Open Letter With Questions For Senate, Congressional District 3 Candidates

Letter To The Editor_Pongratz Endorses Chris Chandler For House District 43 Seat

Dear Candidates, 

Thank you all so much for your willingness to throw your hats in the ring in an effort to represent the very real needs of the people in this darkest and most challenging of times in US history and the history of the world as we know it. We recognize that whoever of you become our new representatives will have a challenging and often thankless job. 

We are at a critical juncture in human history, where our world is now facing not two, but three existential threats, climate crisis, nuclear war, and the COVID-19 global pandemic. While there is a rapidly growing movement that recognizes the reality of catastrophic global warming and the 6th mass extinction that is underway, not enough of us understand the enormous role the United States war economy, and the corporate military-industrial complex, of which the nuclear weapons industry is a huge component, play in driving the destruction of our beautiful planet Earth. 

These realities are intrinsically linked to, if not the actual cause of all the problems we face in our society and throughout the world. Failure to address US militarism and nuclear weapons proliferation during the campaigns will result in business as usual; no change will be possible, and our hopes for future generations will be lost. 

Even in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, US nuclear war-planning surges ahead unabated. 

The massive $738 billion 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) nuclear weapons budget calls for industrial scale plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) with a price of over $13 billion over 10 years. 

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has decided that it is unnecessary to conduct environmental review before commencing. And our New Mexico Congressional delegation agrees! At the same time, DOE has cut LANL’s 2020 cleanup budget almost in half! 

The failure of our powerful senators, congressman, and governor to demand environmental review for the LANL plutonium pit expansion is a betrayal of Northern New Mexico’s peoples, cultures, health, safety, environment and more. 

The nuclear weapons juggernaut that has a stranglehold on New Mexico and its impoverished economy, (and which fools so many Americans with its false mantras of “deterrence” and “keeping us safe”) must be boldly addressed in order for your congressional seat and any plans for mitigating climate change, or dealing with pandemics, to have any real meaning. 

We are writing today with questions about your positions on these issues that have barely been touched on by your campaigns, but that we feel must be brought into the light of day; US foreign policy and the growing existential threat of nuclear war. 


  1. What is your position on US military spending and the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act?

  2. Do you see the connection between the US war economy and climate change?

  3. What is your position on “modernization” of the United State nuclear weapons arsenal and industrial scale Rocky Flats-style plutonium pit production at LANL.

  4. As a member of Congress, would you lead your colleagues by demanding a Site-wide Environmental Impact Statement for the LANL plutonium pit expansion, even if it means standing up to our two powerful Senators, Congressman Lujan, and our other two congressional members?

  5. If you were in office now, would you pressure DOE/NNSA to halt nuclear weapons production and tritium activities at our National Labs, in other words, shift to “minimum safe and secure operations” during the pandemic? 

Candidates, please respond with your answers to Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures, 

Suzie Schwartz
Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures