BY GARY STRADLING
Republican Candidate for
Los Alamos County Councli
My thanks to the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce for hosting a Candidate Forum on Thursday. We have lost many county businesses over the decades, which should cause the Chamber great concern. However, it appears that our economy has stagnated just slowly enough that county leaders are not alarmed at this real and present crisis. However, with my vantage as a 41-year resident, I am alarmed. As always, my focus is on the need for Los Alamos County to develop housing for the many thousands of people forced to commute into the County daily, and for the many thousands more who would be working here in community-support jobs if reasonable housing were available. Commuters pay a high price to work here. LANL new hires are reported to have a 60% attrition rate within the first 5 years. These folks are making the big bucks, and still will not stay—whether because of their commute, or because of a stagnant local economy.
My comment at the forum, which caused concern to some, was about not wanting Los Alamos to rely on “guest workers”, and I mentioned the case of Filipino guest workers in Saudi Arabia, of which there are currently nearly a million. This reference was a mistake and I erred in calling out any ethnic group. I should have avoided the insensitive and racially charged language, which some find insulting, and I want to assure our citizens that I value all cultures and peoples of every ethnicity.
I want the people working here to be part of the community, in their own homes, and enriching our community.