Group Sending A Message

May 24, 2012


(LAS CRUCES) -- A group from Albuquerque is visiting communities in southern New Mexico with a strong message to voters.

Seth Ortega is preparing to take a stand. He's volunteering with OLE, which stands for Organizers in the Land of Enchantment. Together the group is setting up shop in one of the busiest intersections in Las Cruces, located near a few gas stations. It's just one of the many stops planned around southern New Mexico.

"Being 20 years old, I'm trying to go to school. I'm trying to feed myself, work. Minimum wage is only $7.50 and gas is at $4 a gallon. I'm kind of only working to pay gas," he said.

Members of the group are using a twenty-foot-tall balloon of a "Fat Cat," they say represents politicians who support tax breaks for the gas and oil industry.

"Instead of making us pay taxes or pay higher taxes or pay higher taxes, that money can go to schools because New Mexico, the education for young kids is kind of poor," he said.

According to the group, the oil and gas industry made $137 billion dollars in profit last year and received more than $4 billion dollars in tax breaks. And that's something Judith McCarthy of Las Cruces says is unacceptable.

"It makes me feel terrible because I'm paying more at the pump and I'm subsidizing the oil companies while they are making huge profits and taking care of our politicians," she said.

Congressman Steve Pearce who represents southern New Mexico has voted to protect oil industry tax breaks 8 times since February of last year.

"I think that the oil companies own our politicians and we're not ever going to have a chance to have a system of renewable energy resources until our politicians stop accepting money from those companies," she said.

In a statement released by Jamie Dickerman, a spokesperson for Congressman Steve Pearce calls the organization's facts wrong and also says "Their own documentation demonstrates they are not truthful. Steve Pearce has consistently worked to reduce the high price of gasoline and end our dependence on foreign oil. OLE is targeting Congressman Pearce because he opposes their agenda of nationalized health care and the cap and trade plan which would drive up the cost of gasoline over one dollar per gallon and destroy 20,000 New Mexico jobs.