Candidate says youth participation important

Freedom New Mexico: Karl Terry Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., speaks to a group of students and faculty Monday at Eastern New Mexico University.

By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico

PORTALES — U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson told a crowd of Eastern New Mexico University students and faculty Monday her campaign issues include the defense of the nation, the economy, tax relief and border security.

Wilson attended a question-and-answer session sponsored by the student senate that drew a crowd of close to 100 in the Pecos Room at the Campus Union Building.

She complimented Eastern on the student turnout, saying it was important that students be involved.

“One of the things that concerns me is so few people under the age of 25 gets involved,” said Rep. Wilson, R-N.M., one of three candidates running for the U.S. Senate spot held by Pete Domenici, who is retiring. “Politics is not a spectator sport. Successive generations of Americans have to choose to continue in this experiment (democracy) … choose to become involved.”

One of the first questions Wilson fielded was from a student on her views in supporting the Patriot Act.

Wilson said she supported the legislation in order to give law enforcement more tools to fight terrorism. She said the act simply gave law enforcement the ability to go after terrorists in the same way law enforcement goes after domestic criminals with warrants.

“I don’t see why we should extend more protection under the law to a terrorist than we do members of the mob,” Wilson said.

When asked about making the nation more energy independent, Wilson said she supported more exploration at home and also recently supported increased fuel economy standards for automobiles. She also said she supported new technologies such as biofuels, hydrogen vehicles and the next generation of nuclear reactors.

“We don’t have to choose between the energy we need and the land we love,” Wilson said. “We can explore responsibly.”

Gene Smith, dean of the college of business at ENMU, asked Wilson, “What does conservative mean to you?”

Wilson replied that she was what she likes to refer to as a “common-sense conservative”
“I trust people much more than I trust government,” Wilson said. “I believe wealth comes through enterprise, not government.”

Wilson also fielded questions on renewable energy, nuclear power, the No Child Left Behind Act and Social Security in the hour-long session.

“It was a good turnout and I was surprised by how many people my age were there,” ENMU junior Erin Griffith said. “Young people need to be involved in politics.”