Candidate, NM Senate District 4
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 cannot answer why some leaders do not look for better emissions standards. It may have to do with the current political structure and big money in politics - but I will fight for higher emissions standards and a 100% clean energy as soon as possible.
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?
There are several things. New Mexico can take the lead on, including investing in zero-emissions vehicles, increasing public transportation options, creating a carbon framing task-force, and establish methane emissions standards to reduce pollution and waste.
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 am running for State Senate to achieve environmental and economic justice. It's time that we invest in our natural resources to create more revenue and jobs with wind, solar and agriculture. We can also invest and incentivize public transportation. Clearly, New Mexico's economy is too focused on Oil and Gas - it is time to diversify our economy by prioritizing our people and natural resources over corporations, and create legislation to invest in those things.
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. This is long overdue - I would be happy to support this.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
On July 16, 1979 there was a Uranium Tailing Spill in Church Rock, which resulted in contamination of the land and higher rates of illnesses in the Church Rock area. I support efforts to establish an official Uranium Blue Ribbon Task Force in McKinley County. This is just one example of the fight that we have dealt with in the Navajo Nation, and I have been on the front lines. Moreover, we need a moratorium on new licenses for Fracking until we can clearly understand the environmental impacts.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
I have been endorsed by the Sierra Club and Conservation Voters of New Mexico. I look forward to working with these groups to immediately narrow down the most important issues and reshaping environmental policy that works for all New Mexicans.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism can be best described as the idea of having corporations make decisions that negatively affect people - since those people are necessarily in underserved and minority communities. We see this consistently in Northwest New Mexico with fracking.
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. It is incumbent on all of this to fix this. One idea I have is to bring electric school buses to New Mexico. I will make it a priority to work with the youth to hear their thoughts, and shape the future to work for them.
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 better understand the environmental impacts before we issue new licenses.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
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. This would be helpful to local economies.
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 believe community solar investments are a great thing, and I do believe that we can work with the electric companies on it. It is being adopted nationwide, and I believe that New Mexico can learn from other states who have invested in it.
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?
Yes. The people most effected by spills are often underserved and have been misplaced. They do not have the resources to survive often times.I would be open to the government help covering costs as well.
Do you believe bonding rates for industry should cover the full cost of cleanup?
I would be open to State government to picking up some costs.
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?
Oil and Gas will necessarily have a role in New Mexico's budget future. However, we should take this as a learning experience, and find ways to diversify the economy. In particular, we should invest in alternative energies like wind and solar, agriculture, film, and higher capital gains taxes. We need to find new revenue streams, otherwise the budget will be a gigantic problem for years to come.
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'm not sure that it's a "dress rehearsal" as we will still have underlying problems of greenhouse gas emissions into the air, but it is interesting to see the positive effects when we emissions are lower. We should take the things that we have seen work, and introduce them on a macro scale.
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 member of the Wingate Elementary School Board since 2009 where I made public health a top priority. I am also co-founder of the Diné Food Sovereignty Alliance which ensures the ability to establish our own culturally appropriate and sustainable systems of managing natural resources including lands, territories, waters, seeds, livestock and biodiversity. Diné Food Sovereignty empowers Diné people by putting the Diné people, farmers, and livestock-owners.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
I'm running for office as a regular person. I am not bought and sold by corporate interests. If I can win this race, then hopefully it will empower others to run. Moreover, I believe that we need higher transparency among lobbying activities in Santa Fe.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
Agriculture, marijuana, solar & wind jobs (hence a higher tax base) to name a few.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?