New Mexico Senate Candidate Hector Balderas Sees Change
Democratic senate candidate from New Mexico Hector Balderas will tell you one thing flat out: it’s not because he’s Latino. Balderas, his home state’s former state auditor, is confident that his experience, his dedication to the people of New Mexico and his vision is the reason New Mexicans should give him their vote. The fact that he’s Latino is incidental.
We wrote previously for the great need for more Latino U.S. Senators, and hinted that Balderas would run to replace retiring Senator Jeff Bingaman in 2012. He’s young, but has a pretty impressive record, read it here. We caught up with Balderas during the recent NALEO conference and here’s some of what he said.
NT: Why do you want to be a U.S. Senator?
HB: I think the first place we start is life experience, which is vastly needed in Washington, D.C. I was raised in poverty, I was raised in rural New Mexico, I was given the benefit of being raised by a grandfather who served his country and a single parent. And so I think some of that humility and some of that personal perseverance is really what Washington needs right now to change the tone.
NT: Do you think it’s important for Latinos to seek public office, if so, why?
HB: Latinos have always had a rich history of public service. We have more decorated veterans per capita than many groups in this country. But you don’t always think of Latino service as the highest levels in office.
What I’d like to inspire is that, it’s important to serve as school teachers and police officers and soldiers, as we’ve sacrificed for so many decades already, but it’s also important for America that Latinos be trusted to govern at the highest levels.
NT: Do you think that being a Latino is important for New Mexicans and the U.S. Senate as a body?
HB: I think part of the disconnect between average Americans and politics is that Americans feel disconnected to their leaders. I think that electing a leader who could be a voice for a certain experience, rather than just a voice would be something that would be very significant for Latinos in New Mexico.
They want someone to represent them, someone who shares their life experience, and also shares a voice that they can relate to. For us in New Mexico it’s very significant to take that opportunity with this open seat.
NT: How is having one more Latino in the Senate important for all Latinos in the U.S.?
HB: I think that at some point there has to be a call to action for all Latinos in this country who would like to see progress in their nation to support candidates that are willing to address issues that affect their community — not just the Latino community, but the community as a whole.
I think someone in California should support a young Latino running for the U.S. Senate in New Mexico because that type of senator will make very important choice that affects this whole country, and having representative government is something that is the true goal of the Constitution and the spirit of this country.
At some point we have to start running candidates not just for votes but also governing ourselves and our own issues.
Follow Sara Inés Calderón on Twitter @SaraChicaD
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