Candidate, NM House of Representatives, 26

Eleanor Chavez

EleanorChavez.com
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  • If elected, what specific policies will you pursue in 2023 to begin rapidly transitioning our economy to achieve carbon neutrality in the timeframe set by the world’s leading scientists?

I would use tax credits that encourage sustainable buildings, electric cars, solar and wind development, increased funding for staff at NMED, Legislation such as the Clean Futures Act, and the Clean Fuels Standard Act. I would also support policies that retrofit buildings so that they are using alternative energy sources to heat and cool buildings.

  • 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)

Yes 

  • Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 8 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?

Yes

  • In your opinion, why do political leaders set benchmarks and timeframes for emissions reductions that do not comport with climate science mandates?

Lack of political will and courage, they have no sense of urgency and many do not live or are not from communities that are most impacted. Many are tied to the oil and gas industry in the form of campaign contributions. And they fail /refuse to rely on science to guide their legislative agenda.

  • If elected, what will you do differently than current leadership?

I will not be afraid to vote for legislation that combats climate change in an aggressive manner. And I will also listen to those who I consider to be experts in the field of climate change. I will also sponsor or co-sponsor legislation that I believe will achieve the goal of reducing carbon emissions and that supports the development of alternative sources of energy.

  • 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 would work to ensure that those workers who are facing job loss due to the reduction of coal fired plants, oil and gas workers are re-trained to work in solar and/or wind energy development (many of these workers are workers of color). I would also want to work with the Unions that represent these workers so that they support the move to a just transition. I would also want to ensure that workers who enter training for new jobs in the transition to a green economy to be representative of the communities that we represent.

  • If elected, will you support the creation of a Just Transition Study & Fund to identify alternative revenue sources for our state budget and allocate funds from oil and gas directly into community-driven climate mitigation and adaptation strategies? Explain.

Yes. We cannot move forward with making the transition to a green economy without supporting funding based on facts that supports its development.

  • If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?

Indigenous and traditional land based communities are key to the development of a sustainable economy. They are also key partners when legislation and policies are developed regarding protecting water and addressing the impact of climate change on communities of color.

  • Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?

I will rely on those community organizations and leaders who have been working on climate issues for a long time. I see them as the experts on issues of climate change. I have always relied on the expertise of these organizations in terms of what needs to be accomplished for the benefit of all of us.

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

Environmental racism is the approval by governmental agencies to allow and support industries dumping toxic chemicals, polluting water, creating toxic waste sites, locating polluting industries, locating nuclear waste, and uranium waste in communities of color. It is the refusal and failure of governmental agencies and legislative bodies to allocate resources to clean-up waste sites, water etc., and change policies that have contaminated and caused extensive and long lasting health problems in low-income communities of color. We don't see the same kinds of pollution and impact on wealthier communities.

  • What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations while in office? Explain.

I am extremely concerned about my grand-kids and the kind of world we are leaving them. I am concerned about the children in my community, New Mexico and the world. My responsibility is to do everything possible to combat climate change including changing laws or making new ones that protect our land, water and air and support establishing alternative energy sources as well as diversifying our economy so that we can move away from our dependence on fossil fuel.

  • A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

Yes, if we continue to allow and encourage new gas development we will continue to contribute to climate change, not focus on building alternate sources of energy and the infrastructure that supports alternate energy. I believe that not placing a moratorium we will continue to accelerate climate change.

  • B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

Yes, if we don't place a moratorium then we will never move forward on creating not only new sources of alternative energy and the infrastructure that supports its development.

  • Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?

No, the waste it leaves behind isn't clean and ends up in communities of color further affecting the health and welfare of communities in the case of a spill or leak. Nuclear energy isn't clean energy. We don't need it.

  • Do you support the development of Hydrogen Production Hubs here in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

No, it's not clean energy and does not produce the numbers of jobs that supporters of Hydrogen Production Hubs claim. Hydrogen production hubs are I believe, are pushed by the oil and gas industry. Creating these hubs prevents us from focusing on the development of truly clean, alternate energy.

  • 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?

No

  • 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?

They should be held responsible for all cleanup. The pollution the fossil fuel industry has left behind contaminates our communities and creates long lasting health problems. I would support increased staffing at the NMED so that they can monitor these industries and I would also support meaningful fines and penalties as well as making them responsible for the health issues they have created. .

  • Do you support utility bill forgiveness for low-income New Mexicans who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes

  • 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?

The COVID pandemic highlighted the refusal of many in power to ignore scientists who are the experts when it came to doing what needed to be done early on to avert the diaster that unfolded in the US. Almost a million people died and many could have been prevented if politicians had followed the advice of scientists. The same is true of climate change. Many politicians lack the courage to tackle this issue head one. And others politicize it for their own gain and the the gain of the fossil fuel industry.

  • 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 was a member of the SouthWest Organizing Project for many years. I was also on the board of directors for many years. We worked with communities of color to address issues of contamination in their communities. For example, forcing the clean-up of air an water pollution in the Sawmill neighborhood, forcing Intel to monitor it's air emissions and forced them to speed up their reduction of water use. I would use this experience in working with impacted communities and utilizing the knowledge of experts in developing legislation and organizing to apply pressure on those who hold the power to address climate change.

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

It would be great to get dark money out of politics. I would support campaign finance reform.

  • Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected

I would repeal the tax cuts to the wealthiest New Mexicans, repeal the capital gains tax cut, increase the corporate tax rate.

  • Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No

No

Will you take the #fossilfree pledge? http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/politician-signup/

Yes