His message is “Energy to empower New Mexico.” Candidate for U.S. Representative in New Mexico’s second Congressional District, Gavin Clarkson stopped by the Chieftain last Friday. Clarkson, a Republican, is looking to claim the seat to be vacated by Steve Pearce, who is unopposed in his run for governor.

“Until December of last year, I was President Trump’s Deputy Asst. Secretary for Policy and Economic Development-Indian Affairs,” Clarkson said. “I promised the president I would stay through the end of the year, and at the end of the year I resigned my position to enter the race for New Mexico Second Congressional District.”

Clarkson is one of four candidates going into the Republican primary, and points to his time in Washington as an advantage.

“I am the battle tested swamp warrior to make sure we defend the seat in November,” he said. “But interestingly, I’m also the only one with specific plans.”

Clarkson said he wants to remove or reduce regulations that inhibit economic growth. One plan concerns the elimination of dual taxation in Indian Country, in which both states and tribes may validly impose taxes on non-tribal members doing business in Indian country.

As an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Clarkson said the number one issue holding back economic development in Indian Country is “dual taxation on job creators.”

“If we can eliminate dual taxation, reduce regulation that makes it nearly impossible to start a business on-reservation, and increase access to capital for tribal and tribal member businesses, we can create an on-reservation entrepreneurial sector that will keep money cycling on the reservation,” he said.

Clarkson supports President Trump’s efforts to enforcing border security in order to keep Americans safe. “I am the only candidate with a border enforcement plan that also provides economic development for companies in southern New Mexico,” he said.

Clarkson also believes in empowering women to choose life regardless of family or financial circumstances.

“I believe I have a strong chance to win because of my consistently conservative message,” he stated.

Clarkson lives in Las Cruces and is a professor of Business at New Mexico State University. Third on the ballot, he is running against Yvette Herrell, Monty Newman, and Clayburn Griffin. A fifth candidate, Jack S. Volpato Jr., was disqualified.