Former Republican congresswoman Heather Wilson visited with residents in Tucumcari on Monday and Tuesday to discuss concerns affecting the region and country.
“It’s no big secret, everyone is worried about the economy,” Wilson said.
Wilson will be traveling through New Mexico this week as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat.
Wilson stopped in to the Quay County Sun office to discuss a few of the topics she had brought to her attention.
Wilson said the nation’s unemployment rate is above 8 percent and looks to stay that way until 2014.
“We are witnessing the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression,” Wilson said.
Wilson said many small business owners spoke to her about government regulations stifling their growth — especially Obama Care’ (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act),” Wilson said.
Wilson said many small business owners are not aware of the impact this act will have on their business. She said she spoke with one owner of several local small business, who is not hiring until it is known exactly how much medical coverage will be.
“This is going to hurt many small businesses, from growing or even starting,” Wilson said. “This act will require them to provide health care coverage or pay a penalty.”
Wilson said she would seek a moratorium on new government regulations that hurt economic development in New Mexico and across the nation. She said many regulations are overbearing and will impose uncalled for and extreme restrictions.
“One such regulation is being considered by the Department of Labor,” Wilson said. “The regulation would prevent any children under the age of 16 from working on a family farm or ranch.”
Wilson said children would no longer be able to saddle up on a horse and help herd cattle or ride the fence looking for breaks unless they were 16 years old. She said seeing and knowing how many families work together to make their farm and ranches work, this type of regulation is a direct violation on that tradition.
“The children work as a part of the farm and ranch at a young age,” Wilson said. “It is how they get their started in the business. Then people wonder why businesses like farming and ranching are not continuing through generations.”
Wilson said another regulation, which seems extreme, was the tasking of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate dust on county roads and rural fields.
“Maybe they are going to require it to rain,” Wilson said. “In that case maybe that regulation will not be so bad.”
Finally Wilson spoke about a need for a unified energy strategy to cut dependence on foreign sources.
“We are not going to drill our way out or conserve our way out of dependence of foreign sources,” Wilson said. “It will require both.”
Wilson said as we continue on working toward the advancement of renewable energy sources, there is a need for more domestic oil and gas exploration.
“Wind and solar energies are not going to replace our loads,” Wilson said. “Though they will help greatly on making us less dependent.”
Wilson said the cost of gas and oil is always going to impact businesses, both agricultural and non-agricultural.
“One economic boom would be to build the Keystone Pipeline,” Wilson said. “It would have created 20,000 construction jobs and additional jobs in refinement.”