Congressman makes campaign stop in Farmington

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FARMINGTON — U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., emphasized treating people with respect and dignity today during a campaign visit to Farmington.

“The way we treat people matters,” Luján said more than once during his visit to the Identity Inc. community center in the downtown district.

Luján’s visit came days before the primary elections. While he is running unopposed in the Democratic Party primary race for the state's 3rd Congressional District, Luján encouraged Democrats to go to the polls and cast votes.

Lujan likely will face Libertarian candidate Christopher Manning of Kirtland and Republican candidate Jerald Steve McFall of Angel Fire in the general election in the fall.

Local Democrats asked Luján about school security, diversifying the economy and heath care during his visit here. He said there needs to be a long-term plan for diversifying the economy.

“I still believe that there is some work that can be done with (Navajo Agricultural Products Industry),” Luján said.

He highlighted manufacturing and renewable energy as other areas that could provide diversity to the San Juan County economy.

“You need to be thinking long term,” Luján said. “What can be done to make investment in the grid? What can be done to attract more local job opportunities? Looking at what’s working or strong in the area and how can we bring added value. What can be done with investments when it comes to advanced broadband, in this case fiber connectivity, to help attract more tech startups from around America.”

He said many of the places where technology companies have located in the past are becoming unaffordable. Luján said tech companies are looking for places that are affordable, have good quality of life and have good schools.

“There’s no more beautiful place to live in America than right here,” Luján said.

In terms of school security and gun violence, Luján said he supports background checks on guns and closing the gun show loophole.

“This is not about repealing the Second Amendment,” he said. “It’s not about taking people’s guns away. This is about gun violence and gun safety.”

When asked about funding for infrastructure, Luján said if he is re-elected, he will work for a bipartisan solution to address infrastructure problems.

Luján described President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan as a failed promise. He said it provides 20 percent grants for infrastructure projects but the local governments would have to fund 80 percent of a given project.

He said there needs to be a strong, robust infrastructure package in place that would provide local governments and entities with 80 percent grants and only require a 20 percent local match.

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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