Candidate, NM Senate District 38
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?
I feel political leaders set those benchmarks and timelines because they are beholden to corporations and PAC's rather than to the people they represent. I will decline support from any organization or PAC that denies climate change and rely on science and the climate change experts to guide my votes.
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?
As a legislator, I would introduce more policies to encourage the use of electric vehicles, more charging stations throughout the state, incentives to purchase electric vehicles, and to make them more affordable for all New Mexicans. Furthermore, making renewable energy more accessible to rural communities and low income housing (with community solar), tax incentives for landlords to install energy efficient appliances in their apartments and homes and retrofit for more energy efficiency.
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 would spearhead more resources for entrepreneurial opportunities for communities of color in renewable energy, job training, and business development. I would expect, and ensure, pay scales are equal to white counterparts and access to capital is unobstructed.
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.
Oh My God, this is the first time I am hearing about this and I absolutely love this idea. I have been talking about this very strategy to provide training to displaced oil and gas workers. I am excited for this and would be honored to bring this to communities throughout New Mexico. Especially in District 38, which does not have coal producers but is in need of economic stimulus. If we could do this while harnessing the methane from our dairy's, our region could benefit a great deal.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
As a white woman of privileged, I recognize the expertise lies in the communities and should not be based on my experience or information. I would I would gather members of indigenous communities to provide input and strategy on ways to develop a sustainable economy. Then, based on that information, connect with the appropriate agencies and resources that can help build that economy and then nurture it until it becomes sustainable.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
As a journalist for 20 years, I appreciate and value information and facts. As the CEO of the Green Chamber, I feel I have a bit more awareness about Net Zero, the Triple Bottom Line, and the economic impacts of renewable energy. That said, I am smart enough to know who is a credible source of climate change information and who would approach me with less than honest intentions. I would consult with science experts, the boots on the ground activists, and change makers for direction & input.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism is where communities of color are denied, prevented from, and ignored when the demand for a healthier environment, equal access to safe drinking water and air, safe and protected working environments, and healthy food are voiced. In southern New Mexico, we have several colonias near our dairy, thus creating unhealthy air and water, challenging work opportunities, and limited access to basic resources and services.
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.
I do. I feel my job as an older individual is to do two things: 1: do my best to fix or repair what I can regarding damage to our planet. 2: Mentor, provide resources, and guidance to youth and future generations while allowing space to take ownership over new solutions and approaches.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes We need to focus on developing more sustainable methods of energy production and feel a moratorium on new gas development will allow that to happen.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. We need to require more utilities to invest in and be genuine about it, for more renewable energy sources that would benefit our state rather than the pockets of their investors.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
This is a complicated question as it appears that nuclear power is the lesser of two evils. Although no fossil fuels are burned and there are no carbon dioxide emissions, the disposal of nuclear waste and the devastating effects of accidents can have damaging effects for decades, if not longer. I feel the more we can focus on renewable energy and solar, reducing our consumption, and lessening our negative impact on the planet, the more we can reduce our dependence on harmful energy sources.
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?
As the CEO of the Green Chamber, keeping things local is what I talk about every day. When we keep energy dollars local, we are supporting local jobs, the local economy, and reducing the carbon footprint. I don't think the major energy providers in the state will like that but that's not my concern. I want communities to thrive and the more energy independent they can become, the better they will be.
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 am in total support of community solar. It can help underserved communities, reduce utility costs for low-income housing and rentals, and reduce our dependence on corporate utility companies. I would be more than happy to support community solar projects in underserved communities.
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?
I would request the NM Environmental Department be more proactive in pursuing cleanup violations, follow through with litigation, and timelines for completion of the cleanup requirements. I would advocate for more funding and resources to the Environment Department so they could do their job.
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?
I think, as horrible as this pandemic is, we see how beholden we are to the oil and gas industry to fund our state programs. I have pushed for diversifying our revenue stream so that important programs across the state aren't at the whim of a successful or damaging oil market. I would hope this justifies the argument that we need to think beyond oil and gas and start to be more proactive in taking control of our revenue sources.
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?
I think because of COVID-19, we are seeing what happens when we are forced to reduce our travel and our consumption of resources. If this isn't a concrete example of human impact on the planet, I don't know what is. From this, we need to work smarter, more thoughtful, and with greater meaning to protect our planet.
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 the CEO of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, we advocate for locally owned businesses, creating sustainable communities, and protecting our air, land, and water. We have rallied against a Walmart Neighborhood Market in our area that would have destroyed minority owned businesses, and were instrumental in the designation of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument. Articulating the importance of the Triple Bottom Line is what I do best.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
I believe in term limits, limiting the influence of lobbyists, and insisting on transparency in both voting and capital outlay spending.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
I believe we should legalize recreational cannabis so we can regulate and tax it, and stop incarcerating people of color for minor possessions. I also believe we need to put more resources into renewable energy production and the industry to create jobs, ease the burden of high utility bills for low income communities and rural areas, and reduce our dependence on oil and gas.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge? http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/politician-signup/