Candidate, NM House of Representatives, 19

Colton Dean
  • 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?

Heavy investment into solar, wind, and battery storage for individual residences and businesses; combined with smart meter and smart grid technology.

  • 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)


  • 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?


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

Because, unfortunately, issues of the climate have become politicized. Clean air and clean water, and a predictable climate should not be political issues.

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

I would be more vocal on the urgency of 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 would work to make sure the jobs that will be created in this green industrial revolution be well-paying, support their opportunity to unionize, and make sure communities of color are aware of these opportunities and encourage their participation.

  • 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. I think there is a huge revenue opportunity in battery storage, and smart metering. If the system in my home can collect "stranded" energy in low demand times, then return it to the grid in high demand times, that is two potentially taxable events. Though it may only be a few cents per building per day, statewide it can add up over the course of a year.

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

I would listen to specific Indigenous communities to understand their specific goals, with respect to their individual perspectives. As important as a robust sustainable economy not reliant upon fossil fuels is, it would be a mistake to think there is a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

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

I will primarily speak with my HD 19 constituents, and try to understand what barriers they may face that inhibit their ability to make more environmentally conscious choices. No current advisors, but I would defer to representatives of groups that aren't funded by oil and gas.

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

Environmental racism is when communities of color are subjected to the externalized costs of damaging the environment, without consideration or compensation. It could also mean leaving them out of the discussion for solutions on how to repair the damage done and how to build an environmentally conscious future, either intentionally or unintentionally.

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

My generation has suffered with the previous generation(s) not understanding the consequences of relentless profit and growth, and at the expense of the environment and economic opportunities for my generation. It is the responsibility of my generation to not only correct the damage, but try not to inflict new damage onto the next generation.

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

Yes. There must be a moratorium until a comprehensive environmental study has been done.

  • 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 invest in solar and wind and battery storage. And regard gas solely as an emergency backup energy source, not a primary energy source. When we achieve a majority of renewable energy powering our State, then maybe we can consider investments into new gas plants.

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

No. Nuclear energy is only safe as long as no mistakes are ever made, and no disasters ever happen. Unfortunately, that is too high of a bar to maintain forever. And we still haven't figured out what to do with nuclear waste long-term. Let's instead harness the nuclear reactor in the sky, 93 million miles away, that gives New Mexico 300+ opportunities a year to collect it's ostensibly infinite amount of energy.

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

No. To my understanding, Hydrogen can only be obtained two ways. Either from water or from fossil fuel hydrocarbons. New Mexico doesn't have abundant water, that leaves fossil fuel hydrocarbons. Also, for hydrogen to be remotely environmental it would need to be processed from solar and/or wind energy. Why not just use the solar and wind energy? Plus hydrogen needs to be stored cryogenically, which takes electrical energy that would need to be sourced from solar and wind to be remotely environmental. Again, why not just use the solar and wind energy?

  • 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. Most of rural New Mexico has co-op electrical utilities, and it woks just fine. I think with smart metering and smart grid technology, cities/counties/and Indigenous Nations would be able to make more revenue from selling their community-sourced energy to the grid, as well as storing "stranded" energy in low-demand hours.

  • 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 penalties that corporations can't just budget into their operating costs, and that hold individuals accountable. I would also like to see individuals be able to sue fossil fuel companies if they or their property have been harmed by their negligence. Most of the time a large number of individuals have to have been harmed, and form a class-action suit to even stand a chance. And even then it may take years of litigation. If harmed, individuals need support to find restitution.

  • 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?

One lesson of the COVID-19 crisis is that we are not ready for a global crisis. And it is unfortunate how politicized many aspects of the pandemic became that inhibited our ability to adequately address it. Another lesson is the need for universal healthcare. We are past due for some kind of system like every other developed nation has. Another lesson is how fragile the supply chain is. This is a result of the relentless pursuit of profit over more practical options. What good were cheaper masks and cheaper microprocessors when they were on the other side of the world and the ports were shut down? Hopefully we as a nation learn to be more resilient, and hopefully New Mexico can claim a position in a reimagined self-sufficient economy.

  • 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 a licensed EMT/Paramedic for 14 years, 13 of those years were on an ambulance responding to 911 calls and interfacility transports mostly within Bernalillo County. Currently I work at the Veteran's Hospital in Sterile Processing. I feel that is the most direct form of working on health issues, because I interacted with individuals of all ages and backgrounds and could see how they were impacted. I think that experience gives me a unique insight and an ability to show empathy and listen, as well as communicate complex issues without talking down.

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

Ranked Choice Voting. Publicly financed campaigns. A full-time paid legislature. These three ideas will encourage more people to run for office, and reduce the influence of donations, and give incentive to avoid corruption. And it will provide a greater variety of candidates with more nuanced positions.

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

Solar, wind, and battery storage combined with smart-metering and smart-grid technology to facilitate microtransactions of storing "stranded" energy, and returning energy to the grid. Also, tax big box stores that did so well during the pandemic while local businesses struggled or failed. Or threaten to tax them if they don't pay a living wage and offer benefits. When people have more money they'll spend more, which would generate more GRT.

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


Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?