Bregman Running for Congress

by Dennis Domrzalski


January 6 - January 12, 2000

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Former City Councilor Sam Bregman has announced that he is running for Congress and is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to challenge Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson for the 1st Congressional District seat in November. Bregman is the third Democrat to announce he's running for the seat. The others are Albuquerque businessman Bob Perls and attorney John Wertheim. The Democratic primary is in June. Alibi has run interviews with Perls and Wertheim in this space. This week we feature Bregman.


He was crushed by the loss of his City Council seat in October, but former City Councilor Sam Bregman said that he has picked himself up from that defeat and is now running for Congress. Bregman, 36, who served a single, four-year term on the Council, is hoping to challenge incumbent Republican Heather Wilson in November for the 1st Congressional District seat.

The would-be congressman said he believes that Wilson is too beholden to special interests like insurance companies and HMOs, as well as to the "right wing" faction of the Republican Party. The young Democrat said he will have five main themes in his campaign: education, health care, public safety, Social Security and the environment.

Why is he seeking elective office so soon after losing his City Council seat?

"Number one, I think I can do the job, and number two, I think this congressional district needs a representative back in Washington who is a voice for everyone back in the district, not just for the special interests and not just for the right wing of the Republican Party," Bregman said. "I think the last thing we need in Washington is someone who is beholden to insurance companies and someone who is beholden to the National Rifle Association, someone who is beholden to the various leaders, if you will, who have helped put that person in there."

Bregman said he supports holding teachers and educators accountable, but that he opposes vouchers. He favors stricter enforcement of gun laws and would support a law requiring gun manufacturers to put child safety locks on their weapons. He does not favor any privatization of Social Security and is not in favor of tax cuts right now. He also believes that the Medicare program should pay for prescription drugs for senior citizens.

Education

Bregman is adamantly opposed to a voucher program where the government would give families vouchers worth a certain amount of money that they could use for tuition for their children at the schools of their choice, including private and religious schools.

"I have not been convinced that vouchers are the answer. To the contrary, I think what people are looking for, and why vouchers have some popularity, is they want to hold their school systems accountable," Bregman said. "The people of Albuquerque want to see their school system actually give a quality education to their children, which is not happening now."

Two first steps to holding the educational system accountable would be to test teachers annually and to end the policy of social promotion, Bregman said.

Health Care

Medical advances have given Americans longer lives. But at the same time, senior citizens are often dependent on a slew of prescription drugs to keep their aches and pains at bay. Senior groups have complained that drug companies are charging too much for their products and that they can't afford life-sustaining medicine. Bregman said Medicare should pay for prescription drugs for seniors.

"There is no reason in the world why Medicare should not be covering prescription drugs. ... I think everybody knows now that the cost of some of this medication is unbelievable."

How will that be paid for?

"We're all going to have to pick up the tab," Bregman said. "There is no doubt that it is going to cost all of us, and I'm willing to accept that."

Social Security

"I think the most important thing that needs to be done when it comes to Social Security is to develop a plan to ensure that people of my generation and younger and older have the assurance that Social Security is going to be there when they are eligible for it," Bregman said. "I don't think the way to do that right now is to run out and say, 'OK, let's take a piece of it and throw it in the market or let's take a piece of it and say, it's your money, do whatever you want with it, invest it the way you want.' I don't think that is the solution."

Bregman favors spending every cent of the Social Security surplus on Social Security. He believes that any Social Security surplus should be put in an account so that it can be used in later years to pay benefits.

"I think ... instead of the idea of tax breaks right now for a select few, we should be shoring up Social Security for our senior citizens."

Public Safety

Although he said there are enough gun laws on the books and that we don't need more, Bregman favors a law that would require safety locks on guns and that would close loopholes that allow people to buy guns at gun shows without having to go through background checks and a 48-hour waiting period.

"I think we need better enforcement of the laws, and I certainly believe in the individual's right to own firearms," Bregman said. He also believes in continuing federal funding for community policing efforts.


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