John Kerrys Oct. 11 speech in Santa Fe laid out a five-point plan to wrest U.S. dependence on the Middle East for oil, while sending the expected zings toward the current administration.
Kerry was introduced by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the former secretary for the Department of Energy, and was flanked by loyal Democrats and local leaders, including state Rep. Ben Lujan, U.S. Rep. Tom Udall and Santa Fe Mayor Larry Delgado.
After paying tribute to Christopher Reeve, Kerry began by discussing New Mexicos historical importance. "For 60 years, New Mexico has been at the leading edge of change and innovation," Kerry said. "In a very real sense, we won World War II right here in this state." Referencing the initiative that led to the Manhattan Project, Kerry launched into the need to make the U.S. energy independent, noting that Bushs energy policies had done the opposite. "The only people George Bushs policies are working for are the people hes chosen to help. Theyre working for drug companies. Theyre working for HMOs. And theyre certainly working for the big oil companies."
Kerry then discussed the rising gas rates, noting that "A thirty percent increase in gas prices means a lot more profit for this presidents friends in the oil industry. But for most middle class Americans, the Bush gas tax is a tax increase they cant afford." Kerry also criticized the president for meeting behind closed doors with the energy industry and then going to the Supreme Court "to protect the identity of his secret energy advisors." Kerrys five-point plan includes speeding up investments in technologies to save energy and create alternative fuels; reduce energy bills; diversify sources of energy; strengthen the grid and create 500,000 new clean energy jobs. Regarding the last point, Kerry acknowledged New Mexicos wind farm in Quay County. "America once led the world in the production of clean energy products and the payrolls that go with them. We have to do it again – whether its in wind or biomass, solar or clean coal."
The visit was Kerrys eighth to the state, a fact he noted at the beginning of his speech. "Its great to be back here in New Mexico, while George Bush is in a state of denial." Kerry said he was in Santa Fe for "Fresh air and good, clean thinking."