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Candidate, New Mexico State Senate
District 21

Athena Christodoulou

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? - 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. Declare a climate emergency, NOW. Methane emissions are key. I would strengthen and push up the timeline for these emission reductions, fund NMED properly and use technology like the new satellites tracking methane. Phase in a small mill levy only on exported RE electricity. Use the $ to support workforce training in industries, like robotics, RE, film industry, outdoor tourism, hospitality, electrification, and building energy efficiency experts, to name a few.

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. Keeping us focused on climate action. All other social issues will be worse if FF emissions are not steeply reduced. The fossil fuel industries still lie and I need to be in the Senate to properly counteract them. In 2023, I was the HENRC analyst and. As such, I analyzed 40 different bills of which 35 were heard in the committee and 28 passed. Some were not good bills, but my follow-up analysis helped the next committee halt them. I am currently living fossil fuel free and can help others.

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

    1. Ideally the communities will be educated on their environmental issues. All impact their health either directly or indirectly. Local governments will hold the environmental conditions more important than short term profit and consider cumulative impacts. All efforts will be made to engage the public to make important decisions impacting their future ability to have life, liberty, and pursue happiness. Communities will work with state and federal agencies to stop environmental terrorism.

  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. Our state legislators passed SB8 (2021) allowing more stringent air quality controls than baseline federal standards. That law brought local policy decisions the air we breathe. We really need to be lobbying our federal legislators for an EPA office in NM and the passage of the Green Amendment. Currently our pollution control amendment only addresses NM legislation. It needs to include the executive branch (NMED oversight) and local governments. Government should be by, with, and FOR the people!

  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. Broaden the environmental rights from simply policy-making to encompass state agency regulation and local decision-making. Everyone needs clean air to breathe, water to drink, and land for growing healthy foods. (Green Amendment)

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

    1. I would relish a closer relationship with YUCCA as an ally. My expertise could be a great asset and your grassroots organization would multiply my voice. I already include the UNM LEAF leadership in my campaign and elevate their needs in various ways including bringing current legislators to hear the concern for climate action.

  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 am currently vice chair of the NM Democratic Party Environmental Justice Caucus and helped keep state subsidies out of Hydrogen development when it involved fossil fuels during the 2022 regular session for FIVE different bills. I think and act like an environmental engineer: Give me a problem and I will try to plan and execute a solution. I am currently working on the details for a Climate Emergency Declaration. It is why I’m running for office. Come to May 13 EJC mtg

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. Polluters have invaded every aspect of our economy with their lies. Stop polluter welfare. Fully fund NMED by raising the fees polluters pay and educate, educate, educate.

  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. O/G is a finite resource and they need to be paying for the environmental terrorism they caused by their lies, delay tactics, and distractions. We’re running out of time to act and hold NM corporations liable. Someone needs to let them know they should be concerned for the legacy they’re leaving. They boast all the time about what wonderful advancement they have brought. It wasn’t them, it was engineers. O/G got us addicted and are trying to keep us addicted.

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

    1. Environmental racism is (Not in My BackYard (NIMBY) to the max with respect to polluting industries. More polluters allowed in neighborhoods less able to fight against them. Recently Albuquerque city councilors tried to disband the ABQ/County Air Quality Board before it could pass a cumulative impacts regulation. Led by white Republican Dan Lewis, aided by my white Republican councilor Brook Bassan and supported by my white Republican County commissioner. I am your ally.

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

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

  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. My generation needs to step up and be your best allies, stop sniveling about comfort and do SOMETHING! If elected I WILL do something. You can bet that if my primary opponent wins, protecting the police will be his main focus and any Republican will be the same or worse.

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

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

    2. Health, opportunities for asset building, and education. If you are in an unhealthy environment it will cause health problems (BTW, 90% of all air pollution is from burning FF) Polluted areas have lower property values. Kids can’t think sometimes if they are sick. They won’t learn as easily, setting them up for more chances of failure.

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

    1. I have great respect for centuries old success. Please understand that my training also includes solutions to new problems we are creating. I’m a great listener and have several friends in the tribal communities.

  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. Already SB26 2023 addresses that in a small way, though we must engage the State Investment council to ensure we are not investing again in O/G. A) yes and B) yes. Sorry my brain is getting a bit fuzzy, but I am a small business owner, tech transfer entrepreneur, and workforce trainer.

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

    1. Mill levy for exported wind/solar electricity,  excise tax on  space travel, higher long haul trucking fees (just passing through), Carbon tax on diesel on major highways, higher gas royalties on state lands, building tourism from movie sets as a part of the tax package requirements on out of state movie studios. Encourage conservation in our state parks and improve their facilities and localize the rental of spots.

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

    1. NEVER use H2 from natural gas or other HCs. NOR for utility-scale electricity. Some say H2 is the Swiss Army Knife of Energy.  However, that’s only true if a “Swiss Army Knife” looks like an 8"- Steel Square Common Rose Head STANDARD-80d nail. Sure you can use it in many ways, but in the end, there are other, better tools for cutting, drilling, fastening, etc. It has a few, very limited, uses in our world today. Nuclear -bad mining, testing, and waste legacy. CCUS is a direct subsidy to FF.

  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. I mentioned before that our regulated monopolies need to change business models. Community ownership is a possible solution.

  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. We need to begin making the extractive industries clean up their messes before they begin new ones. We need to begin phasing out the state subsidies to those industries. Demand a Lease One Close One (LOCO) deal - big companies close and subsidize closure for privilege of drilling new or for one year extraction. For too long have they benefited while the residents bore the cost in health and quality of life. We are in an emergency!

  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? | 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. Paid and professional legislative branch. More lobbying transparency. Better regulated rules on conflict of interest by legislators. Capital Outlay restructuring.

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