Rebecca Puck Stair
Candidate, NM Senate District 20
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?
Leaders can be swayed by concerns other than science, for example vocal community members or the fossil fuel industry. But we are in a climate crisis and must legislate now, according to climate science. I have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge and the 28th Amendment Pledge and am not accepting donations from corporate PACs. I am rooted in our community and already know about community members that cannot be as vocal as others.
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?
Incentivize manufacture of turbines and solar panels in NM
R&D for manufacture, installation, & maintenance of renewables
Support a carbon tax that’s properly structured to alleviate burdens on historically disadvantaged residents
Create a new business category, “noncarbon,” so companies receive a tax break for emitting low or zero carbon
Remove all subsidies for fossil fuels
Upgrade building codes to enhance efficiency
Make transportation carbon neutral or negative
Pass a Green Amendment
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?
1) Deliberately seek input from historically disadvantaged communities
2) Ensure all populations have access by streaming interim sessions, lengthening the session, and instituting “two-way” conversations
3) Add equity and environmental reviews to all legislation
4) Speak out, for those who can’t, in every committee and floor session I attend
5) Support Senator Rue’s “Sunshine Portal”
I work for a living so I’m running to represent working voices in the Senate.
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. As I said above, I know from years of collaborating across our state that those closest to the problem are often also closest to the solution. We New Mexicans have valuable wisdom, which needs to be heard by lawmakers.
If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?
For 15 years, I have collaborated with many NM tribes, land grant communities, acequia associations, ranchers and farmers.
I understand tribal rights and challenges, and the unique structure of land grants and their history. I respect treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, heirs’ rights, the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo, and will protect and preserve all NM's cultural heritages and ways of life. As Senator, I will seek out and center cultural leaders in drafting, supporting and blocking bills.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
I know about climate from nearly every perspective in NM, including my own experience as a scout witnessing our lands decay & rivers dry. I follow organizations like RMI, SFI, ClimateX, Sierra Club, CVNM, Integral Institute, indigenous & traditional colleagues, & ranchers. I am endorsed/advised by NM Rep Abbas Akhil, engineer with expertise in energy storage & renewables. As Senator I will build a network of voices historically ignored to make the legislative process equitable & accessible.
Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism occurs when powerful polluters in/directly trample the rights of historically disadvantaged communities to clean air, clean water, & a clean environment.
I have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with locals & witnessed damage at many places in NM including:
•ABQ South Valley heavy industry
•Fracking & methane flaring in the “checkerboard” around Chaco
•Mining at Zia
•Conaminated runoff into San Ildefonso
•Chino mine eating Santa Rita
•Open pit pines around Cerrillos
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 are all interconnected, across space and also across time. As COVID is demonstrating clearly, my health affects yours, and my actions today can affect you tomorrow. Likewise, our climate and planet is not ours to dominate, we are merely stewards for future generations. As Senator, if I do not support youth and future generations, I am not supporting any generation.
A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
I support a moratorium but singling out hydraulic fracturing generates resistance & sensationalism. All forms of drilling and burning fossil fuels are a problem, & we must address all.
COVID has halted fracking. So spend legislative energy to help NM families with healthcare, training, investments in outdoor recreation, restorative agriculture and solar & wind. We have a unique opportunity to create communities to be vibrant, resilient and “immune” to the $ lure of drilling when & if it returns.
B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?
Same answer as above.
Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?
No. Uranium energy is neither clean nor carbon-free. And thorium is decades behind. Debates around nuclear delay efforts toward solar, wind, tidal power. A wiser strategy is improving not only energy generation, but consumption. If we:
•Retrofit buildings to conserve energy
•Reduce transportation emissions
•Increase efficiency in transportation & industry
.. then we have lowered demand sufficiently so nuclear power is not needed, & the debate drops off.
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 support Community Solar. As Senator, I will support HB 9 again in 2021, and continue to collaborate with PNM to create equitable paths forward for community solar. As mentioned above, I also support Picuris Pueblo’s solar array, and other communities and pueblos, such as the town of Taos, Jicarilla Apache and Cochiti, to continue and expand their efforts towards energy independence.
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 are responsible to clean up. Since COVID has pulled the rug from under the oil & gas market, New Mexico must immediately pursue aggressive and swift actions to recover the asset retirement obligations (AROs) that oil operators owe New Mexico, before operators go bankrupt and leave us taxpayers with cleanup costs. Regardless of the presence of pit rules, wastewater protections, or local regulations, a bankrupt company has no money to honor even the best regulations.
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?
We always knew oil and gas was going to end one day. With COVID, the transition to the post-carbon economy now is right here, right now. Oil & gas corporations will play basically no role in New Mexico’s future. So let’s help suddenly-jobless NM families right now with healthcare, training in renewables, & investments in outdoor recreation, arts, restorative agriculture & solar & wind.
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?
COVID has unraveled structures of healthcare, government, economics. And so we have an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild in a just, green way. For this paradigm shift, we need courage, good politicians and collaboration. I will execute three simultaneous phases: Rescue, Recovery, Re-imagine. Copy principles of nature that help life survive adversity: Diversity, Decentralization, Duplication/redundancy. Invest in people not corporations. People generate wealth, jobs & economic vitality.
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?
15 years work outdoors in NM, collaborating with diverse locations in an environmentally healing way. Experience restoring land & ecosystems by:
• re-designing runoff at eroded sites
• cleaning pollutants: asbestos, diesel & creosote
• re-seeding grassland
• conducting aerial Phase 1 ESAs
• negotiating ACE water flows around EPA regulations & treaties
• protecting raptor chicks, endangered Wright’s FishHook Cactus, silvery minnows & soil crust
• initiated carbon offsets in the film industry
What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?
• Help more voters vote more easily with automatic registration, making voting day a holiday or weekend, rank-choice voting
• Limit the campaign season and mandate campaign finance reform
• More transparent NM government. Livestream committee meetings, including interim
• Lobbyists disclose advocacy and wear nametags
• Pay legislators and staff, so research can be thorough and unbiased
• Lengthen legislative session so citizens have time to speak
• Make the capital outlay process transparent, centralized and prioritized
• All committees open to public unless a strong need otherwise
Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected
Develop economic sectors like:
- Solar & wind (not just electrifying NM but designing, manufacturing and recycling)
- Space & aviation
- Outdoor recreation (capital outlay for trail maps, through-huts)
- Regenerative agriculture
Upgrade tax structure. Reform GRT to help our small businesses compete. Level the playing field between NM and out-of-state companies.
Add internet sales tax or car excise fees. Invest in 21st century infrastructure like rural broadband and climate-change-resilient cities. With all this, a State Bank can save money and help recirculate dollars within NM.
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Start with the film industry that is still growing. Use the venture capital fund w/ $120 million for patent development from the labs. Expand venture capital fund to develop art investment and music production. Pay for college education for every young person. Every body talks jobs but not many Senators actually created any jobs directly. Remember we won't be fooled again?
Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No
Will you take the #fossilfree pledge?