Elizabeth "Liz" Stefanics
Candidate, NM Senate District 39
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?
Often, elected legislators try to negotiate with each other - this can be a problem when all legislators do not agree on emission reductions or methods for those reductions. I will continue to vote my conscience and beliefs in saving the earth.
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?
I will continue to work on, sponsor or cosponsor community solar legislation. I also will continue to advocate for wind energy, other renewable energy, and carbon reduction.
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?
Economic recovery in this recession/depression will take many years. We should focus the future on supporting conservation measures, protection of our water, renewable energy, green industry, the agricultural community, and more. Ensure that higher education is affordable and accessible so people of all walks of life can access education and training for those jobs.
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.
I will support a study but the fund may need to be privately supported since the state is taking a $2 billion economic hit which will affect health, social services, education, roads, environmental protections, and all state services. As an advisory member of the Revenue Stabilization Committee, I will try to identify savings or new sources of revenue.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
I currently represent parts of 6 counties with many small, rural communities. I have served as the chair and vice chair of the Interim Land Grants Committee where I have not only learned a great deal of the history of the land here in NM but became an advocate for the needs of the land grant communities and the acequias in our state. I have worked closely with the northern tribes in my role as a Santa Fe County Commissioner and tried to respect their goals.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
I will continue to do research on my own and participate in meetings and conferences on related topics. I participate in the National Conference of Environmental Legislators and seek information from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Western Resources Center, Vote Solar, New Energy Economy, Conservation Voters of NM, the Sierra Club, Animal Protection Voters, the League of Women Voters and many others.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM.
Government laws and corporate activities that deliberately target the low income and communities of color for undesirable land uses. Examples: Selling water designated for farming for development interests. Placing a polluting plant next to a low income or Native American community. Drilling in sacred Native American historical grounds.
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.
It is all of our responsibility to protect the earth and promote sustainability. We should pass, fund, and support legislation that promotes sustainability.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
While I personally support a moratorium, it is my responsibility as a legislator to ensure the state has funding for all state services. I will work on diversifying our funding sources in the state.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
We should spend most of our resources on renewable energy.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
No as I see it's waste as deadly to the planet and human race.
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?
This is a great goal and I support it.
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 am a sponsor and cosponsor of the Community Solar bills and memorials.
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?
Cleanup is 100% the responsibility of industry. Legislators can also provide damages and penalties for noncompliance.
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 see them as a participant but with declining activity as renewable energy increases.
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 are one world and solutions have to come from more than one country.
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?
My experience ranges from a University Professor to Nonprofit Health Care Administrator to State Agency Administrator to Elected County Commissioner and State Senator. All of these positions have placed me in positions of advocacy to correct wrongs, improve systems, and ensure resources.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
Enact legislation to ban all corporate contributions. Any contribution that I accept will not affect my decisions since I vote my conscience. Continue to explore and support from the state level further development of renewable energy.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
Tax reform; a graduated progressive income tax; a tax on legalized marijuana; other sources as they arise.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?