Pearce vs. Lara debate gets heated

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Pearce vs. Lara debate gets heated

Republican Congressman Steve Pearce tried to tie his re-election opponent to President Obama, while she, Democratic challenger Roxanne “Rocky” Lara, tried to label him a Tea Party obstructionist, during their head to head debate broadcast statewide Thursday night by New Mexico PBS.

Pearce and Lara are vying for election in November to New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district, which covers the southern half of the state.

Television moderator Sam Donaldson asked the candidates questions regarding jobs, taxation and spending, immigration, legalization of marijuana, global warming, gay marriage and sending ground troops to stop ISIS in Iraq.

Pearce is from Hobbs and has represented the district since 2002, except for one term in which he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.

Lara is a lawyer from Carlsbad and a former Eddy County Commissioner.

On the topic of jobs, Pearce said he wants to create more employment by “continuing to do the same things we’ve been doing.” He indicated the key is cutting corporate taxes.

“Our biggest problem is our tax rate makes us uncompetitive world-wide,” Pearce said.

Lara rebutted, asking why in his ten years in office he has failed to create more jobs. “Where are these things that he talks about now, and why hasn’t he done them?” she asked.

Frequently on the offensive, Lara reiterated throughout the debate that federal tax policies are putting money in the pockets of millionaires, including Pearce’s. She said she would like to close corporate tax loopholes, promote investment in small businesses and put more money in the hands of the middle-class and seniors.

Things grew even more heated over the polarized state of congressional politics.

“He (Pearce) had the opportunity to choose between protecting New Mexico or vote with his party,” Lara said, accusing Pearce of voting with Tea Party Republicans to shut down the government.

“Roxy’s comments are untrue at best,” Pearce said. He argued that he has voted independent of party pressure.

Lara said that Pearce is attacking Democrats and President Obama, in particular, when the debate should be focused on their district.

Asked about her own support of Obama, Lara said her feelings were mixed. “There are some things I disagree with the President on, there are some things I agree with him on,” she said.

The candidates also disputed the evidence connecting human activity and global warming.

Pearce said he has done research and has found there have not been increases in global warming and humans do not cause it.

“I applaud Pearce’s efforts to Google this topic, but I do not rely on the Internet,” Lara said.

One can simply go outside and see the effects global warming has on the environment, she said.

During a short answer segment, Donaldson asked about the legalization of marijuana.

Pearce said he would not vote to legalize marijuana because, having seen the harm it has caused, he cannot send that message to parents.

Lara said she is taking a “wait and see approach” with what happens in the two states that have legalized recreational use.

“I have a love for the New Mexican people and I appreciate your votes in the past,” Pearce said in closing statements. “The idea of fairness, treat everyone equally under the law. Those are the values. I am asking for the ability and the right to fight for you.”

Lara stressed the importance of fixing a divided Congress.

“We need a Congress that will do its job and move our country and Southern New Mexico forward,” Lara said. “I can’t change Congress all by myself, but together we can do it.”

Early voting in New Mexico begins Saturday. Election Day is Nov. 4.[/text_output][share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3361″][text_output]