ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The campaign to become the next New Mexico state treasurer has candidates talking about education and ways to gain more revenue.
Democrat Tim Eichenberg is going against Republican Rick Lopez in a race to replace James Lewis, who can't run again because of term limits.
Eichenberg, 62, a Realtor, said the state should acquire more federal lands that could then be leased to create a new revenue source for early childhood education at a time when advocates are demanding more funding for early childhood programs.
He also said the treasurer's office should invest more in New Mexico's infrastructure to help start construction projects. "As your state treasurer, I will grow the economy by investing our state money, right here, in New Mexico," Eichenberg says in a campaign ad.
The former state senator from a majority GOP district in Albuquerque is trying to win a race after a heated Democratic primary fight with former state Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim. In that race, Wertheim accused Eichenberg of discriminating against Latinos, women and gays with votes in the Senate and as Bernalillo County treasurer.
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Santa Fe resident Lopez, 59, a former state and federal government employee, promised to oppose any proposal to increase the amount of money distributed annually from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to expand early childhood programs, something Eichenberg says he's also against. That proposal has drawn heated debated in the state Legislature as education advocates press lawmakers to tap the fund against the resistance of fiscal conservatives.
Lopez also said the state treasurer needs to be more active in getting these boards and commissions to be more active. "I have 27 years of experience in various federal and state positions, and I won't need on-the-job training," Lopez said.
In his campaign, Lopez has played up his roots from humble beginning to later earning three master's degrees.
According to campaign finance reports earlier this month, Eichenberg reported cash on hand of $32,097, and Lopez had $13,606. Eichenberg spent $5,672 compared with $6,185 by Lopez. Eichenberg raised $26,416, including a personal loan of $4,651. Lopez received $12,295 in contributions, including $2,400 from Biad Chili Products of Mesilla.