Elizabeth "Liz" Thomson
Candidate, NM House District 24
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?
I think many are afraid of the massive power wielded by industry, particularly oil and gas. I support the fracking ban, methane capture, increasing fines and oversight for polluters, putting health of persons ahead of profits.
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’m not sure I would initiate policies as I pretty much have my hands full with healthcare issues as 1 of only 2 healthcare professionals in the entire Legislature. It is a little “out of my lane” but I will do everything I can to help the sponsors get it passed.
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?
Fracking ban. Looking at future “development” of all types from a health perspective. Looking at co-sponsoring a Green Amendment to our Constitution.
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.
Yes. See above but also would like to see what study and data tell us specifically.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
I grew up in my very early years on the Cheyenne River Sioux in SD, then moved to Crownpoint, NM on Eastern Navajo. Much of my professional life has been spent working with indigenous kids in many Pueblos including Laguna, Acoma, Jemez and Santo Domingo, among others. I recognize and respect the knowledge, history and sovereignty of indigenous knowledge and would ensure that their voices are part of every conversation/plan.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
Anyone who has useful information, including scientists, the public, tribes, pueblos and nations, National Conference of Environmental Legislators. I have colleagues who are knowledgeable and I trust.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
COVID 19. The devastation on Navajo points out the contrast with other parts of the state and nation. Pollution from oil and gas leading to increased respiratory disease, lack of running water for consumption and sanitation, lack of food sources (stores), poor roads, poverty, higher levels of underlying health conditions, poor investment in IHS and lack of medical care
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.
Yes. We owe the younger generations and those after them a habitable planet. We only have one Earth.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. It is a dirty, dangerous and volatile industry. We need to move our economy to more sustainable and steady industries which don’t damage our environment.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes. NM has plenty of wind and sun for our energy needs. And we can have enough to sell it to other states that don’t have our near perfect conditions for clean energy production.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
No. The waste is too dangerous.
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?
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 have voted for it at every chance. I’m not sure how to get it passed but I am ready to do whatever I can.
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?
We need to make sure they put up enough money to do a complete clean up of anything, and I do mean anything, that they mess up. I am still fuming about the amount of state dollars going into the Carlsbad brine well because a bad actor was allowed to stick NM taxpayers with astronomical clean up costs. Increase the fines for spills, and other environmental damage to make them so painful for industry that they will make sure they don’t happen (disincentivize).
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?
They are continuing to try to buy members of the Legislature. Quite successfully in some cases. I believe we need to move away from these as stated above.
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?
Science is beginning to really make the connection between this pandemic and climate. The decrease in pollution in many areas throughout the world, wildlife changes and more show us that with the right interventions we can have a large impact on climate in a short time. We must do so.
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?
As stated above, much of my work has been on healthcare issues, including getting a Bill passed to protect all New Mexicans with pre-existing conditions from being discriminated against regarding healthcare and insurance and another on prescriptions. We developed a large diverse group of supporters who helped get them passed.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
Campaign finance reform and grassroots work on electing people who aren’t for sale.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
Increase capital gains, corporate, and high income tax rates. Repeal tax cuts and carve outs that don’t help typical New Mexicans. Never return to food tax.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?