Candidate, NM Senate District 16
Do you agree with climate scientists that we are facing a climate emergency?
Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 12 years in order to achieve carbon neutrality in time to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees and to avoid catastrophic runaway climate disruption?
In your opinion, why do political leaders set benchmarks and timeframes for emissions reductions that do not comport with climate science mandates? If elected, what will you do differently than current leadership?
They do so because of political expediency. I always prioritize the environment in my voting record and I introduce legislation to try to reverse climate change.
If elected, what specific policies will you initiate in your first year of service to begin transitioning our economy to net zero carbon emissions in the timeframe set by the world’s leading scientists?
I will continue to push for a pause on fracking and now that the industry is pausing itself, I will push for a strong environmental evaluation of its impact on the environment. I will continue to push for community solar and I am going to sponsor a green amendment to our New Mexico Constitution so that individuals in our state will have a right to clean water, and a healthy environment.
What measures will you propose and advance to ensure that economic recovery and the transition to a green economy fosters equity and economic & racial justice?
I will push for a move to support renewable energy policies over non-renewable energy. I will also push for a consideration of impact on local communities. I will also look for equity in job training programs in the new renewable industries.
If elected, will you support the creation of a Just Transition Study & Fund to identify alternative revenue sources for our state budget and invest in community-driven climate mitigation and adaptation strategies? Explain.
Yes. That is a wonderful idea. We must invest in community solar and support other ideas generated by community to mitigate climate change.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
I will work with tribal community members to ensure their voice is heard and seek the guidance and leadership of community leaders and others who do the same.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
I listen to all environmental experts and advocates, including YUCCA and have been very impressed by YUCCA's advocacy. I will continue to listen to all who care about the environment. I host town halls to ensure community voice and respond positively to all requests for community meetings with me.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism is the siting of toxic industries and/ or activities in or near communities of color.An example, historically was the uranium mining in and near Navajo lands. Another is the number of superfund sites and leakage and spills in the South valley area of Albuquerque. Another is the failure of the KAFB to clean up a jet fuel plume that endangers water wells in the International district.
Do you believe climate action is an issue of intergenerational justice? What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations while in office? Explain.
Yes. I believe we owe it to the youth and future generations to clean up the existing environmental problems and to set us on a path of clean, renewable energy.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. I have introduced a bill to pause fracking in the two legislative sessions I have served.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. The Energy Transition Act should be tightened to ensure that the use of coal is not replaced with gas. We need to transition to truly clean energy by our utilities.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
No. I have not seen data to show that nuclear energy is truly safe and environmentally sound.
Do you support a competitive energy market where Cities/Counties/Indigenous Nations are able to own, produce, and sell electricity to residents and keep energy dollars local?
Yes. That is why I co-sponsored a Community Solar bill in the last session.
Community Solar legislation has been brought up multiple times in the last few years. What is your position on community solar and what will you do to ensure that community solar is prioritized and passes?
I co-sponsored a Community Solar bill in the last session and will continue to push for it, whether I am the sponsor or not.
What do you believe is the fossil fuel industry/utility’s responsibility for cleanup and how as an elected official in the public office for which you are running do you plan to hold industry accountable for pollution and cleanup?
They are complete responsible for cleanup. I will push for adequate funding of the Environmental Department to ensure that they are help accountable and I will be outspoken in holding them accountable.
Do you believe bonding rates for industry should cover the full cost of cleanup?
We have seen the oil industry collapse over the last month, with oil prices nosediving. Given our current situation and the danger our state’s budget is in, how do you see the role of oil and gas corporations in New Mexico’s future?
They need to show more financial viability to be responsible for cleanup and they need to submit to environmental regulation to ensure that they are responsible with regard to produced water, the responsible use of the state's water, and to ensure that they are responsible with regard to methane emissions. Royalties should be increased on their production. Finally, we need to diversify our sources of income so that we are not so dependent on oil and gas revenue for funding our state's schools.
Do you support utility bill forgiveness for low-income New Mexicans who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis?
Some are saying that COVID-19 is the dress rehearsal for the climate crisis. In fact, in many places throughout the world, the two are compounding crises. What do you think we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis when addressing the climate crisis?
The COVID-19 crisis has revealed many problems with inequities. These same inequities of access to clean water, exposure to air pollution, less healthy environment are related to way the COVID-19 crisis has hit communities of color and more vulnerable individuals harder. As we recover, I believe it is important to address these inequities in state funding decisions and laws and regulations.
Describe your previous experience working on social/health/environmental issues, do you have experience working with impacted communities to co-develop solutions? How will you use this experience to tackle the climate crisis?
I taught in our clinics at UNM and oversaw them for 8 years. We had an economic justice clinic, a community lawyering clinic, the Southwest Indian Law Center, and an environmental clinic. This taught me many lessons about serving clients and helping them address the problems they faced. I also served as ED of Enlace Comunitario, a social justice agency whose target outreach is immigrant communities. I learned that those most affected by problems know the best the solutions.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
Campaign finance reform would be helpful. So would more sunshine about what issues lobbyists are addressing, and their contacts with legislators.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
I would repeal many of the tax credits that benefit industry. I would also work to make the tax code more progressive. Eventually, we will need to tax the solar and wind industries.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?