[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/19/art.vert.richardson.jpg caption="Spoke to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson this week as part of our Building Up America series. This state is doing its best to draw green energy companies and make jobs." width=292 height=320]
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: I continue my road trip through New Mexico, and my letters to the White House, writing this one from the lovely city of Santa Fe.
Dear Mr. President,
My understanding is that there was some sort of voting going on across the country yesterday, but to be honest I’ve been so busy talking to people who are not running for office that I didn’t have much time to keep an eye on those who are.
I’ll read up on the results today, but being the political psychic I am (or play on TV) I’ll bet it went something like this: A few folks won/lost who were expected to; a few folks won/lost who were not expected to; the prognosticators left and right lined up like cattle to bump their gums about what it means; and in all likelihood, it actually means next to nothing. Of course an entire cottage industry in DC sleeps, eats, and breathes the details of such stuff, so I guess I better just keep my mouth shut and let them prattle on for a while, but between you and me I’m not expecting the earth to move, no matter the final results.
Meanwhile, here in New Mexico I continue to have a wonderful time. We spent the day chasing down a story about efforts to lure more solar energy companies to the Land of Enchantment. Governor Bill Richardson, one of your old Democratic opponents and pals, has the state offering a variety of incentives to help draw these green energy companies (I think one is a free iPod! But…uh…I’m just guessing..) and it seems to be working. They are laying claim to 2,500 new jobs here this year from solar and solar-related companies. Not too shabby.
Anyway, the governor and I had a nice walk and talk about the state’s issues and some other programs he’s working on, and I was struck by something that I’ve thought of many times before: If you want to actually make a day-to-day difference in the lives of citizens, you can do that much more effectively at the state level than on the national stage. I’m sorry, and I mean no offense, but it is true.
What goes on in Congress and in the Oval Office does have an impact, but often it seems to be on some kind of grand, complex, glacial scale to which a lot of us regular citizens don’t particularly feel connected. But the person who brings actual jobs to our town, or fixes our potholes, or makes sure our schools have books, or keeps enough police officers on the streets…that is a politician who probably matters a heck of a lot more in our lives, at least immediately.
Maybe that’s why all this kerfuffle over this voting didn’t grab me much; because I’m just not entirely sure how much it matters, compared to many other elections I have seen.
It’s late and I’m tired. By the time you read this I will be rolling fast toward the Four Corners area to check in with some Navajo farmers. I’m telling you, you should be along for the ride…
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