NM Voters Face Tough Choice Over Diversification of State's Economy
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A rebound in New Mexico's volatile oil and gas industry under the Trump administration is a major driver in next month's governor's race.
Democratic candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham has promised to deliver a "renewable-energy economy" and 50 percent renewable production in the state by 2030. Republican candidate Steve Pearce also has promised diversification of the economy beyond oil and gas revenues. But Pearce, a former oil-industry business owner, voted against investing in renewable energy while in Congress.
Demis Foster, executive director of Conservation Voters New Mexico, said finding new sources to fuel the state's needs is critical.
"In this boom-and-bust cycle, we don't know how much revenue is going to come in every year," said Foster, "And that's why it's so important that we diversify our economy, so that it will affect every single person in this state."
The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office says since early voting opened on Sat., Oct. 20, turnout has surged, with more than 72,000 people having already voted in the Nov. 6 midterm election.
Since the 2008 recession, New Mexico's economy has been much slower to recover than most states. One-third of the state's revenue comes from oil and gas, and the current boom in the Permian Basin is projected to deliver an additional $1.2 billion to the state's coffers next year.
But Foster said voters need to think long-term, and consider several factors when deciding their future.
"Our health, in terms of clean energy, in terms of bringing good, clean energy jobs into the state - and not just putting all of our eggs into the oil and gas basket,” she said.
There are more than 1.2 million registered voters in the state. Democrats make up about 45 percent, Republicans 30 percent, and Independents 22 percent.
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