Congressman-elect Gabe Vasquez outlines goals for term

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On Friday, Congressman-elect Gabe Vasquez spoke with KOB 4 and outlined his goals for his first term in Washington.

New Mexico’s newest member of Congress flipped the state’s 2nd Congressional District earlier this month, defeating incumbent Republican Yvette Herrell.

Vasquez and his fellow Democrats will be in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I have high hopes, high aspirations,” Vasquez said. “I’ve got a lot of figuring out to do, of how I can be effective, how I can be impactful, how I can actually show results in the next two years.”

He said his number one priority is the economy and how to bring relief to New Mexicans.

“What can we do to bring good paying jobs to New Mexico, raise the wages for folks, lower the cost of goods and increase the quality of life for people in this district,” Vasquez said.

He believes one way to do that is to hold corporations accountable, and he said he’d like to see unions get stronger.

He supports President Joe Biden’s push to eliminate student loan debt for many Americans.

“This debt relief serves everyday, middle-class Americans,” he said. “It’s about all those folks with technical licenses that are now struggling to make ends meet.”

On energy, Vasquez said he supports responsible oil and gas production but also wants to push for more renewable energy.

“Why would you not want more energy jobs in New Mexico,” he said.

On the border, he wants to take a leading role.

“This is something I’m going to be very bullish about when I’m in Congress. I want to lead a bipartisan caucus of folks that actually understand the border to make border policy,” Vasquez said.

He wants there to be more immigration judges, and more (and smarter) border security.

“I know that folks have different opinions about the border, but what I can tell our New Mexicans is that you have somebody who is incredibly experienced at understanding the complexities when it comes to international trade, when it comes to immigration, when it comes to human smuggling,” he said.

On discussions around banning certain guns, Vasquez said he isn’t making any decisions on legislation until he sees it, but he does believe new laws could potentially help curb shootings.

He said combating climate change is a huge priority for him, noting New Mexico wildfires and reservoir levels as troubling signs.

Like any newly-elected representative, he’ll be faced with trying to extend a friendly hand to those who didn’t vote for him.

“I am here for a reason and it is to represent the people of New Mexico,” Vasquez said. “I will show up. I will support you. I will listen to you, and we can work together.”

The new Congress begins its work starting Jan. 3.