When I am out knocking on doors I am often asked about the national election and the candidates. People seem to be focused on what they are hearing on the news and concerned and/or disgusted with the rancor and negativity of the national campaigns. This leads some to “check-out” and question whether their vote matters or whether they want to participate in the election this November. Their frustration is certainly understandable. What many people don’t fully appreciate is how important their vote is for the “down ballot” candidates and their vote in these races is both powerful and important.
While the media focuses on the top of the ticket, the election of congressmen, judges, Secretary of State, and state legislators affects the daily lives of people far more. The presidential election is important, but state and local issues matter more to the individual voter. In this election, we elect someone to Congress to represent this part of New Mexico. The Secretary of State has tremendous influence over elections, voting, corporate licensing, boards, and campaign finance in the state. Judges interpret the laws and oversee the implementation and enforcement. State legislators write the laws for the state, determine the budget, tax levels, and oversee the schools and how the taxpayers money is spent. Changes in the state legislature has direct effects into the every day workings of New Mexico and New Mexicans.
New Mexico has a small population and elected officials are remarkably accessible. Many of them (including me) give out their personal telephone number. You see them around town and they want to know what you think. This is unusual and uncommon in politics and it gives you the voter and constituent enormous influence without being a monied lobbyist or donor. Sadly, many voters feel disenfranchised, disconnected, and ignored. While a bit of a cliche, your vote is your voice. When you go into the polling place, your vote counts the same as everyone else’s. You need to ensure that you are informed and empowered. All candidates do not have the same views, ideology, plans, or ability to represent you well.
I am asking you to vote all of the way down the ballot. It matters! In the Las Cruces area, there have been at least four election in the past several years that have been decided by less than ten votes. Ten votes! Think about it; you and a few of your friends could have changed the outcome of an election. Your neighbors, who didn’t think the election mattered and didn’t vote, changed the course of history.
It is unlikely that you will agree with every position of the candidates you vote for. Unless you are a single issue voter, it is important to remember that we live in a representative democracy. We elect people to make decisions for us. Are you electing people who will take that responsibility seriously? Are they available to listen and understand your position? Are they informed, willing to learn, and have high levels of character.
I have been representing New Mexico Senate District 37 for the past four years and am asking for your vote November 8 to re-elect me for an additional four years. This race and several others could be very close. I have been meeting people at their homes for the past year and will continue to do so through the election and beyond. I would like to continue to represent you as I work to move New Mexico toward improved educational opportunities, protecting our beautiful land, air, and water, and providing for the most vulnerable of our people.
If you have particular issues or questions, please contact me.