After a flurry of election interviews across the airwaves, Congresswoman Deb Haaland took time to sit down for a lunchtime interview with The Paper. Rep. Haaland, who is running for re-election, spoke to us about the president and why this is the most important election of our lifetime.
The Paper.: What do you feel is at stake with this election?
Deb Haaland: This is the most important election of our lifetime. There is an urgency to this election; we want everyone to vote. We have a record number of people who ordered absentee ballots, all of those ballots need to be cast.
What will it mean if the Democrats take more seats, especially in the Senate?
We’ll push legislation through that protects working families and helps families and not just big corporations. Since I’ve been in Congress, in two years, we’ve passed almost 600 bills in the House, and they are just sitting on Senator Mitch McConnell’s [R. Kentucky] desk collecting dust. Everything from the Equal Pay Act to the Violence Against Women Act to the Equality Act which protects our LGBT community.
What happens if the Republicans retain the Senate and Donald Trump wins again?
I don’t really see that happening. I believe Joe Biden is going to win. I think that’s what all those long lines are about at polling locations. That’s why voting right now is so urgent and important. There’s so much at stake. Because otherwise, it’s just going to be more of the same, and I don’t believe the American people want four more years of the same thing.
We need someone with a plan, and I believe Joe Biden has one. It’s not just a plan, but gives Americans information so they can make decisions on their own. President Trump is lying. He’s outright lying about the coronavirus. He disrespects Dr. Fauci, who is the one voice everyone needs to hear right now. Instead, the President has and is encouraging other people to have super-spreader events all over the country. There was a Women for Trump rally in New Mexico recently, full of people not wearing masks. It’s no wonder our cases are going through the roof.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing the Native American communities in New Mexico?
So, we know that Indian Country is very far behind because the U.S. government hasn’t lived up to its responsibility to tribes. In New Mexico, for example, Native Americans are 11 percent of the population but had 50 percent of the COVID-19 positive tests. I think Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has done a lot to make sure that our tribal communities are safe. I really want Native American voices to be heard, both here and across the country. I’ve been organizing in Indian Country for a very long time, and what worries me more is the fact that this administration is trying to put obstacles in front of people who just want to vote. Scare tactics that their vote won’t count.
What do you say to New Mexicans who feel that their vote won’t count?
We have a really wonderful secretary of state with Maggie Toulouse Oliver. I feel like our under-represented communities are a priority for her. We’ve seen that she’s doing everything she can at polling locations to follow strict safety protocol. But if you’ve requested a mail-in ballot, send it in now.
Democrat Deb Haaland is running for reelection as the U.S. representative from New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District against Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes. [ ]
The Paper. reached out to Michelle G. Holmes, the Republican for Congress, for an interview. She did not respond.