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Candidate, New Mexico State Senate
District 13

PIC_OMalley, Debbie.jpg
Debbie O'Malley

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. Sponsor rules that get rid of harmful practices to the environment and health of the public that favor an extractive economy while preparing for a regenerative economy by working with educational institutions to support and fund training for the workforce needed.

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. Affordable housing is a primary concern for me because individuals and families are struggling to find safe, stable, quality housing they can afford.Today, most families pay more than 50% of their income on housing, and that is not sustainable.Loss of one wage owner in a two- income household can cause a family to become homeless.There are thousands of APS children that are homeless, many "couch surfing" and it negatively affects their ability to learn in school.Much more money for housing is needed at the state level that is easily accessible to Cities and Counties that meet sustainable building requirements, and access to public transportation, work, services--including infill options such as casitas, and intergenerational multi-family.

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

    1. Ideally, it should not be a struggle for citizens of this state to access and get support from our state leaders and state departments for help when it comes to the community's health and welfare. When my neighbors and I were challenging a polluter in the Sawmill neighborhood many years ago, it was very difficult to get attention, much less support from the city and state departments charged with protecting neighborhoods from harmful pollution.  It took years get the ground water cleaned-up, for example. Now, of course, this community is seen as a success story, but our time and resources dedicated to cleaning up the mess left by polluting industry was extensive. 

    2. I support rules that protect communities-- especially those who are overburdened by pollution; rules that don't put the onus on the citizens to prove they are 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. Communities play a huge role in policy development, though it's not easy. We can thank activist and community groups for the environmental protections we have, but it should not be a financial burden for those affected to advocate and fight for fair rules that protect their health and welfare.  I proudly paid a key-role in fighting for environmental justice for my low-income working -class neighborhood, but I had to work outside of the home to help support my family, my time dedicated to this effort would have been very limited.

  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 sponsor rules and regulations that put the health, safety and welfare of communities first.

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

    1. absolutely.

  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. My activism started when I discovered a flier on my doorstep in the late 1980's. The flier was from my neighbor, Max Ramirez, warning me and others that the City was thinking a building a jail nearby. That got my attention. My daughters were young. My husband and I had just bought an old, adobe 4 room house in a neighborhood that was in decline. We had very little, but we had a safety-net in our families. Of course, I went to the neighborhood meeting later that week to find out what was going on, and that meeting changed my life. What followed was years of organizing and fighting an industrial polluter which eventually led to the clean-up and revitalization of the Sawmill Lumber Yards and creation of the Sawmill Community Land Trust. The Trust has developed over 33 acres primarily for permanently affordable housing, but also parks and a school.  I have found that organizing and relationship building are key to getting things done, and I would use what I have learned to bring people and organizations together to support strategies to address our climate crisis.







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 budget of any government agency is a "value statement".  In my years of public service, I have aways placed a value on clean drinking water, healthy streams and lakes, wildlife, housing and education, sustainable and clean economic development, and will continue to do so at the state level.

  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. Because of the money it brings into the state coffers, and the money it gives to political campaigns, this industry continues to have a huge influence over law-makers, and our state is no exception. For me, I place a priority on policies that protect our health, welfare and our environment.

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

    1. Many years ago, I was told by an community organizer that the definition of racism is "prejudice plus power".An example of that dynamic playing out was the community of To'hajiiles decades-long struggle to get clean drinking water to their failing water wells.  In 2019, when I was on the Bernalillo County Commission, members of this community came to me for help, and I could see that it was going to be a fight.You had a poor, native community on one side against a land agent for a billion-dollar bank on the other.It took the legal-power of the county and Navajo Nation along with many community advocates, & millions of dollars to finally get a pipe-line to deliver clean water to this community. Construction finally broke ground this month.

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

    1. By placing a priority on policies that protect our health, welfare and our environment.

  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, and we have a great responsibility to our youth and future generations to fight for policies that ensure they have a healthy place to grow and build a future.

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

    1. Answered above.

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

    1. By reaching out to those who have this knowledge when developing policy. My grandfather, whose mother is listed as Jicarilla Apache in the Indian rolls, was a farmer and he knew how to take of the land so the land could provide for him and his family. That knowledge is not lost, but we also need to embrace new ideas as well.

  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.

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

    1. I can't specifically at this time, but I have a strong record of identifying and getting funds for projects and programs that I support.

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

    1. No. I know there is some support for green hydrogen, but I am learning that it is an unproven technology at scale right now because the life-cycle energy demand is quite high. So realistically, the economics are not there.  Also, it requires a great deal of water to produce.

  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. 

  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. Polluters should be required clean up their mess. Period.

  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. By working with like-minded legislators to move policies forward that put the health and welfare of the community first--and that includes the natural environment.

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