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FARMINGTON — With about two weeks left before the Nov. 8 general election, New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez visited San Juan County to rally support for the Republican party.

Sanchez met with state Sen. William Sharer, and state Reps. James Strickler and Rod Montoya, all Farmington Republicans, and city councilor Sean Sharer as well as members of the public this morning in Farmington.

During his visit, Sanchez emphasized the importance of reaching out to minority voters, especially the Native American community. He rallied support for Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-Kirtland, during a visit to Shiprock.

"She's got probably the most competitive race in northwest New Mexico," Sanchez said prior to visiting Shiprock.

While the Republicans and Sanchez have been heavily campaigning, the San Juan County Democratic Party is also working hard to promote its candidates. On Saturday, they are planning a "Day of Action" that will include canvassing and phone calls to potential voters, according to Henry Silentman, the chairman of the local party.

Prior to going to Shiprock, Sanchez visited the AV Water Co.'s Morningstar system. County officials took him to water storage tanks and showed him the subdivision on Crouch Mesa that ran out of water during the summer. The Morningstar system was one of two water systems owned by AV Water Co. that were issued a boil water advisory in June. The Morningstar system's boil water advisory was lifted on Sept. 1 after the system was connected to the city of Farmington.

Sanchez said it is different visiting the community than it is just hearing about the issues.

"You see the human cost involved," he said.

He said the governor's office is hopeful that a new operator can be found to take over the system because the "current owners don't have the expertise."

Sanchez also spoke about issues like a downturn in oil and gas production that has hurt the local economy and environmental regulations placed on the coal-powered generating stations.

"The market is going to come back," he said. "We know that and when it does we need to be ready."

He said the San Juan College School of Energy is a model for New Mexico in building a workforce "pipeline" that can serve the oil and gas industry when it rebounds.

Although Sanchez said the Republican party is more supportive of the energy industries, Silentman said many local Democrats are employed by the energy industry and the Democratic candidates support oil, gas and coal. He said the candidates also want to diversify the economy so that it is not solely reliant on the fossil fuel industries.

Sanchez also voiced his support for Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. However, he condemned Trump's statements about Hispanics and comments the candidate made about women in a video from 2005.

He cited the future of the U.S. Supreme Court, the economy, immigration policy and energy policies as reasons for voting for Trump.

"Donald Trump may be politically incorrect, but Hillary Clinton is politically corrupt," Sanchez said.

Silentman argued that Trump's economic policy will not help the local area and said Trump has struggled to attract voters.

"He's bad for the economy ... and bad for everything San Juan County stands for," Silentman said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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