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Val Kilmer, Servant of the People?

Val Kilmer joins New Mexico's house speaker in the state's House of Representatives last Wednesday. Kilmer is pondering a run for New Mexico governor. (AP Photo/Albuquerque Journal, Dean Hanson)Enlarge This Image

Maybe Val Kilmer really is running for governor of New Mexico next year. The movie star was walking the walk of a bona fide candidate on Capitol Hill this week.

Last week, the actor, 49, confirmed to the Associated Press that he's thinking about it. ("If that ends up being where I can make a substantial contribution, then I'll run.") Then he flew to D.C. for some old-fashioned networking and friend-raising -- starting Tuesday at the Museum of the American Indian for National Congress of American Indians President Joe Garcia's annual State of the Indian Nations address.

NCAI rep Adam McMullin said Kilmer told Garcia he would cancel Hollywood plans in order to be here for the speech. Seem serious about running? "That's the impression we got," McMullin told us. "He really wanted to talk to tribal leaders and listen to our issues. Native Americans are a large part of the population in New Mexico. I'm sure he sees the importance of their voice in anything he may decide to do politically."

Then it was on to the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where Kilmer (boots, khakis, light jacket, longish hair) lingered outside Sen. Tom Udall's office chatting up staffers and visitors. The New Mexico Democrat could meet only briefly, so Kilmer returned yesterday to join him for lunch. Political talk? Not really, said Udall spokeswoman Marissa Padilla: "They've been friends for a long time." Later, Kilmer dropped in on Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) for a chat about renewable energy, said spokesman Mark Nicastre.

Kilmer's reps didn't get back to us, but in another sign that this might really be happening, he's already getting dissed by home-state detractors such as the former mayor of Gallup, who last month called him a "a privileged, pampered celebrity." Sound familiar? In 1966, California Gov. Pat Brown dismissed Ronald Reagan as the star of "such unforgettable epics as 'Bedtime for Bonzo.' " And in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was slammed by California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante: "He doesn't live in our world. He lives on Planet Hollywood."

And you know how that turned out.

By The Reliable Source  |  February 12, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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Didn't Kilmer pick up a rep as being difficult to work with in Hollywood? Has he grown up enough to handle the nasty world of politics?

Posted by: hobbesian | February 12, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Kilmer is already getting a little flak around New Mexico because of an interview from 2005 (or so) where he's alleged to have made a rude comment or three about Vietnam vets. The author of the interview quoted him making an incendiary insult to vets in the course of explaining how actors have a much better grip on how people feel and think about things than the people who actually experienced some event.

Mr. Kilmer is probably off base if he actually believes that his abilities and training as an actor prepare him to understand the emotive reaction of a person who has performed an act which Mr. Kilmer has not, but I suspect he'll be washed out because of the alleged slam to vets. Regardless of whether he actually said what he was supposed to have said, the slam ended up in print and attributed to him.

Posted by: vpaulus_dabq | February 12, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Although I am not familiar with Mr. Kilmer's politics, it seems to me that the "Traditional Political Hacks" in both parties are complaining because they are frightened of the prospects and the impact he may have on New Mexico politics; personally, I think it is refreshing.

Anyone who has the ability to scare the begebers out of the political establishment is a quantity that the people of any state or nation need to represent their interests. It is exactly this kind of person who can have the ability to galvanize the people into a force for change in the body politic (the legislature) and change things for the better.

On the other hand, it can also be something that can destroy the person who enters the political arena, so caution is advised. Politics can be a very dirty business, and there are a lot of people out there who are not opposed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure that the status quo is maintained and/or not disturbed.

My advice to Mr. Kilmer would be this, be above reproach; completely disinterested in your public service; totally faithful to your family; do everything out in the open and when ever anyone approaches you about anything that seems remotely shady or unethical, immediately bring everyone you can into the room, including the media, and have that person or persons explain what it is they were telling you so everyone will know what the deal is. You will, thereby, shine the light of truth on everything you do and the people will thank you and support you for it.

It is my hope and prayer that you are as successful in this endeavor, Mr. Kilmer, as you are as an actor.

Semper Fidelis!

Michael W. Botello

Posted by: marinervn6971 | February 12, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I see no difference in Mr. Kilmer and the actors in Congress. We get a lot of grandstanding and performances from our elected servants that have nothing to do with the reality on Main Street. They are all playing to the crowd. I wish Mr. Kilmer well; I just hope he can cope with the corruption and hypocrisy. By comparison it makes Hollywood look as pure as the riven snow.

Posted by: TheTraveler | February 13, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

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