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FARMINGTON — Gavin Clarkson hopes to take experience he gained while working for President Donald Trump's administration and use it to draft legislation.

Clarkson announced plans to run for the U.S. Senate today. He will run as a pro-life candidate who supports Trump's immigration policies.

The Las Cruces resident visited Farmington the evening before making his announcement. He teased the announcement during a Tax Day Rally Monday hosted by the Republican Party of San Juan County at Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.

“If you're going to run statewide for a federal office, you've got to run statewide,” he told the audience at the rally.

Clarkson will run for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Tom Udall. He is the second candidate — and first Republican — to announce plans to run for Udall's seat. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-NM, announced his candidacy shortly after Udall announced he would not run for reelection.

Clarkson, who is a member of the Choctaw Nation, formerly served in the Department of the Interior. He came in third in a four-way race for the Republican nomination for the Second Congressional District seat in 2018. Afterward he became the Republican nominee for Secretary of State.

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Gavin Clarkson has announced he is running for U.S. Senate. He visited Farmington on Monday prior to making his announcement. Hannah Grover, hgrover@daily-times.com

He said he already has two pieces of legislation he wants to introduce: a tax plan he said would create a $2 billion stimulus for New Mexico without raising taxes, and one that eliminates telework requirements for federal workers.

During the rally, Clarkson spoke about undocumented immigrants crossing the border in the southern part of the state and expressed support for Trump's policies.

He said immigrants should be funneled toward the ports of entry so they can legally enter the country.

Clarkson says platform is economic expansion, empowerment and immigration enforcement

After speaking during the rally, Clarkson said his number one focus will be jobs. He said his platform will be economic expansion, empowerment and enforcement.

In terms of expansion, Clarkson said he wants to reduce regulations that make it hard for businesses in New Mexico.

Clarkson also spoke about the importance of the coal industry in the Four Corners.

“The religious fervor to go after the coal industry is irresponsible,” he said.

He said he supports investing in technology to make coal-fired power plants cleaner.

When it comes to empowerment, he said he wants to empower young women so they do not seek abortions.

In terms of enforcement, Clarkson said he wants better enforcement of immigration policies at the border. He said he is not anti-immigrant, highlighting that his wife is an immigrant who came to the United States legally.

During the rally he spoke out against asylum fraud.

“I do not fault people for wanting to come here because they want to earn money to take care of their family,” he said during the rally. “Every parent wants to do that. But you don't have to commit asylum fraud to do that.”

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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