Candidate, US House of Representatives, NM CD1

Melanie Stansbury      https://www.melaniefornm.com
(Incumbent)
Screen Shot 2021-03-30 at 11.36.09 AM.pn
  • 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?

Climate change is the single most significant threat to humanity’s future if we do not act now. The science presented in the recent IPCC report demonstrates that climate change is already here and impacting communities across the planet. Therefore, I support the Green New Deal and I support the Passage of the Build Back Better Act, which would make the most significant investments in climate action ever in our nation’s history.

  • 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?

I believe many of our problems in Washington are related to campaign finances, so I support the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, introduced as H.R. 9029 in the 116th Congress by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). This bill is a comprehensive anti-corruption package that would reduce conflicts of interest, close the revolving door; reform lobbying rules; improve judicial integrity; reform agency and administrative rule-making, strengthen enforcement of anti-corruption, ethics, and public integrity laws; and boost government transparency.

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

If I am re-elected, I will continue my support of abolishing the filibuster to pass the critical climate change legislation in the senate. Without abolishing the filibuster, we will continue to have piles of legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate. In addition, I fully support Ending Citizens United, and the national group leading this repeal effort has endorsed my 2021 candidacy. I hope to re-earn their endorsement this election cycle.

  • 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?

My work on the Infrastructure law and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) will help low-income people reduce energy costs for New Mexico families and increase energy efficiency. This will help low-income families in New Mexico save money, foster green energy jobs and address economic & racial justice. I am also a proud sponsor of Chairman Grivajala’s Environmental Justice Act, which establishes several environmental justice requirements, advisory bodies, and programs to address the disproportionate adverse human health or environmental effects of federal laws or programs on communities of color low-income communities, or tribal and indigenous communities.

  • 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, I fully support the creation of studies and funding related to green economic development to help New Mexico and the U.S. shift away from fossil fuels. However, our most vulnerable communities must be protected from climate change-related realities that will affect minority and low-income communities in New Mexico and worldwide now. We need to protect our most vulnerable, starting with a comprehensive mitigation and adaptation strategy before climate-related tragedies happen, not after.

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

Yes, absolutely, much of the work has been alongside tribes. My office meets with local Tribal Leaders and local organizations to receive input on legislation related to climate change, land issues, and many other issues. I have also spent my entire career working on water and land issues in New Mexico. Unfortunately, indigenous people's voices have been left out of the policy conversation for far too long, and I am committed to working with Tribal leaders and environmental activists to help create a green and sustainable economy for our future.

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

I will talk and meet with elected officials, organizations, community groups, and anyone interested in talking about climate issues. My advisors include my Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, Committee Staff, and expert witnesses to Committees. For community consultations, I have town hall both in-person and on phone lines accessible to anyone in the general public to have input on legislation that I am voting on. I will always consult with organizations like Yucca and other environmental organizations. Anyone can also request a meeting from my office via my website, email, and official office phone.

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

Since the modern industrial age, environmental racism has been a factor in industry decisions and refers to environmental impacts on minority and low-income communities. The industry targets these communities because they often lack the institutional power and resources to lobby against harmful industries from moving into their communities. An example of this in New Mexico is New Mexico's abandoned wells because there are few industries in rural places like Hobbs. Industries take advantage of this and often resulting in communities being disproportionately exposed to toxic and hazardous waste based on race and class.

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

As an elected official, the responsibility given to me means I have a responsibility to act now to ensure that future generations have a sustainable future. I am running for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District because I want to serve the community that has made me who I am and given me the opportunities and support systems that I needed to succeed. These are opportunities and systems that we should all have but aren’t reaching and supporting many New Mexicans. In Congress, I will lift up the voices of our communities and tackle our biggest challenges.

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

We must diversify our economy, invest in new technologies and renewable energy and tackle climate change. I support a reevaluation of federal energy policies to examine how to best achieve our climate and energy goals. I’m running for Congress to work with the Administration to build a more resilient economy.

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

We must move swiftly to combat climate change. The science is clear that is we dont move to renewable energy sources immediately than our climate will continue to deteriorate. We must invest in zero energy sources instead of the new gas plants.

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

It most likely would take too long to add nuclear power plants to move us to a clean energy economy, we should invest in trusted and current clean energies to get us to net zero, that is where the science leads us.

The nuclear industry in New Mexico has caused irreparable harm to our communities, including the contamination of lands and waters and great harm and illness to the people (and animals) of our communities. This includes uranium mining, production and testing of nuclear weapons, and the storage of nuclear waste—all of which I am opposed to.
I am deeply dedicated to fighting for federal resources to clean up and address the impacts of uranium mining and ensure it does not continue.

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

In its current form, I do not support it. If the technology exists that produces hydrogen energy that is carbon neutral, then I would consider looking more into the technology.

  • 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?

Yes. I supported Community Solar in the NM legislature.

  • 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?

The first step in holding industries accountable starts before the policy is made because it starts with not accepting their donations. As a U.S. House Representative candidate in both federal elections, I have taken the Fossil Fuel Pledge, and my name is listed on their website. We need to ensure that the EPA and the federal government can ensure that bonding requirements made for well are changing as the bonding amounts for companies on federal land have not changed in decades. I am deeply dedicated to fighting for federal resources to clean up and address the impacts.

  • 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?

We learned during COVID that our most vulnerable communities are often affected first and the most during times of crisis; this is true for the climate crisis as well, and we need to ensure whoever holds office has a strategic plan in place so that we are being proactive, not reactive to the issues of climate change. Much like the COVID response, we need action on the climate crisis now, not later. As a member of the CPC I vocally supported Build Back Better which is the largest investment in our country's history, and I am hopeful we can still get something through this Congress that truly moves the needle to combat climate change.

  • 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 have 20 years of experience working with communities across New Mexico and the U.S. on water, science, natural resources, and community development in the public, private, and non-profit sectors–including as a Legislator in the New Mexico House of Representatives and as a policy staffer in the U.S. Senate. As a legislator, I have championed efforts to address hunger and homelessness, drought and climate change, and passed over a dozen bills to help improve education, public safety, healthcare, and economic development. In my time as a House representative I worked with local activist and community members to develop many of the bill I sponsored.

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

Having spent time in the New Mexico legislature as a State House Representative, this issue could be solved by professionalizing the legislature. Currently, the legislature relies on industry to essential draft and introduce legislation. Quality legislation needs year-round staff support to help provide Fiscal Impact Reports, legal implications, and environmental studies of bills. We lose the critical voice of those who can not afford to serve by not paying legislators because the financial strain is too hard on highly qualified people to run for office.

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

We have a responsibility to divest from fossil fuels and an oil-based economy and to invest in renewable energy alternatives to support a just transition to a 100% clean energy future. In the New Mexico Legislature, I have championed legislation to provide clean energy jobs, mitigate pollution, curb emissions, and help New Mexico move towards a diversified economy that is not dependent on gas and oil revenue, leading us toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. In Congress, I will continue sponsoring and supporting legislation that provides for federally-financed clean energy alternatives like solar and wind and enforces environmental laws.

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

No

Yes