Why New Mexicans Should Fear Conrad James

Conrad James

The battle for the New Mexico House of Representatives is shaping up to be a battle for the ages. Republicans have an opportunity to take control of the House for the first time in decades. They are foaming at the mouth and throwing money around the state in rapid-fire fashion. House District 24 pits Democrat incumbent Elizabeth Thomson against Republican Challenger Conrad James. Conrad James must not win the election.

Conrad James was the state representative for District 24 from 2011-2012. He lost his re-election bid to Rep. Thomson by less than 300 votes. During his time in office, Conrad James waged a war against state workers, women, and undocumented immigrants. He believes that social programs should not be funded by income redistribution and that industry should be deregulated.

War on Children and Women

In 2011, Mr. James irresponsibly sponsored HB 380, No School Health Center Reproductive Services. This bill would have prohibited all advice or health care related to contraception, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases or reproductive process and functions!

Was he out of his mind? New Mexico has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country. According to a Legislative Finance Committee report, teen pregnancy costs New Mexico $590 million per year. Children born due to teen pregnancy have an increased likelihood to be incarcerated or live in poverty.

Here are some startling statistics from hhs.gov:

  • 68% of teenage parents in New Mexico are Hispanic
  • 5% of New Mexico girls have had sexual intercourse before the age of 13
  • 11% of New Mexico girls have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse
  • 87% of teenage pregnancies occur out of wedlock
  • The teenage abortion rate in New Mexico is 17 per 1000, which is lower than the national average of 18 per 1000
  • 11% of female and 18% of male high school students have had sexual intercourse with 4 or more partners
  • 15% of New Mexico teenagers chose not to use protection during their last sexual intercourse

Many of these children do not have anybody to turn to for help or advice concerning sexual intercourse. Their only option to get help is at school. If Mr. James believes that sexual education and advice is evil or immoral, he needs to wake up! New Mexico has been ranked as the worst state to raise a child even under the best of circumstances.

War on State Workers

State workers are the only people Mr. James seems to hate more than teenagers, immigrants, and the poor. In 2011, Mr. James sponsored a bill to prohibit payment for accumulated sick leave for state workers.

Wow! This would save the state of New Mexico millions of dollars right? Wrong! Most state workers are authorized paid sick leave every year. To reward workers for attending work, the state passed legislation that would allow workers to cash in sick leave if it was unused. It was an incentive to come to work and be productive.

By taking away the cash-in option, Mr. James’ bill would force state workers to use all of their sick leave and miss work. This would dramatically reduce the already pathetic efficiency of state government. Why should a state worker let the sick leave accumulate if there is no incentive to do so? The bill was idiotic and shows a lack of understanding of state government.

On top of that, he voted for a bill to increase the retirement age of state workers. Apparently, he believes that people should be forced to work until they die to get any type of benefit.

Undocumented Immigrants

Obviously, a man who grew up in Ohio, lives in a predominantly white district, and makes ridiculous amounts of money has very little sympathy for immigrants who risk their lives to make a better future for their families.

He voted to restrict driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. It seems strange that a man of African-American decent would vote to restrict the rights of a people who are marginalized, discriminated against, and treated as outcasts of society.

On top of that, he is a member of the Board of Regents at the University of New Mexico. He is in control of the academic future of many undocumented immigrants and students who have family members that are undocumented.

War on the Poor

Mr. James believes that “Tax policy should not be used to redistribute wealth, choose economic winners and losers, or to engineer society. Taxes should be kept low, simple, broad, and predictable.” That should be translated to say that state- run social programs to help the poor should not be funded! This is a typical economic ideal of someone who resides amongst the societal elite. Their rallying cry should be “Don’t take our money to pay those lazy bums in the South Valley and rural New Mexico.”

It is nice that Mr. James has money to put food on his table, hire a nanny, send his children to elite private schools, and live the life of his dreams. Unfortunately, the majority of New Mexicans cannot. People need food stamps, subsidized child care, school funding, and other programs to survive. How does Mr. James propose that we pay for these programs? My guess is that he does not have a plan to help the poor.

The status quo of the elite and powerful will be safe as long as he gets elected. It is unfortunate that somebody like this is on the Board of Regents at UNM. Many of his students come from families who are poor and rely on social programs.

Environmental Assassin

The title of this category is a little harsh, but not unwarranted. Although Mr. James has not directly passed or sponsored any environmentally dangerous bills, his record shows that he favors deregulation. His official stance is:

“Regulation policies should be focused on protecting citizens and the environment and not used to punish/reward particular industries or micromanage the private market. I will continue to work to ensure that more energy is safely produced in New Mexico.”

It is funny to read that he wants to “protect citizens and the environment.” Mr. James is funded by multiple out-of-state oil and energy companies who are salivating at a chance to cash-in on New Mexico. On top of that, he received a $1000 campaign contribution from Monsanto! I will not go into an in-depth analysis of how wrong it is to accept money from Monsanto and still claim that you want to protect people and the environment.

Just Say No!!!

These are just a few of the reasons to make sure that Conrad James loses his election bid. They even call into question his position as a Board of Regent member at UNM. He is supported by the NRA and is a prototype Koch Brother clone. He must be stopped! Take some time to look at his campaign contributions and his legislative history. It should shock you. He has clearly demonstrated that he is out of touch with the realities of New Mexico and does not understand those who are not amongst the elite. His ignorance should not be a complete surprise considering the fact that District 24 is 60% Caucasian. He should stick to what he is good at…working for Sandia Labs.

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