Rep. Heather Wilson: Holding Strong in the Race of Her Life


Oct. 27, 2006 — -- Rep. Heather Wilson, R- N.M., is running in one of the most-competitive and hotly contested re-election races this year for the 1st Congressional District seat in New Mexico. Her Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Patricia Madrid, is leading slightly in the polls.

While on the campaign trail in Albuquerque, Wilson appeared on ABC News Now's "Politics Live" with Sam Donaldson and Mark Halperin, where she explained her stance on the Mark Foley scandal.

Immediately after Foley's wrongdoings were revealed, Wilson was quick to return money she had received from him. Wilson reiterated to Halperin, "I don't care whether Republican or Democrat, employee or just a regular old person -- any adult who knew that Foley was soliciting kids and failed to protect them has to be held accountable."

When pressed on Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's role in the scandal, Wilson was less than supportive, suggesting that Hastert might not go the distance as speaker after the midterm elections. When asked who she thinks will be speaker of the House come January, Wilson said, "I think it's going to be a Republican."

Donaldson was quick to give Wilson a chance to defend herself against her opponent's continued attacks that Wilson has been with President Bush every step of the way.

Wilson took the opportunity to point out her differences with the president, citing the handling of the Iraq War as the main difference. "We need to move forward with an orderly transition from U.S. forces to the Iraqi army," she said. But Wilson took care to differentiate herself from her Democratic opponent on this issue, adding that an unconditional withdrawal from Iraq would be "disastrous for American national security."

On immigration, an important voting issue in New Mexico, Wilson insisted that she disagreed with the president's plan for a guest worker program, and a route toward citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"We need to secure the border," she said. "There are tens of thousands of people standing in lines in embassies around the world, waiting to come to America legally, and I don't think that the people who came here illegally should get to go to the front of the line. I don't think that's fair."

Wilson was also asked about her stance on terrorist interrogation techniques, responding to recent comments by Vice President Dick Cheney, who agrees with the water-boarding tactic in which terrorists are dunked in the water.

Wilson insisted "the technique is a violation of the provisions" for which she voted for in Arizona Sen. John McCain's detainee bill.

On the issue of gay marriage, Wilson defended her belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. When asked about the recent decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which ruled that gay couples are due the same benefits as heterosexuals -- but stopped short of endorsing gay marriage -- Wilson said marriage "is an institution we should protect and nurture. It is a union between one man and one woman, and it's something we should honor in law and in our communities."

Pushed on her opinion of whether homosexuality is immoral or not, Wilson said, "There are things I am willing to tolerate that I am not wiling to approve of."

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