El Defensor Chieftain: U.S. Senator visits Tech, Socorro businesses

By:  Elva Osterreich

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) met with students and faculty at New Mexico Tech on Feb. 22, then journeyed through Socorro on an economic tour.

Heinrich is the only engineer in the U.S. senate, and interested in things related to science, technology and math education across the state.

“Tech is one of the really unique institutions in the state,” Heinrich said.

Heinrich received an overview presentation about the school from New Mexico Tech President Dr. Dan Lopez and toured the Mechanical Engineering Department and the IRIS-PASSCAL Instrument Center. The Instrument Center is the world’s largest and the nation’s only federally-funded lending library of seismology equipment.

The senator also heard presentations from several students on current projects ongoing at Tech. They showed him a variety of projects from racing cars on the ground to airplane and rocket projects above the earth.

Following his Tech visit, Heinrich joined Terry Tadano, executive director of the Socorro Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Ravi Bhasker on a driving economic tour of the city, which included the Socorro High School career technology center, Socorro General Hospital, Solaro Energy and the Socorro Community Kitchen.

Heinrich said he visits sites across New Mexico to understand his state better and there is always something to learn.

“The more you know, the better public servant you can be,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Heinrich said he spent some time at the barber shop and the coffee shop just chatting with constituents.

One of the highest areas of concern in New Mexico right now, he said, is long-term health care.

He said delivering health care in a small town setting is very different than in the larger urban areas.

“This is such a unique community,” Heinrich said of Socorro. “I love it.”

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