Normally I don’t get involved in internecine disputes. However, after reading the Who’s-on-First scenario being played out in the papers, I decided to chance it. The feud between former allies Steve Pearce, oilman and former Republican congressman, and Ryan Flynn, executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, flared in Pearce’s guest column in the Journal (Aug. 9).
Days earlier, also former Congressman Harry Teague, a Democrat, had endorsed Yvette Herrell, a Republican, for the coveted Congressional District 2 seat, because he says she “appreciates the impact of the energy industry” on New Mexico. In response, Flynn praised the seat’s current occupant, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a Democrat, for standing up to those who wanted to ban fracking.
When I first read Teague’s statement about needing a congresswoman who cares about the oil and gas industry, I thought he meant Torres Small, not Herrell, who lost the race to her in 2018.
Evidently, Teague and these former and aspiring representatives haven’t been keeping up with her record of the past two years. Here’s where I step in with a few facts:
If they had checked, they would have known that Torres Small has made clear she is willing to work with congressional Democrats and Republicans alike to accomplish what’s best for everyone in her district. They would find, for example, that on March 3 Torres Small supported the president’s decision to offset the steep drop in oil and gas prices by allowing the government to buy oil and gas to add to the nation’s petroleum reserves. “New Mexico’s oil and gas industry,” she said, “is part of the backbone of our state’s economy.”
They also would discover that in a bipartisan vote in December 2019, she voted for $1 billion to fix and expand roads in Southeast New Mexico. The funds not only helped create jobs and make the area’s roads safer, she said better roads also provide better access to health care providers.
Earlier this year, she voted against the fracking ban for oil and gas, a decision that was not overly popular in other parts of her district. However, she said the vote was important for its impact on school funding. Taxes from oil and gas, which are funneled through the state’s permanent fund, are a major source of funding in the state’s public educational budget.
To all the parties involved, I hope this information has been helpful as there are more facts to be found on Torres Small’s congressional website.
Linda G. Harris is involved as a volunteer in politics, is a member of Indivisible, a grassroots progressive group, and a retired information coordinator for the Water Resources Research Group at New Mexico State University.