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Pearce urges jobs focus

SANTA FE – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce told New Mexico legislators Tuesday that voters want elected officials to focus their energy on job-creation efforts.

“What people want is not complex at all,” the lone Republican member of New Mexico’s congressional delegation said in a wide-ranging address to a joint session of the Legislature. “They just want financial security and independence.”

Pearce said reviving the state’s timber industry and bolstering the technology and agriculture sectors could help alleviate the impact of dropping oil prices. The state budget relies heavily on taxes and royalties from oil and gas production.

He also directed cautionary remarks toward House Republicans, who have a majority in the chamber this year for the first time in 60 years.

“You could easily overreach,” Pearce said in his 30-minute speech. “You could easily take too much for granted in your new role.”

Pearce was re-elected in November 2014 to his seventh term representing the state’s 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses southern New Mexico.

Despite his re-election victory, Pearce said many voters are angry at both Republican and Democratic leaders and feel a sense of helplessness over the state of global and domestic affairs.

He said such voter dissatisfaction can have a pendulum effect in terms of political parties being voted in and out of power, which in turn can destabilize the nation.

“The voters are very volatile right now, and what you don’t need is a lot of ideological three-point shots, so to speak,” Pearce told the Journal after his speech. “What you want are some common-sense things that will improve the job situation.”

At least one Democratic lawmaker lauded Pearce’s address. Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, said, “Today, what I heard was a fellow who was trying to reach out to everyone.”

Other members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation are expected to address the Legislature later this week.