Candidate, NM Senate District 8
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?
They want to seem to be interested and helping but really only want to be re-elected. When I am elected I will consider scientific evidence as to what needs to be changed. I am an engineer so I understand the importance of real validated research. We can make a lot of progress if everyone can make some small changes in their behavior and values.
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 will find out what initiatives and incentives are available for New Mexicans to convert from use of oil, gas and coal to renewable carbon-free sources. I will work with my legislative colleagues to establish a real and sustainable plan for the transition.
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?
To propose and advance our economic recovery I would encourage our leaders and legislators to explore growing a workforce that can sustain green energy. We need to move our vocational schools/community colleges to embrace their true purpose of training for trades. We can introduce new trade programs into these institutions that revolve around wind and solar energy production. These programs would not be as long as the traditional 4-year university programs.
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. It's time to explore other revenue sources. New Mexico can build on our strengths as a geographically spacious sun-drenched landscape to become the premier producer of renewable solar and wind energy. In this transition, NM has to partner with our rural communities to invest in and establish wind farms and solar parks.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
It is imperative we include people who are traditional owners of the land throughout NM. We have to maintain a New Mexico that generations after us can enjoy and live in just as our ancestors. As a multi-generational (at least 8 generations) New Mexican, this is the my number one priority with regards to climate change.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
I will talk to scientists and land owners including acequia associations and mayordomos about climate issues. These are the people who I would like to advise me. My plan for community consultation would include town halls that address this issue specifically and invite experts in the environment around the district that I represent.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism is the disregard for a communities health and habitat based on the racial makeup of that community. An example in NM of environmental racism can be the violation of water rights for farmers in northeastern New Mexico. There has been much controversy related to people buying property, moving into very rural areas and building houses without much consideration for the water needs of the neighbors around them. Acequia associations are often burdened to resolve these issues.
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.
Yes I believe climate actions is an issues of intergenerational justice. It is our responsibility to leave a NM that is as inhabitable and healthy as it was when we got it. I will fight to ensure this happens.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
I support placing a moratorium on new gas development in NM. Pausing new production via fracking will allow some time to study its effects on the health of the people and environment, provide environmental agencies time to review current regulatory standards and give the communities in the south time to build an infrastructure needed to support the influx of people there.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. Our focus needs to be on renewable, carbon-free energy production.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
I understand it is very efficient but am concerned about the waste. I would need more information before declaring my support or opposition for nuclear energy.
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?
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 support community solar initiatives and will actively advocate for our communities control the production of the energy and benefit from the revenues generated.
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?
The fossil fuel industry/utility's responsibility is to ensure the communities and environment from which they extract oil remain healthy and inhabitable before, during and after pumping. One way to hold the industry accountable is to ensure legislation exists that provides oversight and reasonable reprimands if regulations are not met or followed.
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 see them creating plans to transition from oil and gas producers to clean energy producers.
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?
We need to learn to be better prepared for a crisis. We need to develop policy that is more humane and prepare our systems to provide for the needs of the people. Humanity should always come before economy. Without workers we cannot build an 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 am a professional problem solver. Both of my careers have required me to collect information and develop solutions and plans to remedy the problem. I am genuinely interested in finding out what people in my district see as major issues and work to address these issues. We need real representation in District 8 and this requires personal engagement with the constituency. I will provide this representation.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
Stop taking money from them. My campaign has been purely funded by individual donations. I will not take money from interest groups whose beliefs and values differ from mine. Many say that you need money to win an election and I have found that money also gets you endorsements which is very sad for me. The New Mexicans I will represent do not have money like others do and I will respect that fact and continue to be as resourceful as possible in representing them.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
Wind and Solar Energy and legalization of recreational marijuana.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?