Doing the same thing over again and expecting different outcomes is the definition of insanity, he said.
He said he would like to move forward to a brighter future.
“I would like to be that change.”