Candidate, Bernalillo County Commission D 5

Charlene Pyskoty (Incumbent)
Bernalillo County Commission District 5 Charlene4BernCo.com
Pyskoty-200-X-200.jpeg
  • 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?

Expand fleet to more electric vehicles, more solar power in government buildings, reduce commutes by allowing for more remote work, rainwater harvesting.

  • 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?

The cost to change systems is high and must be budgeted long term. Various governmental bodies must work together and sometimes it takes time to get everyone on board.

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

As the incumbent, I will continue looking for ways to support our environment with innovative solutions to maintaining our County, specifically encouraging clean energy sources while reducing carbon emissions.

  • 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 advocate for clean technologies in high-need, underserved economic areas so that communities may become self-reliant first, and then prosper by lifting up the entire state.

  • 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, NM is bursting with possibilities for a clean economy. Oil and gas revenues should go back into the community as funding for STEM training and education and infrastructure to create a clean economy.

  • If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?

I regularly meet with the leaders of the land grant communities in my district. There is a lot of grounded knowledge from people who have lived generations on the land and this needs to be seriously integrated into our ecological and economic systems.

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

I regularly consult with environmental experts and hold town halls with constituents on climate issues.

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

Environmental racism refers to policies and practices that impact poor and communities of color in disproportionately negative ways. Placing landfills and polluting industries in poor and indigenous areas is an example in NM.

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

First, do no harm. We need to stop practices that are irreparably harming our environment. Next, we need to listen to young people to hear their concerns and work with them on creative solutions.

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

Yes, we already have plenty, and I am hoping that cleaner technologies will make more unnecessary.

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

Yes, clean energy technologies are environmentally and economically sound and should be expanded here.

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

No, the risks are too great and there is no way to eliminate the toxic waste.

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

I think that analysis needs to be done to measure impacts on climate, air quality, and public health. I don not feel comfortable supporting hydrogen production hubs without more information and data.

  • 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.

  • 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 like to see a settlement fund for fossil fuel cleanup like the tobacco and opioid settlement funds. These moneys are disbursed to communities more highly affected for prevention of future harms and treatment of past harms. This would most likely involve statewide legal action.

  • 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?

The COVID-19 crisis showed us that we could stay home, save gas, and live more simply. A big lesson was that we need improved infrastructure, like expanded, reliable broadband, to work, learn, and maintain social connection. We also need clean, accessible water, which is becoming more scarce in this climate environment.

  • 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 degrees in public health and mental health. I have been instrumental in organizing my constituents to fight off developments in their communities that would have been devastating to the environment.

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

I am in County government, so I don't have the same pressures as, perhaps, the state legislature. I listen to my constituents, not big industry. My constituents feel comfortable reaching out to me when they have an opinion on policy or practice.

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

The recreational cannabis industry looks like it will bring in high revenue. I would like to see the outdoor recreation sector grow, as NM has the best landscape and weather.

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

No

Yes