Candidate, NM House District 45
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?
In my opinion, some politicians establish unrealistic timelines, and don't support with funding so that initiatives can fail. I believe we should be bold and set aggressive benchmarks and timelines, with the proper funding behind the effort to demonstrate success.
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 would support and propose efforts to become a world leader in manufacturing renewable and clean energy technologies. This helps grow and diversify our economy and provide good paying jobs.
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 support advancing community solar. I support the growth of a thriving clean energy economy centered on our abundant solar and wind resources. I will support ending gas, coal and oil leasing on our public lands.
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. I have worked on empowering communities in the past. It is important that we fully fund efforts to develop a just transition study. Ending fossil fuel subsidies could not only fund studies, but pay for pollution mitigation as well.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
We must support and protect our acequia systems and it's infrastructure. We must recognize features such as wet lands, animal habitats and work to improve them and make them robust enough to withstand climate change. We must do all that we can to protect indigenous sacred sites.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
I rely on community based organizations to help provide the reality of what is happening to real people and families. I have many advisers including some that work in your organization. I study and listen to other climate change professionals, experts and activists.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism comes in many forms, including the built environment. I worked to create the Airport Road overlay to help address some of this. Communities that are young, have a large minority population and poverty are usually victims of environmental racism. I would simply point to Airport Road here in Santa Fe as an example of that.
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.
My responsibility, and the responsibility of my generation is to learn as much as we can about environmental justice, practice protecting the environment and finally passing that knowledge and implementation on to future generations. I come from a family who without being part of organized movements, were protecting the environment. The use of rain barrels is not something new. It's been going on for generations here in New Mexico.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. Again, we must reduce and end our dependency on oil and gas.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. There are other sources of clean energy we must explore, manufacture and utilize.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
I do not. I grew up in an age when Nuclear power was risky, dangerous and even unproven. I believe we can find a better way than to support nuclear energy. One that is not harmful not only to the environment, but to people as well. Again, New Mexico has an abundance of wind and solar and we must capitalize on that.
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. Community solar is important. The state of New Mexico must provide Cities, Counties and Indigenous Nations the resources and policies needed to allow this to happen.
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?
We must continue to push policy to allow this to happen. I believe New Mexico will move more and more in that direction and I will do what I can to support this effort. It's important to build relationships with others who might oppose, or be reluctant to support in order to get this legislation to move forward.
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?
We can hold big oil accountable and make them live up to their promises to plug leaking wells and restore our land. We must fully fund the Oil Conservation division and give them the authority to assess fines and penalties. We must work to ensure the industry reverses the amount of spilled industry wastewater.
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?
We are in a unique position of opportunity. We make change when we think and act differently and we are more open minded to these challenges now more than ever. We must advance opportunities to define the role of oil and gas. Now is the time to demand changes from oil and gas and aggressively move towards addressing our climate crises. We need to continue the green economy revolution and ensure that our children are well educated and trained to minimize the role of oil and gas.
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?
There are 3 things we have learned. One is that it is possible to work from home and still be productive and working remotely could be the standard and not the exception. I believe that face to face learning is still the best, but the second lesson we have learned is that some young people can, and do learn online. This is tricky because people learn differently and we don't want to eliminate the teacher from the classroom. Thirdly is that we can continue to support small and local business.
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?
As mentioned before, I developed the Airport Rd. overlay that had an overarching theme of health. This effort was led by engaging and empowering the community. Ultimately policy was developed that reflected the communities priorities. Much work still needs to be done. I believe that it's important that we continue to address issues utilizing grass roots efforts.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
We must take the fossil free pledge. We must continue to work to diversify our economy so that we aren't so dependent on oil and gas. We can do this by continuing to improve on education. We have seen during the Covid 19 crises, measurable change and relief globally to our environment. We should learn from this and demonstrate the weakening grip of the industry on New Mexico.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
I would work to eliminate corporate welfare in New Mexico. Although tourism and film are two other sources of revenue, I would work to ensure small and local business are successful and have the resources they need to be successful.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?