Patricia Roybal Caballero
Candidate, NM House District 13
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?
Political leaders seem to have shifted their attention & priorities to what the industry lobbyists & big money contributors dictate rather than paying attention to the science, data, evidence. Power & money seem to have taken control. I have never and will never be beholden to power & money. I am committed to the health & safety of future generations & right now, these are at risk due to the ravages of climate change. I will continue to sponsor legislation which addresses clean air, water & land.
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 am the incumbent. When re-elected, I will continue to promote a clean energy economy mindset & approaches by sponsoring legislation promoting & incentivizing renewable energy production, & working with our federal delegation to regulate & ensure transportation & power sectors & corporate sustainability initiatives are in place.
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?
I believe in a Just Transition approach towards a fair shift to an economy that embraces ecological sustainability & is equitable & just for all. This means grassroots community organizations including labor unions, environmental justice groups must create alliances to forge coordinated strategies to transition whole communities to control their own dignified, productive & sustainable living in ecological resilience within a democratic governance framework.
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. See my above answer..it is only via a Just Transition approach in expanding our revenue sources and resources that we will be forced to not only identify but adopt the mindset needed and transform the way in which we create our state budget and investments. A Just Transition approach ensures community-driven climate mitigation & adaptation strategies.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
I am a Native American/Chicana/Indigenous woman and traditional land-based knowledge is at the very core of my beliefs, my world views and directs all of my actions. It is these indigenous & traditional land based & driven practices which can and will forge the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM.
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 work with the community, grassroots organizations, and climate change activist groups such as this yucca youth group and others committed to climate issues. I serve on several national legislative groups promoting energy democracy and will continue my strong presence & participation on national panels whenever/wherever invited to do so.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Racism is playing a central role now in how the current administration is undoing years of environmental protections which had begun to mitigate the disparate & adverse effect of climate change on vulnerable communities of color by engineering the right wing takeover of federal government, allowing power & money to dictate polity & regulation. Oil & gas industries in NM continue to operate & influence politicians & policy through their lobby to stop renewable energy legislation.
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 absolutely is an issue of intergenerational justice and had we understood this and acted to protect the future generations ago when the ravaging effects of climate change began showing themselves, we would be further advanced in halting global warming. I always legislate for the future and will continue to do so fiercely & steadfast on climate action.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes...now, under this pandemic, we must transition out of fossil fuels and mitigate the damaging effects of climate change. We must trust the science, enlist the expertise we know we have to guide us so we take action to transition to a renewable energy world.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Yes, same reasons as A) and more so because in order to make this transition, we must prioritize investment in renewable energy and force utilities and industry towards this priority.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
No, because the waste generated from nuclear energy remains for thousands of years contaminating our natural resources, nuclear programs could lead to nuclear proliferation, nuclear power plants become targets for terrorists, many risks of human error & natural disasters, risk of cancer & other health issues associated with nuclear power, high costs, limited site locations, & competition with renewable energies.
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?
Absolutely. The entire notion of energy democracy is premised on community ownership and community planning, development, production and local self-determination access and opportunity.
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 the sponsor of Community Solar and am a strong proponent for the reasons outlined in previous question and I will continue to sponsor Community Solar until enacted.
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?
They have the principle and primary responsibility for pollution & cleanup especially knowing for generations now of the adverse affects yet they allowed profit motive to harm, damage and kill lives. I will vehemently oppose any attempt to shift responsibility and I will continue to hold industry accountable for pollution and cleanup.
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 our current situation as being the universe/mother earth sending a clear sign that we must take this moment to transition us out of fossil fuels and the oil and gas industry has the money and resources to commit to this transition so it will take the will of our legislators joined by the industry to boldly act to propose the steps, planning and development & begin to structure the budget mechanisms towards this end, setting specific outcomes with timelines.
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 to accept the adverse & disparate effect on our poor and most vulnerable populations, realize the power in community and collective approaches as assets to a Just Transition, and set up the social, economic and political systems, structures, institutions to solidly address mitigating poverty, and access to fair & equitable cycles of opportunity.
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 over 45 years working as a community & labor organizer in poor & impacted communities, certified as community, economic, housing & business planner & developer, civil/woman/human rights activist over 50 years, my entire life has been as a social & environmental justice activist which is why I have taken the stands I have to address global warming and mitigate climate change and its life threatening affects on humans and nature. I will continue to tackle this as I have.
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
I use my strength in voice and courage in action to demonstrate that we do not have to be beholden to the grip of industry in order to represent and legislate for the people and for future generations. I have not relied on industry to elect me and I am not afraid of standing up to industry. I will always side with people over power and money and will continue to ally myself with democracy and the masses of democracy.
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
Incentives for community wind & solar driven project planning & development using the New Mexico Finance Authority, community banks, and other community/state/renewable lending entities to identify, supplement/match grant & lending sources & investment pools specifically targeting renewable energy initiatives.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?