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Incumbent, New Mexico State Senate District 23
Democrat

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Harold Pope Jr.

Climate Science-Based Policy

  1. Do you agree with climate scientists that we are facing a climate emergency?

    1. Yes

  2. 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)

    1. Yes

  3. Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 6 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? https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ - IPCC Report

    1. Yes

  4. If elected, what specific policies will you initiate in your first year of service to begin transitioning our state economy from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy within the timeframe set by the world's leading scientist?

    1. I will continue to co sponsor the Green Amendment to protect our Water, Air, and Land and hold us accountable for our environment.  I will also continue to co sponsor a bill that provides grant funding for cities, counties, and tribal communities for roof top solar projects and energy storage.  This is vital to helping our communities transition to clean energy.  In addition I am looking at introducing a bill to establish a Just Transition Office in our state to prepare our communities for the transition as well as a bill to create a Just Transition Fund to support communities.

Community Engagement Questions

  1. What are the current needs or issues you see across the state, city, or county and how do you plan on addressing those issues if you are elected?

    1. We still have so many needs when it comes to infrastructure, broadband, water issues, public safety, education, healthcare, behavioral health, poverty, substance abuse just to name the big issues.  These issues are all complex and require serious investments as well as community input.  They will not be solved by individual legislative bills but rather a multitude of bills that address the intersectionality of the issues facing our communities.

  2. What is your vision of the ideal relationship between communities and environmental/climate justice?

    1. My vision is that everyone in the community has a seat at the table even though in some cases the table was not built for everyone due to historical discrimination.  Environmental issues impact us all and no one should be left out of the policy making that impacts one's community or impacts the generations to come.  Policy making must come from or involve the community at all times to ensure that special and corporate interests are not controlling legislation.  If we are to ever achieve climate justice it must come from those that were harmed.

  3. What role do you believe communities actively play in policy development? Especially when addressing issues that have been inherited and faced for generations?

    1. They play a huge role as it is my belief that the best policies come from the grass roots which is the community.  We could argue that if community was involved in the first place in prior policy they would not have been harmed in the first place, at the same time how would they ever get environmental justice without their input?  Communities must be included in policy development because they are ultimately impacted.

  4. What changes will you propose so that community driven solutions have equitable influence over policy-making, and are valued as much if not more than private profit driven solutions?

    1. I would like to look at introducing legislation that establishes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of policies and holding decision-makers accountable for their commitments to equity and inclusion. This may include establishing benchmarks, performance indicators, and reporting requirements to track progress and identify areas for improvement.  By adopting these strategies my hope is that policymakers and stakeholders can work together to create more inclusive, responsive, and equitable policy-making processes that prioritize the needs and voices of all individuals and communities.

  5. How do you plan on engaging communities and youth in policy development or proposals?

    1. By actively engaging in community and the youth organizations like yours as well as those in my district and state.  That starts first with my campaign as I plan on hiring community members and youth to work on my campaign but also in seeking their input in my policy development.   My goal would be to always include community members and youth in policy decisions as these decisions have an impact on their lives going forward.

  6. Describe your previous experience working on social/health/environmental justice issues, do you have experience working with impacted communities to co-develop solutions?  How will you use this experience to tackle the climate crisis?

    1. I had the opportunity to sponsor the "Crown Act" which was a an example of a grass roots community driven policy change.  This policy was brought forward by an Albuquerque High School student who wanted to do something to help his classmates.  He worked with legislators and community members to create legislation and build a coalition.  He also helped us create legislation that was so inclusive it became the most broad reaching hair legislation bill in the country, so much so that it was no longer considered the crown act because it covered even more.  I use this example to say that this is an example of how policy should be created by community, working with our legislators, and creating a coalition of legislators and communities who are willing to support it.  I believe we can do the same with environmental policy.

A Just Transition

  1. What connections do you believe exist between our state/local economy and budget and environmental and climate impacts? How will you work to ensure that the state/local budget fosters economic, environmental, and climate justice?

    1. The relationship is necessary to address the environment and climate impacts as local economies cannot do it on their own.  We must build equitable programs that help leverage resources from our state to local governments.

  2. How do you see the role of oil and gas corporations in New Mexico’s future as a result of the climate crisis?

    1. They are key stakeholders in our transition and should be part of the solutions to addressing climate change.  In order for us to transition and clean up the environment they have the institutional knowledge of their technology.  They should look at this as an opportunity to transition their industry.

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

    1. This is when people of color & marginalized communities are intentionally exposed to pollution or waste.  This what our tribal communities have been exposed to in the 4 corners region when it comes to uranium and methane and what our communities of color are dealing with in the south eastern part of the state.

  4. How will you be playing a role in a just transition away from fossil fuels for NM?

    1. By working with my colleagues to provide the resources and infrastructure needed to create a just transition to renewable energy.  This includes legislation as well community buy in.

  5. Do you believe climate action is an issue of intergenerational justice? What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations if elected? Explain.

    1. Yes.  Because the harm caused has impacted multiple generations.  My responsibility would be to provide support and resources to those who have already been harmed at the same time ensure that the same thing doesn't happen to future generations.

  6. How can pollution and contamination impact our youth and communities?

    1. Pollution and contamination impact the quality of life for our youth and communities.  From lung disease, increases in asthma, to increases in cancer these pollutants not only impact the health of those directly in contact but these pollutants can also alter the dna of individuals putting future generations at risk for the same ailments.

  7. How will you include Traditional Land Based Knowledge when developing policy?

    1. This is really important because our Indigenous communities know how to live and thrive and have been the stewards of the land since time in immemorial.  As a policy maker people with this knowledge will be included in crafting legislation.  That means being proactive and bringing them early and truly consulting with them on legislation.

  8. If elected, will you support investing some of the money from oil and gas revenues to fund A) dedicated resources for a Just Transition Study to model alternative economic pathways for our state including oil and gas revenue replacement and phase-down  B) create a just transition fund to invest in community-driven climate planning for local economies to divest from harmful industries and build alternative economic visions and investments that effectively contribute to climate mitigation and community health?  Explain.

    1. Yes to both.  We should be establishing a fund to study this transition as well as a fund to provide resources for climate planning to transition away from these industries.  I would also argue that we may need a separate fund to pay for the cleanup as we have seen that industry has not always done their job when it comes to cleanup.

  9. Name specific alternative sources for state/local revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected

    1. I support increases to the oil & gas royalty fees as we should be getting the market value for our land leases.  I also support an alcohol tax increase to pay for substance abuse programs. 

  10. Do you support the development of Hydrogen energy, nuclear energy, and/or carbon capture and sequestration in NM? Why or Why Not?

    1. I believe that Hydrogen is part of the fuel mix when it comes to Aircraft and trains but I would only support Green Hydrogen, for that reason with our water limitations it is not a good option for New Mexico.  I don not support nuclear at this time because we do not have a plan to store or recycle the waste and New Mexico has already been used as a dumping ground.  I am still learning about carbon capture and sequestration and have some concerns so for these reasons I cannot support these proposals here in New Mexico.

  11. 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?

    1. Yes and I supported a bill for a public utility.

  12. 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?

    1. They are responsible for cleanup up and remediation for the land they operate on.  As a legislator we need to look at increasing our staff of inspectors to ensure this is being done as well as looking at the bonding insurance requirements to make sure the public is protected.

  13. Do you support the State Land Office’s moratorium/prohibition on new oil and gas leasing on state trust lands within one mile of schools or other educational facilities? https://www.nmstatelands.org/2023/06/01/commissioner-garcia-richard-bans-new-oil-and-gas-leasing-within-one-mile-of-schools/ Would you support legislation to create  a public health buffer zone prohibiting oil and gas drilling within one mile of schools on ALL NM lands?

    1. Yes

  14. Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? 

    1. No

  15. Can you commit to not accepting donations or funds from fossil fuel companies if you are elected?

    1. Yes

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

    1. Community must support candidates that refuse to accept contributions from the industry and show candidates that people powered campaigns can win without it.  I am proof of that.

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