Candidate Lujan talks war, economics

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Linda Uttaro said Saturday the country’s economic crisis has affected her daughter’s education.

Uttaro, a 65-year-old retired school administrator, expressed her frustration to 3rd U.S. Congressional representative candidate Ben Ray Lujan during a town hall meeting at the Memorial Building in Portales.

She said her daughter, already $90,000 in debt, dropped out of medical school because she could not get student loans. Uttaro said she has unsuccessfully tried to mortgage her home to get a loan for her daughter.

“I’m livid,” she said. “You prepare for four years of college, but when they decide they want to be an attorney or a doctor you need to find money for that. I don’t see how that’s going to happen with a ($10 trillion) deficit.”

Lujan, a Democrat, told Uttaro billions of federal funds are being wasted on the war effort in Iraq and he would work to refocus government funds going to the war effort to help fund education if elected.

“We need to make sure there’s money for people to go to (college),” he said.

Roosevelt County Commissioner Dennis Lopez told Lujan the area needs federal funding for capital outlay and infrastructure improvement projects.

“We’re getting zero and we really need to change that,” said Lopez, a Democrat.

Other issues Lujan discussed during the 45-minute meeting included the economy and health care.

“I have not met a mom who does not want health care for her kids,” he said.

Lujan is running against Republican candidate Daniel East, and Independent Candidate Carol Miller.

The general election is Nov. 4.