These are answers to the questions for Sandoval County’s Primary:
Q1. In your own words, what would you say is the biggest issue facing New Mexico today? New Mexico’s child well-being score ranks last in the Nation. When the economy, education, health, and community conditions are poor, it is our children who suffer the most. But they are the future, and unless we change direction, their prospects will remain dim.
Q2. How can you best serve the constituents of your district?
A2: 1. I support the long-term success of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Unless our National Laboratory (LANL) is strong, creating jobs, expanding its programs, and growing its scientific, technical, and engineering base, District 43 will not prosper. My opponent has lobbied vigorously to impose GRTs (gross receipts taxes) for Los Alamos County’s bloated government and pet projects. Many employees at LANL feel that this is a short-sighted and self-defeating approach. We have to prioritize research, development, and employees over profits and GRTs. Many agree that a non-profit management structure and tax exemption will bring about the necessary reforms to accomplish its national security missions.
2. I support the small businesses, ranchers, and farmers in my District. My opponent is a proponent of tax hikes which affects these constituents disproportionately. Access to water and natural resources is an important issue in District 43.
Q3. What do you believe should be done to create jobs in the state to help boost the economy?
A3: We must prioritize vocational education; technical-career training. There is a serious gap when it comes to “middle-skills.” We must prepare our students for a skilled workforce, and support the businesses that will employ them.
Q4. How would you improve education in the state?
A4: 1. Expand opportunities for online education. Currently, the course and degree offerings are limited and expensive. Online education allows those who are employed to work towards a degree and gives those in the rural areas access to quality education.
2. We must prioritize reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade. Studies show that students without proficiency by the 4th grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of high school, especially for those living in poverty. Let’s give parents, teachers, and schools the resources they need for reading success!
Q5. Explain your health care goals for the state.
A5: 1. Our system emphasizes the treatment of diseases, rather than their prevention. We must prioritize community driven initiatives that encourage good nutrition, health education, wellness exams, and exercise. We need a team of health care providers, teachers, first responders, and small businesses that work together to strengthen health care.
2. Fight drug abuse. The opioid crisis in Rio Arriba County is causing the highest death rates in the Nation. H.R. 6 is bipartisan, comprehensive legislation that promotes opioid recovery and treatment, which can be implemented at the state level.