Candidate, NM House of Representatives, 12

Art De La Cruz (Incumbent)
www.artdelacruz.com
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  • If elected, what specific policies will you pursue in 2023 to begin rapidly transitioning our economy to achieve carbon neutrality in the timeframe set by the world’s leading scientists?

I supported HB 6, The Clean Future Act this past legislative session. Climate change is an emergency and affects everyone and we need to move quickly to implement 100% clean energy standards in New Mexico. I will continue to support legislation to accomplish this. The state needs to support either individual family/homes or community solar energy for all. In 2020 Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the solar tax credit back into law, as the law had been allowed to expire without reauthorization in 2016. I support the practice of using the tax code to incentivize climate action.

  • Do you agree with climate scientists that the brunt of the impacts we face due to climate change will be put on those who contributed the least emissions? (The global South, Indigenous, and low-income communities)

Yes

  • Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 8 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?

Yes

  • In your opinion, why do political leaders set benchmarks and timeframes for emissions reductions that do not comport with climate science mandates?

There are financial costs associated with climate change mandates and many increased costs must be borne by voters, so many elected officials are hesitant to impose climate science mandates. These officials fear not being reelected. This year in HB 6, The Clean Future Act, it failed to pass with both Democrats and Republicans voting against it. The rationale for these folks was that it would increase the cost of gasoline for rural county dwellers who have to travel long distances for most things. I suspect that they would not be reelected.

  • If elected, what will you do differently than current leadership?

I will continue to support initiatives that protect our air, water and fight climate change.

  • 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 believe that there are incredible job creating opportunites in moving to a green economy. These new jobs will be available to everyone, especially those with limited resources and help enhance racial justice. These new jobs will likely support non-traditional employees, women and minorities. At the state level we must enact legislation that recruits, promotes and incentivizes moving to a green economy. Additionally, the state must partner with our national laboratories to lead the nation in new green technology. New Mexico has more sun light than any other state in the union. It can and should lead nationally in solar panel and solar battery storage technology. I will submit legislation advancing the above.

  • If elected, will you support the creation of a Just Transition Study & Fund to identify alternative revenue sources for our state budget and allocate funds from oil and gas directly into community-driven climate mitigation and adaptation strategies? Explain.

Yes. It is important to improve our state economic development efforts and continue to bring new business into our state, especially those that are aligned with green initiatives. Our military bases and labs are economic drivers and as a state we must welcome and support these facilities and programs.

  • 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 include traditional land-based knowledge and indigenous individuals and organizations to partner and participate when crafting legislation affecting the above.

  • Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?

I read and see what is happening in our community, city, county, state and world. I speak to other legislators, such as Representative Small the author of HB 6. The climate changes that I have witnessed in my lifetime are a stark reminder. I have seen animals that were prevalent on our property in the South Valley of ABQ are gone, notably horned toads; I haven't seen one since 1999. These little animals were extremely common when I was a child. Ready or not, climate change is here.

  • Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM

Environmental racism to me is the fact that many pollution causing industrial facilities are too often adjacent to communities of color and lower income. This reality causes health issues for many of these residents, and consequently creates environmental racism.

  • What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations while in office? Explain.

We must protect the future now! To do so means enacting laws that mitigate climate change and starts to reverse the ill effects of green house gases.

  • A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

Yes. A moratorium will slow the expanse of oil use and provide the time necessary to move to green energy and economy.

  • B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

Yes. We must as a state promote and invest in sustainable green energy.

  • Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?

No, history has shown us the dangers of nuclear energy.

  • Do you support the development of Hydrogen Production Hubs here in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

Yes, but only green hydrogen to enhance the technology, use and safety.

  • Do you support community ownership of energy where Cities/Counties/Indigenous Nations are able to own, produce, and sell electricity to residents and keep energy dollars local?

Yes. I would support solar energy production as a community effort with statewide support and investment, to include individual home and individual community facilities.

  • 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?

While the fossil fuel industry reaps profits, in tandem must be the effect of law to compel them to clean after themselves. I will support law to mandate them to clean up their pollution and impacts of their work.

  • Do you support utility bill forgiveness for low-income New Mexicans who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes

  • 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?

Covid-19 showed us that when we are motivated enough we can engage science to do great things like the creation of vaccines that work. This same type of motivation should propel us to act on climate change. Humanity must understand that the warming of the planet can also mean new and aggressive viruses which can, like Covid-19, endanger us all. We are in a climate crisis and we must act. We cannot control every country but we can control what we do and set an example.

  • 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 have been an appointed Representative for a very short time, serving recently in an intense 15 days of the 2022 session. In this past legislative session, I proudly voted in favor of HB 6, The Clean Future Act. As the former Director of the Bernalillo County Parks and Recreation Department, I created the County’s Open Space Program. As a Bernalillo County Commissioner, I lead the way for the purchase and creation of the Valle de Oro Federal Wildlife Refuge as well as the purchase of what is now the County’s Arenal Open Space.
My experience lends itself to caring about people, the environment and protecting our lands, and now to help tackle climate change at the state level.

  • What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?

Public funding for elections without asking voters to give anything individually.

  • Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected

Improve state economic development efforts and continue to bring new business into our state. Ensure that our military bases and labs are welcomed, supported and expanded. Raise taxes on individuals who have exceedingly high income (income level for tax to be determined).

  • Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No

Yes

No