New Mexico – Ahead of Donald Trump’s vice presidential running-mate Mike Pence’s, visit to New Mexico, Democrats grabbed headlines for holding Pence accountable for his ticket’s harmful economic plan and refusal to release his tax returns.
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NEW MEXICO POLITICAL REPORT // JOEY PETERS
Two Democratic legislators aired grievances against Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence one day before his scheduled visit to New Mexico.
During a small press conference Monday morning in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza, State Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, addressed Pence’s social conservative views by calling him “perhaps the most anti-LGBT nominee for national elected office we have seen in modern history.”
“His policies in Indiana have legalized hatred, have legalized discrimination, and at the end of the day those are the things that we do not accept in New Mexico,” Candelaria, who is openly gay, said. “That’s not who we are as a state.”
Candelaria was referring to Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law which Pence, the state’s governor, signed last year. The Indiana law prohibits the state from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion.”
The religious freedom law drew national attention after critics bemoaned it for allowing businesses to legally discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion. Amid the backlash, Pence and legislators soon amended the law to add protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
Candelaria and state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque, also took aim at the economic policies of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whom Pence is running with on the ticket this November.
“As Pence comes to this state, he has come to promote a ticket that does not stand for working families,” Stapleton said.
Trump’s economic plan includes eliminating three personal income tax brackets and cutting taxes across the board, with the largest tax cuts aimed at the highest earners. The top tax bracket, under Trump’s plan, would drop from 39.6 percent to 33 percent.
Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she supports higher taxes on the highest earners.
Candelaria also made an oft-repeated talking point of the Clinton campaign—that even Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s former economic advisor has denounced Trump’s economic plan.
ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL // RICK NATHANSON AND DAN BOYD
Meanwhile, in anticipation of his visit, the Democratic Party of New Mexico and two Democratic state legislators held a news conference Monday saying that the rhetoric and policies of Trump and Pence are wrong for the middle class and wrong for New Mexico.
Felicia Salazar, communications director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, said that two recent reports by Moody’s economist and a former adviser to John McCain, Mark Zandi, showed that under Hillary Clinton’s plans the economy will create 10.4 million jobs nationwide, while under Trump it will lose 3.4 million jobs and the nation will plunge into recession.
House of Representatives Majority Whip Sheryl Willams Stapleton said, “Pence comes to this state to promote a ticket that does not stand for working families” and adds nothing to middle-class America or middle-class New Mexico.
THE NEW MEXICAN // STEVE TERRELL
Democrats held a news conference Monday in Albuquerque to criticize Pence. “I hope he has a good time in New Mexico and that he spends some money here,” said state Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque. “And I hope there are no hard feelings when New Mexico delivers our five electoral votes to [Democrat] Hillary Clinton in November.”
State Democrats called on Pence “to answer for Donald Trump’s disastrous economic plan” and to demand that Trump release his tax returns, as has been tradition for presidential candidates in the past 40-plus years.
Candelaria called attention to Pence’s record as governor on gay-rights issues, saying Pence is “one of the most anti-LGBT governors in the nation.”