4/2 Letters to the editor

State Democratic Party looking forward
The New Mexico Democratic Party is an optimistic and inclusive organization that takes its inspiration from hundreds of thousands of state Democrats, but several beliefs stand out.

We believe the 55,000 new jobs created since Democrats took over the state government are a step forward. We believe Gov. Richardson’s continuing fight to save our military bases will keep our country and our communities strong. We believe tax cuts the Democrats have passed are helping families and business grow. We believe expanding health coverage to all of our children and paying teachers better while holding them to tougher standards is a good investment in the future. We believe increasing funding for rodeos will protect our Western heritage for the next generation. And, we believe our state is moving in the right direction, now that we have competent and energetic leadership getting results.

Following eight years of inactivity under Gary Johnson, Gov. Richardson is using every tool at his disposal to accomplish things for the people of New Mexico. His exempt employees are approved by the constitution, and like those of his predecessors, work hard every day to build a better future for this state.

The scandal in the treasurer’s office demonstrated the Democratic Party’s unique belief in accountability. When Robert Vigil’s activities were discovered, Gov. Richardson called for his resignation and sent state police to the Treasurer’s office to end the corruption. Democratic Attorney General Patricia Madrid indicted Vigil, and the Democratic State Legislature began impeachment proceedings. This is how parties should operate, putting the law before partisanship.

Curry County citizens who believe in opportunity, accountability, and moving forward, and who want to be a part of New Mexico’s optimism and progress should join the Curry County Democratic Party at our next meeting.

Jan Elliott
Curry County
Democratic Party chair

Seat belt laws protect more than selves
The March 22 editorial contends seat belt laws are not like other traffic laws; that seat belt laws are meant to protect us from our own careless actions.

The latter is true, but seat belt laws are also meant to protect law-abiding motorists from those who choose not to buckle up, thereby endangering themselves and often their fellow passengers, including children.

A recent study from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that we all pay for the failure of others to buckle up. In 2000 alone, taxpayer dollars picked up approximately 9 percent of all motor vehicle crash costs totaling $21 billion dollars. That’s $200 extra every American household had to pay in taxes. The use of seat belts actually saved 11,000 lives and $50 billion in medical costs.

Market forces have done little to motivate non-belt users to take personal responsibility and buckle up. The only method proven to improve responsibility is the threat of a ticket. It’s why national seat belt use is at an all-time high of 82 percent, and why the fatality rate on our nation’s highways is the lowest since record-keeping began.

What the paper considers “additional costs on our freedoms” in reality is not only helping to save thousands of more adults, teenagers and children every year, but is also saving many law-abiding Americans hard earned money.

Phil Haseltine
Executive Director
Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign
National Safety Council