By David Arkin: PNT Correspondent
A letter written by a Roswell lawmaker says veteran House member Earlene Roberts’ vote supporting ignition interlock systems during the 2004 session shows she’s “out of touch with southeastern New Mexico.”
Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, wrote the letter, which was sent to thousands of voters in the area.
Roberts, R-Lovington, is facing Keith Gardner of Roswell for the House District 66 spot on Tuesday.
Adair, a state Senator for eight years, said he doesn’t understand why Roberts supported legislation he said could harm New Mexico’s economy. The legislation would have required that every vehicle in the state eventually have an ignition interlock system in place. The House approved the legislation, but it died in the Senate.
“She may be in touch with some liberal activists in Santa Fe, but I don’t know anyone out here in this area of the state who she is in touch with,” Adair said on Saturday night.
Roberts said Adair’s comments didn’t surprise her.
“I figured he would do something like that,” she said. “I have been opposed to a lot of things in our party recently, like drug legalization.”
Roberts said she knew the bill wasn’t going to pass and voted for it as a means to “get the DWI issue out there in front of the public.”
“I knew the ignition interlock system wasn’t a good way to go,” she said. “I knew it wouldn’t make it through the Senate.”
Gardner said he disagrees with his opponent’s justification.
“To say that you know it’s a bad piece of legislation and you’re trying to send a message just doesn’t make any sense,” Gardner said. “Why are we spending time voting on a bill that don’t make sense? This is just one of the many reasons we need to make a change in leadership.”