EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — For the second time, Republican Yvette Herrell is facing Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, for new Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District seat. Torres Small defeated Herrell back in 2018.
KTSM 9 News spoke to both candidates about COVID-19, immigration and the New Mexico oil and gas industry.
Herrell stressed the importance of a vaccine for COVID-19 and getting the economy open fully.
“We need to continue to push forward for a very reliable and safe vaccine — that’s something that’s very important to not just to New Mexicans, but to Americans in general. You know hindsight’s 2020, so I know moving forward, should we ever see something like this again, there is more of a preparedness. But it really stems (from) putting the American people first and getting the American worker back to work. Getting our economy jumpstarted,” said Herrell.
Torres Small said she has worked to get more doctors into rural communities and that she will continue working to provide access to testing and a vaccine when available to all New Mexicans.
“I also worked hard to make sure that all of New Mexico, especially places like Anthony and Sunland Park and Chaparral, was able to get testing for COVID-19. And so it wasn’t just the big cities like Albuquerque that got that support. And as we work to make sure once there is a safe vaccine that everybody is able to receive — that people don’t get left behind — I’ll be doing that same work, making sure that Southern New Mexico doesn’t get left behind as we defeat COVID-19 and rebuild together,” Torres Small said.
Another major topic on New Mexico voters’ minds is immigration. Herrell told KTSM 9 News that she is a supporter of President Trump’s border wall.
“We have got to get our border secured, give our border patrol agents and ICE agents the tools and the funding that are necessary and the technology that they need to secure our border and to secure our national assets,” Herrell said.
She added that the U.S. immigration system needs to be revamped.
“We need reform, we need more judges on the bench, we need to enable those who want to come to our nation in the proper way to have that opportunity without eight to 10 years and spending thousands of dollars. We need to stop allowing people to cross our borders and receive benefits that should be going to taxpaying citizens.”
On the topic of the border and immigration, Torress Small said she has worked with both Republicans and Democrats to try and get more resources to Border Patrol agents in rural areas.
“And get non-intrusive inspection technology at our ports of entry to stop drugs and to facilitate that trade that makes our communities vibrant,” she said. “And I also note that a fundamental piece of border security is a clear and moral immigration system. That’s why I’ve worked with Democrats and Republicans on the (American) Dream and Promise Act, that we got passed in the House, and on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would help support both our farmers and our ag economy, as well as hard-working people on the ground.”
KTSM also asked both candidates what they would do for the New Mexico oil industry as talk of switching to alternative fuels increase.
Herrell said she is a supporter of the oil and gas industry, saying her voting record shows how she has stood in support of the oil and gas industries.
“We need somebody who is going to stand and protect these hundreds of thousands of jobs that are directly and indirectly related to this industry,” Herrell said. “We’ve been questioned in debate whether or not we think we should stop using fossil fuels in State of New Mexico — I clearly am an absolute no. We have got to protect the industry and, in fact, do what we can to enhance its ability to reopen; to get people put back to work.”
Torres Small said she wants to have the scientists and engineers in the oil and gas industry to do things like capture methane and recycle water, saying that will New Mexico should take on ways to reduce the effects of climate change.
“I want to work hard to make sure New Mexico remains a net energy exporter. As we work to continue to find ways to produce energy investing in our oil and gas production, as well as solar and wind, to diversify that energy portfolio so that we can take on climate change together,” she said.
Polls will open at 7 a.m. across New Mexico and close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.