Candidate, NM House of Representatives, 13

Patricia Roybal-Caballero

patricia4nm.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?

My legislative work and priorities is driven by what constituents and communities of advocates and activists identify as their priority. I would like to see stronger controls over methane emissions, a stop to fracking and I will oppose & act to stop any hydrogen development, I will oppose and advocate for no more new oil & coal projects, I will continue to oppose nuclear waste storage efforts in NM, I passed the Community Solar bill, was a co-sponsor of the Green Amendment, & sponsor of HB 37/Community Energy Efficiency, and I will continue to push for more investments in wind & solar energy development and more access and opportunities for our communities to participate in renewable energy.

  • 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?

Most political leaders are beholden to those who make campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries, banks and big business and corporate interests, who are key donors to their campaigns and key donors to their alliances. So, it becomes a pay to play/go along to get along network of associations to ensure the profit interests of these industry donors are protected from policies and laws that will affect their profiteering interests. Profits over people is the business as usual comport in complete denial of a climate crisis and of climate science mandates. Political leaders do not have the political will or courage to go against big money. And they will sacrifice the good and welfare of the people to keep the status quo.

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

I will continue to elevate the voices of climate activists in all I do and continue to follow an environmental justice legislative/policy agenda following the just transition, climate justice and energy democracy models. I believe that if we amplify our voices, increase our activism and protest efforts and give urgency to the climate crisis to all we do, our movement towards climate justice will amplify. The climate changes are already amplifying as we witness increased glacier melts, volcano eruptions, earthquakes, fires, droughts, extreme weather changes..my mantra is " After all, without a Planet, what else matters".

  • 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?

In order to ensure a just transition, decision makers have to ensure that there are no barriers to access and opportunities which means revising old, antiquated language in statutes and regulations and replacing them with language which allows for economic and racial justice. Language matters but is often minimized yet it is one of the greatest barriers. And giving our families the right to a green economy, to a green way of living by enacting the Green Amendment which gives the Constitutional right as another protection, not to be violated and if violated, there will be strict penalties.

  • 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, of course, I have done so. By doing so, clearly paves the path towards alternative revenue sources without any viable arguments against and creates and secures funds from the very industry that is responsible for climate damage with serious economic and health consequences. This industry must be held accountable similarly to the tobacco industry. But most importantly, such a fund would place climate mitigation and adaptation development decisions with the community which is the only way to ensure just climate solutions and a just climate transition for all.

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

The only way to do so is to have Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge at the forefront leading all the ways forward because it is their wisdom, knowledge, practices and traditions that are proven to protect our lands, water, air and humanity since time immemorial and it was the conquests, colonization and western colonial invasions that gave to the violent disruption of these proven Indigenous traditions and practices. We must embed these traditions and practices into every social, economic and educational system, structure, institution to become the mindset, approach and introduce to them the Indigenous way to a just and equitable way of living.

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

I have always relied on our youth climate activists, scientific studies and data from environmental justice think tanks and resources as well as those driven by energy democracy. And all those leading the way towards clean climate world to influence and shape my priorities. My sons, are my climate activists, and they advise me and I listen because they and their sons and your children and the children yet to come are impacted by the decisions we make today. Also, there are many groups whom you all are aligned with that are active in my district and in the communities I serve that I remain solidified with, that are actively involved in community gardens, recycling efforts, & they drove the Community Solar legislation.

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

Environmental racism exists when poor communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental wastes, hazards, emissions by industries encroaching in low income communities. It is having rules, laws, regulations, policies and government and corporate decisions disregard, neglect and intentionally target low income communities by relaxing land use/zoning/environmental regulations laws & ordinances, exposing these communities to health harm with these toxic and harmful pollutants & emissions.

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

As I mentioned above, my generation of lawmakers must act now with no time to waste, to ensure we remove all obstacles and impediments in laws and policies that are environmentally racist and direct our energy and investments towards enacting laws to promote & invest in renewable energy, clean water and healthy food sourcing, reduction of harmful air pollutants & carbon emissions by strict regulatory oversight and very strong penalties for violations and everything else as recommended by so many environmental justice resources. We must take bold and expedient action NOW.

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

Yes, because if we are to reduce emissions significantly, we must step back, and find ways to manage any transition away from gas development to viable, safe and healthy alternative developments which protect employment and communities.

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

Yes, for the same reasons in A) utilities have the money and resources to invest in research and development to explore the alternatives but they have to be willing to accept people over profit in their mindset and approaches.

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

Just the mention of nuclear infers radiation and radiation is harmful on all fronts and history has show that nuclear power plants and nuclear waste facilities always seem to be either located in or in close proximity to poor low income neighborhoods. And many times even with low level radiation, the effect on the health and well being of those living close takes several generations to reveal the harm which often times is too late to cure. I cannot support nuclear energy on any level.

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

No, I do not support Hydrogen Production Hubs. Hydrogen requires gas extraction, gas extraction means fracking, and the process, methane and electrolysis requires electricity and the electricity comes from fossil fuels, and methane omits pollutants. And the science is still making determinations on whether hydrogen is a viable, safe and healthy alternative. However, hydrogen is being lauded as such, and what is known is that there are super investors interested because the market is determining hydrogen to be highly lucrative and profitable and marketing strategies are selling it as a alternative supposedly, clean energy source. At least this is my understanding. So, no, I do not support hydrogen because all that I understand is that it is all just a ruse to promote profit over people and another pay to play attempt to win over legislative and government support.

  • 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, absolutely. Community and local ownership, production and profits should always be made and kept locally and recycled into the communities for the good and welfare and self-determination of and by these 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?

The fossil fuel industry and utilities have the full responsibility to clean up and remediate their own damages. I will continue to support the land commission office and all others and where I can lead efforts to make sure the laws and regulations hold them accountable and make sure there are stiff monetary fines penalties if they do not. Also, more funds should be set up by the legislature and deposit collections from the fines to be used for any residual efforts needed to help communities remediate.

  • 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 climate crisis is showing itself in many forms including unclean air which breeds, traps, permeates and circulates airborne viruses. So lessons learned is that we are so very vulnerable and we have to stop polluting the air, water and lands and maintain a clean, breathable and healthy environment. COVID revealed the vulnerability of the poor and disenfranchised so we have a responsibility to address poverty as the overlying factor and we have to create a just & equitable economy with access & opportunity for all. People over Profit in all we do! And finally, COVID saw no borders which is an indicator that we must remove barriers, borders and create intersections of co-existence respecting all differences as a point of unity.

  • 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?

All of my answers and my role as a tenured ten year state representative, community and labor organizer and community planner and developer all point to my vast experience on social/health/environmental issues and all my work has been in and with impacted communities, with these communities deciding their own priorities and I as a servant legislator, acting in their name, including addressing the climate crisis.

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

I will continue to stand up against this grip, and call it out and expose the pay to play efforts on all levels. As an insider and witness to this grip, I feel it is my responsibility to keep the public aware so they may hold legislators accountable and the legislative processes transparent under all circumstances. I do not go along to get along and I do not pay to play. My loyalties go strictly to those who elect me and to all the communities of New Mexico.

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

Cannabis production and distribution, increase agricultural development, packaging and distribution, development and production of alternative clean energy, reduce the tax incentives to corporations, big business and industry, especially those out of state, and increase taxing those at higher incomes to pay their fair share. Create more outdoor visitor and retirement friendly opportunities to help our small businesses thrive and grow.

 

  • 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