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July 4th, 2007

Tea With Steve

On an hellaciously warm afternoon in one of the genteel homes that grace the turn of the century Alameda Depot Historic District of Las Cruces, a parlor meeting of invited residents from the Alameda Depot and the more modest, but older Mesquite Historic District was held. The guest of honor was Congressman Stevan Pearce, Republican, 2nd District and Hobbs native.

Standing around before the Congressman addressed the group, was a local historian who claimed lineage to the last hangman of Las Cruces. He informed the homeowner-a retired gentleman who said, “I do the yard work around here.” when introducing himself - that his house was built on the former location of the Park Hotel. This area, once Rio Grande bottom land, was developed after the railroad was built in 1881, hence the need for a hotel to service passenger travelers.

One might have expected the topic of focus to be the Federal Courthouse being built between the Alameda and Mesquite Historic Districts, the Downtown Restoration or other concerns of the immediate area. However, Congressman Pearce launched into a lengthy discussion of Native Americans of Eastern New Mexico, their arrowheads and his efforts to provide a place to conserve and display them in Hobbs. Pearce is concerned about triggering an archeological study, considering these studies to be “problematic, not functional.” Asked about the effects of the Spaceport, Pearce expressed the hope that it would improve the “wage structure” in our area. He said New Mexico is on the “low end of income and the high end of problems” such as drug use and teen pregnancy. Projects such as the Space Port and the Nuclear Fuel Enrichment Facility being built in Eunice will help, he said. Pearce is enthusiastic about privatizing space travel and believes that “everything originates outside government.” He said that private companies did in two years what it took NASA twenty years. “NASA just cannot do it” he said.

Pearce responded to a question about education by discussing an under performing school in his hometown of Hobbs where, according to the Congressman, the Board of Education asked for a volunteer to run the school, circumvented the union and “ran off the teachers who didn’t belong in a classroom”. Problem solved. Pearce said that China and India are training engineers and taking our jobs. Public school children, with the exception of his grandson, lack discipline, “discipline is not in their lexicon”.

Top Donors to Congressman Pearce include Yates Petroleum, Marbob Energy Group, Mack Energy and Exxon Mobil reflecting his business conections as owner of an oilfield services company. His energy policy, in his own words is “build” (more oil refineries) and “drill” (for more oil and gas) including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Otero Mesa grasslands. Pearce asserted that renewable energy is 20 to 30 years away and that we don’t have the technology for nuclear power development. “We’re in a nuclear straight jacket we don’t have the capability and we’re ten years from commissioning a plant” he said. Pearce is opposed to international efforts to stem global warming because it amounts to “Europe pressuring us to unilaterally punish our economy”. He opposes efforts in Congress to reduce our use of coal because that would result in “China taking more of our jobs”.

Steve Pearce, a man who relies upon his “value set and faith”, says we are in a “dark period of world history” experiencing a “darkness of human spirit”. According to him, Europe will not stand up to Islamic extremists and only American exceptionalism can save world freedom. He parroted the White House talking points including, “If we leave Iraq the terrorists will follow us.” On a visit to Israel, Pearce says he was told by ? that if we leave Iraq, friendly governments in the region will fall, the terrorists will attack America and “the world will be plunged into depression.“

While stating that the “immigration system is broken beyond belief” Pearce explained his vote against the Immigration Bill saying that Americans are “neck deep in anger” over immigration. “We are polarized, the Parties are fractured and we are divided rural versus urban.” He added “the Federal Government has created almost every problem we have with immigration.”

The Congressman asked for veterans to raise their hands and said “I was serving in Vietnam when our government started abandoning us and I tell my colleagues in Congress not to abandon our troops in Iraq”. He did not solicit the veterans, or for that matter, any of the others for their views on the war. With that Congressman Pearce concluded his bleak assessment of the future.