Las Cruces, NM – Twenty-two months remain in the current Congress and it will be the last months Senator Bingaman will serve. He announced late last month he will not seek a six term, but will retire.
Bingaman, 67, was first elected to the Senate in 1982 and says it's time to step aside and allow someone else to serve.
Bingaman says agreement on a range of issues will be the biggest challenge to overcome the last leg of his term.
Bingaman-"The main impediment to addressing here in the congress is getting agreement between the house and senate on what should be done on some of these major problems facing the country. We have got a lot of disagreement. That is the case whether it's economic policy, healthcare policy, education policy or energy policy. "
He also says energy, education and boosting the economy will be of top priority during the remainder of his term.
Bingaman is the fourth Democratic Senator to retire next year and says it won't change his position or views on forthcoming legislation. He says the thought of less to lose because of not running for re-election will not be a part of his voting decisions.
Bingaman-"Well, I guess theoretically that's the case, but the truth is the issues as they come to the senate floor are such that I feel as though for the last 28 years I have voted the way I should vote and in the best interest of the state and country and I expect to do that here in the remaining 2 years. It's not as though all of a sudden I can change positions on certain issues that's not the way I'm looking at it."
Monday former Congresswoman Heather Wilson announced she will seek nomination for the seat. Other announced Republicans include Las Cruces businessman Greg Sowards and Bill English of Alamogordo. On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich, state Auditor Hector Balderas and former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish say they'll make a decision soon. Albuquerque political activist Andres Valdez has announced plans to run.