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A candidate for state auditor spoke during a meeting Thursday Wochit

Candidates for political offices talk to San Juan County Democrats

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LA PLATA — Bill McCamley, who is running for the Democratic Party nomination for state auditor, addressed criticism he has received for improperly disclosing how much money he makes each year.

McCamley met with the San Juan County Democratic Party on Thursday in La Plata.

The state law requires public officials to report any income they receive in excess of $5,000. The Las Cruces resident was elected in 2012 to the New Mexico House of Representatives.

He makes about $9,600 annually from renting out a portion of his house. McCamley said he had been told he did not have to disclose it as income if he was living in the residence.

“I’m not perfect and nobody is,” McCamley said. “What I hope you expect from your elected officials is that when we do make mistakes we’re honest about it, we take responsibility for it, we fix it as soon as we can and we never let it happen again.”

McCamley is running against former party chairman Brian Colón in the primary elections. The winner will likely face Republican Wayne Johnson during the November general elections. Johnson was appointed to the state auditor seat in December after former state auditor Tim Keller won the election for mayor of Albuquerque.

During his visit, McCamley said people who work and make a salary are taxed at 5 percent while investments are taxed at 2.5 percent.

McCamley said this costs the state about $50 million each year.

“We don’t live in a land of magic,” he said. “There are no unicorns that I know of and there’s no pots of gold at ends of rainbows.”

He said the investments being taxed less also sends a message to the people of New Mexico.

“What we say as a state is your sweat, your labor is less important than those rich people’s money,” McCamley said.

McCamley also addressed the $24 billion state permanent fund. McCamley said the state should invest some of that $24 billion in early childhood education. He said investing in early childhood education would save the state money in the long run on incarceration and education and would help residents get better, higher paying jobs.

“Early childhood investment is not only the morally right thing to do, it’s the financially prudent thing to do and the (state) auditor can and should be leading the charge to make this happen,” McCamley said.

He said if elected he would push for solar panels on every public building. McCamley highlighted Clovis Community College saving money on electricity because it installed solar panels.

He also spoke about job creation in rural areas. McCamley said the two things needed for job creation are work force development, including more two-year college degrees, and expanded broadband infrastructure.

McCamley was one of two candidates who spoke at Thursday’s meeting. MP Schildmeyer, who will likely face incumbent Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, for state House District 3, spoke about her campaign. She said she would like to see an opioid addiction treatment center in San Juan County.

Before McCamley and Schildmeyer spoke, representatives from the campaigns of Democratic governor candidates Jeff Apodaca and Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke.

Peter DeBenedittis, who dropped out of the gubernatorial race during the pre-primary convention earlier this year and endorsed Apodaca, spoke about Apodaca’s plan to invest $1 billion of the $24 billion in the state permanent fund in New Mexico to create jobs.

A representative of Lujan Grisham’s campaign highlighted the current U.S. Representative’s 11-point plan for education. This plan includes increased funding, universal access to early childhood education, increasing funding for dropout coaches, changing the teacher evaluation system, improving dual-language education and adopting rigorous standards for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

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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