Candidate, NM House District 45
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?
Our nation is defined by those that fund our leaders. It's why I refuse fossil fuel money. I believe we must set benchmarks that are aggressive without sacrificing our communities of color or vulnerable communities. Unfortunately, the United States has allowed our infrastructure to become outdated and it will take more time to catch up. However, if we can achieve the goals set out by the ETA then New Mexico can be a national leader on reversing climate change.
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?
Amidst the pandemic, we must redefine our state budget to reflect our values. Our reliance on fossil fuels has created a false choice for working families, sacrificing children's education or the sustainability of our environment. We need a sustainable budget. Also, I will work with those who organize underrepresented groups to broaden our outreach and include all communities in policy conversation. Finally, I want to begin the study of solutions to the water crisis facing our communities.
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?
It's time for bold outreach. I'm proud to be endorsed by OLÉ who works one on one with our communities because we need better ways to solicit input from all communities. By working with groups like OLÉ, we can find new practices to ensure New Mexicans who work multiple jobs, are young, are rural, have language barriers, and have been systematically ignored and oppressed by our government are reengaged on their time through state outreach policies which better reach all communities.
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.
Absolutely. Local solutions are critical to expanding our economy. One of the key principles of this campaign is our working families have a false choice that pits the future of our children against the future of our earth when the issues are intertwined. The past two governors passed deep tax cuts for the 1% and corporations in rushed debates yet investments in our sustainable future or working families are mired in debate. We need a real effort to find solutions for our future.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
Again, by working with local organizing groups to ensure we are reaching people where they are with a culturally-sensitive approach. We have incredible Pueblo governments and groups like Nuestra Tierra, Tewa Women United, the New Mexico Acequia Association and others that can teach us how best to engage with their communities. Having worked across Northern New Mexico for Rep. Lujan I have a deep respect for the unique communities that are a part of our state and our future.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
I believe part of the reason I've been endorsed by New Mexico Youth Climate Strike is because I believe in an open door for community groups. I want unions and community groups to fill my inbox with peer-reviewed studies and innovative solutions and meet with me on your group's experiences. Having worked on natural resources on Capitol Hill, I know I can call on friends that now work in sustainability for solutions that will work for New Mexico.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism is when our communities incur a disproportionate amount of detrimental impacts for the betterment of the state. How our Dine brothers and sisters mined for uranium and now exist under the largest methane cloud for the betterment of the New Mexico economy.
It occurs when our concerns aren't addressed like when toxic waste has festered off of Airport Road where immigrant families live, only 500 feet from an elementary school. This would not happen off of Canyon Road. "
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.
I am running for office because my daughter's future is in New Mexico and climate change is one of the three key issues I believe we must address. I was taught that every generation should do better by the next and my resolve lies there. We must take care of working families with policies like a living wage and paid sick, our seniors by ending the social security double tax and our youth by investing in their educational opportunities, and the sustainability of their futures.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. The future of New Mexico is not in oil. However we must work with local communities on transitioning their economies. We need long term investments in the Southeast and Northwest and offer buy-outs for older workers, investments in community organizations, and job training and placement programs for all workers. We must diversify our state’s revenue to ensure our oil-field communities have futures in New Mexico.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
The Energy Transition Act (ETA) was an aggressive policy that has the opportunity to set us on course to be a national leader however many pitfalls exist in the implementation. Our utilities should be leaders in transitioning our energy away from oil and gas, implementing the ETA and I would support efforts toward that end.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
Nuclear power is not clean. Because we are unable to ensure local communities will be safe from a nuclear disaster or that our natural resources used in developing these resources, we cannot call them clean. As a state with significant wind and solar options, we should be doing more to expand into clean energy that has minimal impact on our environment and communities.
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 - we need to decentralize energy in our state. Right now, energy is centralized and allows certain groups and leaders to profit the most. By decentralizing energy and ensuring state oversight, we can allow local markets to succeed.
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 support Community Solar because it helps decrease the gap between the rich and the poor. I believe this is a seat for a bold leader ready for innovative ideas. In the case of Community Solar, I believe this seat should be a leader advocating for this and similar solutions that give an economic edge to our communities.
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?
Punitive measures have been easy for corporations to avoid as we saw with British Petroleum (BP) after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We need to review how state carbon pricing can accelerate our progress toward carbon neutrality ensuring we’re doing so in a thoughtful way. State oversight and prevention is critical. Today fossil fuel companies are able to self-appraise and are undertaxed. We need to ensure that they are paying their fair share and investing back in our communities.
Do you believe bonding rates for industry should cover the full cost of cleanup?
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?
I believe we need to greatly reduce our budgetary dependence on fossil fuel. Fossil fuel funds should be focused on clean up and remain part of the rainy day fund. We need to ensure that corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share.
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?
We need social safety nets in place for our working families and we need to make sure that New Mexico is positioned to garner federal grants that propel our recovery. We need policies in place that protect displaced workers and families. Right now, we need the state to invest in our environmental future including preparing for the water crisis at our doorstep.
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?
Having worked on natural resources in a Congressional office and on Rep. Lujan's campaigns, I have developed relationships with communities across the state with the aforementioned groups. As mentioned I believe groups across the state can inform how we work with communities on our sustainable future.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
We need to invest in our infrastructure to attract new industries to New Mexico. Expanding broadband and addressing Yazzie vs. New Mexico will address the key issues preventing new companies from investing here. Also, if we force the wealthiest and corporations to pay their fair share we can reduce our reliance on Oil.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
Ending tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest and expanding the business we attract here. Like states like Utah, we need businesses to invest here before they recoup any benefits and end end subsidies for businesses that have failed to produce jobs.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?