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Denish Links Ethics, Economy

By Dan Boyd
Journal Capitol Bureau
       Tougher ethics laws and a more transparent government would be good ways to boost New Mexico's economy, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish told a group of Albuquerque business leaders Monday afternoon.
    Denish, who's announced her candidacy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010, said improving government accountability would entice more businesses to move to the state.
    "I want a New Mexico where a business succeeds or fails based on the quality of its products ... not just because they have connections to certain lobbyists," Denish told about 300 people attending a lunch sponsored by NAIOP, a commercial real estate group.
    Ethics laws have become a more-discussed issue in New Mexico politics as scandals continue to garner headlines.
    Republican Party leaders have attempted to tie Denish to alleged wrongdoing in state government, but the state's second-in-command has denied the connections and launched a counteroffensive of her own, including a package of proposals she intends to push during next year's legislative session.
    Denish also described herself as "pro-business" and said her comments weren't intended to disparage lobbyists.
    But her ethics message appeared to be part of her effort to distance herself from the administration of Gov. Bill Richardson, even though she and Richardson twice ran as a ticket.
    Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, has indicated he's also looking at seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
    Denish said she'd be pleased if she had no opposition. "If I have a clear Democratic primary, I think that's a strong statement of the support I have across the state," she said.





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