Richardson spokesperson speaks in Tampa
Patsy Trujillo is New Mexico’s Deputy Secretary of Aging and Long Term Services under Gov. Bill Richardson.
She is also a spokesperson for Richardson’s presidential campaign; she met this afternoon with about a dozen Democratic Party leaders, union representatives and environmental activists. At the crowded La Teresita restaurant in West Tampa, they spoke with Trujillo about what they want to see in the next president.
Trujillo thinks Richardson would make the best presidential candidate because he has the most experience.
“Bill Richardson was our congressman in New Mexico. He was our Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. He was an ambassador to the United Nations. And of course, he is our governor. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times. He knows the major issues and challenges facing our country and the world and that is the Richardson difference. He has walked the walk and not just talked the talk.”
Patrick Manteiga is the publisher of La Gaceta newspaper and thinks Richardson is one of the best presidential candidates.
Richardson is the only Latino candidate in the two major parties and is the governor of a border state. Trujillo spoke about the immigration bill that recently failed in Congress. She said it wasn’t best bill for families.
“As Gov. Richardson has stated, he does not support the wall. If you build a 10-foot wall, you’re going to have a 12-foot ladder.
"We don’t want to separate families. That’s the most crucial thing that we’re looking at is leaving children behind and families being sent back to their home country. This is one area where the governor needs to work on a little bit more. He needs to find out exactly what’s going to work and work with Congress on this issue.”
Melissa Meehan is with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and likes Richardson’s energy policy liked Richardson's stance on the environment.
“I think he’s one of the stronger candidates out there. We were impressed with some of his initiatives. We think it’s very important that every candidate has a strong energy policy. Specifically, we’re looking for a candidate that will endorse an 80 percent reduction in global warming pollution by the year 2050 because that’s what the scientists are telling us is necessary.”
Meehan said support for energy efficiency and clean energy technologies are essential platforms for any presidential candidate. She would like to see legislation instituting a cap on carbon dioxide emissions
“We think it’s really crucial that the next president of the United States helps to steer that legislation through so that the polluter pays for the carbon emissions. Because carbon dioxide is a pollutant, it was just deemed so by the United States the Supreme Court telling the EPA that, yes, we do have the power in the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide.
"So it’s really only a matter of time and a matter of political will and leadership. We need a president who will really set a cap on carbon or a price on carbon so that we can have a hard pollution target and have reductions.”
Trujillo emphasized Richardson’s experience regarding the biggest campaign issue, Iraq.
“Our next president must be able to get us out of Iraq without delay. Gov. Richardson knows the Middle East well. He has met with Saddam Hussein and secured the release of hostages. Bill Richardson knows what needs to be done. We need to be frank with the Iraqis, tell them that we’ve done our part and it’s time for them to take over responsibility for their own security.”
Susan Smith is a district leader with the Hillsborough County Executive Committee. She is also an organizer with Democracy for America, Tampa Bay. She said her two major issues are Healthcare and the war in Iraq.
Smith said she has not yet chosen a candidate, but will support whichever Democrat wins the primary elections. She heard Richardson speak earlier this month at the Yearly Kos gathering of liberal bloggers in Chicago.
“He said he has a one-point platform: get out now. That’s his plan for Iraq, and I like that. The healthcare issue we didn’t discuss as much, but I would trust that he’s pretty progressive on it. I’m for a single-payer system: everybody in, nobody out. So not a piecemeal approach, that’s what I’m in favor of.
"But I think we as citizens and Democrats need to push all of our candidates in that very progressive direction, ‘cause I think Dennis Kucinich might be the only one that’s there right now.”
Trujillo read from a Richardson campaign statement about healthcare.
“Bill Richardson is the best candidate to fix our healthcare crisis because he has dealt with this crisis every day as a governor in the state of New Mexico. He believes that everyone should have access to quality healthcare. He wants to lower the cost of health insurance, focus on preventative medicine to combat chronic problems like diabetes and obesity. For our kids he wants to get junk food out of our schools and get back physical ed.”
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