Albuquerque Journal Questionnaire

1. What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico?
1. We must prioritize vocational education and technical-career training.   There is a serious gap when it comes to “middle-skills.”  We must prepare our kids for a skilled workforce, which will strengthen our economy.
2.  Ease the regulatory and tax burden on businesses.  Currently, New Mexico ranks at the bottom for “business friendliness“; we have to change that.
2. What are the top two things you would propose to address the state’s high crime rate?    1.  I support 3 strikes laws such as House Bill 18 and House Bill 28 which addressed the high rates of  violent & property crime in New Mexico.   2.  Provide the resources and support to 1st responders to crime.   Mayor Keller’s plan to use new technology in the fight against gun-related violence, is promising.
3. New Mexico now spends about $300 million a year for early childhood programs, such as home visiting, pre-kindergarten and child care assistance. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services?
I oppose. Studies show that distributions greater than 5 percent, risk the Fund’s solvency.

4. Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?    I oppose state-wide legalization of recreational marijuana.  I support the use of medical marijuana for treatment of diseases where it has been proven to be a successful homeopathic alternative to pharmaceuticals.   

5. Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7.50 per hour? If so, by how much?    I support a minimum wage increase to no more than $9.00/hour in 2019, with  modest .50 incremental changes over time,      Our Mom and Pops simply cannot survive a $12/hour minimum wage law.

6. What steps would you propose taking to ensure the future solvency of New Mexico’s two public retirement systems?    We may be forced to shift towards individual retirement accounts, where employees pay in and manage their own investments, as Rep Larry Scott has proposed.

Would you support making state workers and teachers pay more into the pension funds?    I support voluntary, not mandatory increases into employees’ pension funds.

7. Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?

I support each individual’s right to have a vote in any election, which give the citizens a voice in our government.  My opponent has a record of stopping local elections, as well as ignoring their outcomes.

 

8. Do you support or oppose appealing a state judge’s recent decision that said New Mexico has fallen short of meeting its constitutional requirement to provide a sufficient education to all students?   I oppose.  And what percentage of the state budget, in your opinion, should go toward K-12 public schools?  I oppose an appeal. Our state needs to provide better education for our children.  I support modest increases to our state’s educational budget. Senator Morales has proposed using our “scarce public dollars for proven methods of bettering education:  small class sizes, more professional development for educators, more books, librarians, nurses, counselors, and instructors for art, dance, and music” over PARCC testing.  I agree.

9. Do you support or oppose the current policy of including student test scores as part of teacher evaluations?   Yes.   If you support the policy, what percentage of the evaluation should the test scores account for?   Yes, I support this policy. It should be a small percentage of a bigger picture, and it should be a percentage that has broad support from the teachers.   If you do not support using test scores, what should the teacher evaluations be based on?  N/A
10. Do you support or oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide in order to allow aid-in-dying under certain medical circumstances?   I oppose assisted suicide legislation.  We have failed if our solution is to kill those who suffer mental and physical anguish.  
11. How should the state’s lottery scholarship program be kept solvent into the future?

In 2016, the NMSU student government proposed a “graduated awarding system,”in which awards would be smaller for freshmen, and grow over 4 years as students worked toward graduation.  We should consider such a proposal. I support SB 420, which allowed a 16 month “gap period,” we could look at expanding the gap to 24 months. Most importantly, we have to lower the cost of education by expanding online education.  Currently, offerings for web-based higher education are limited and expensive.

12. Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state?   No.I do not support such a policy.

13. Do you believe the initial police incident reports and videos of arrests and crime scenes should be public?   No.

14. New Mexico has more than 100 exemptions and deductions in its gross receipts tax system. Would you favor eliminating some or all of them as part of an attempt to lower the base rate?   If so, which ones?    Yes, I support scaling back some of the exemptions and deductions.   There are too many winners and losers in this game. We have to scale back on the exemptions and deductions to broaden the base for a more fair, equitable tax system.
15. What would you support to make New Mexico schools safer?  I support voluntary and lawful possession of concealed weapons on school campuses, by trained faculty and staff.  We should ease existing firearm regulations so that trained personnel have the means to protect themselves and our students.  We should strengthen our NICS (National Instant Background Check System), to ensure that our states release criminal and mental health records to the NICS.
16. In light of recent cuts, would you support or oppose increasing funding for the University of New Mexico athletics program, even if that meant possibly reducing funding for other institutions?    I would have to look carefully at the budget for all programs.