On a windy weekday, KUNM went to a modest farm in Albuquerque’s South Valley. From there we continue our Voices Behind the Vote series with a voter who’s concerned about his livestock, government spending, and his children’s futures.
Jason Tapia has been voting ever since he turned 18. He said that his family taught him that it was his duty as an American to vote, and, if he didn’t vote, to not complain about the political climate.
“I live in the county, so I can’t vote in the city. But I can vote for county people, and I just feel my guy doesn’t represent me. I’ve tried to talk to him, tried to go by his office, tried to make phone calls, emails, he never gets back with me.”
Tapia says that coyotes are a big problem for his farm. “One year we got 80 animals killed and we’ve repurchased animals and they got killed again." The state Game and Fish Department allows people to shoot them but he can't discharge a weapon in city limits. He said he's wants government trappers come out to his land but said he needs the support of his county commissioner.
Tapia says he's afraid to speak his mind in public. “In today’s climate, especially as a conservative person or Republican, you can’t put any bumper stickers out. You can’t put yard signs out in your yard because of your fear of vandalizing your home and your vehicle when you are not around. You have to be careful of who you talk to, because they will call you a racist.”
Tapia said he experienced this backlash from a neighbor after he put a George Bush sign in his front lawn. “We didn’t really talk politics with her,” says Tapia. “But we got along with my neighbor and ever since that sign was out there, 'you damn republican neighbor!'”
Tapia said he's concerned about the upcoming election for many reasons but especially how the government spends money.
“The government, whether its Republicans or Democrats, they tend to want to claim or believe that the tax dollars belong to them. When in reality it’s our money, it’s the citizens money,” Tapia said. “And I see too many times when they take that and build upon government and grow it and grow it. When are you going to realize you can’t keep consuming and spending?”