Candidate, NM House of Representatives, 40

Roger Montoya

RogerForNM.com
  • 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?

Forrest Health— Watershed restoration, reforestation, fire prevention/mitigation and policies that inspire the highest outcomes regarding sustainable and measurable carbon sink and job creation. I also rigorously support electric buses / transit systems that link rural areas. In fact, I am working on a project with DC Cabinet Sec of Transporation for my 6000 sq mile district; San Miguel, Colfax, Mora and Rio Arriba counties.

  • 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?

Because it sounds good, self preservation is always a calculation by political leaders… and no one holds us truly accountable.

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

Engage oil and gas and folks like YUCCA to come to the table to identify and find consensus on key steps we must take together.

  • 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?

First , I will foster dialogue that is free of hatred and political drama where commonality is centered — I know , I’m an altruistic leader— always. 😀
So called green hydrogen is a distraction from the ETA trajectory of the 2018 session. When we stay on track to develop and provide the investment in renewables from a manufacturing, training and applied use construct , we will begin to see the economic advantages that impact people of color who are the most vulnerable.

 

  • 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.

This is a great map-one that I fully support. How we arrive at these goals will be the result of deep and courageous dialogue and meaningful compromise. Inspiring the O&G industry to see value in these investments is possible.

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

New Mexico and it’s deep mixture of racial - cultural blood lines — the mestizaje — lives in my veins. The traditional ways of knowing are the frame we seek— this delicate balance must be central to everything we consider. Even Western based stakeholders and power holders can be enlightened.

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

I will listen to any and all stakeholders I can find, my district constituents are key as they elected me. I must listen to all sides, even those I may disagree with. I have listened to the folks at new energy economy and the youth from Yucca and executives from NMOGA, Conservation Voters NM and others have informed by evolving body of knowledge.

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

Environmental racism is evidenced when certain populations are subjected to toxic substances and environmentally compromised situations where the health and wellness of human beings and our water, land and air is disregarded intentionally or otherwise. The city of Espanola has experienced a superfund / illegal dumping of toxic chemicals from a cleaning business almost 40 years ago.This plume has migrated to the edge of the Rio Grande — it is not yet fully remediate by the EPA and NMED.

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

My responsibility is to be an exemplar, a mentor and a role model to the next generation— I must be humble enough to honor the vision and the voices of emerging voices.

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

Until we can craft a clear and consensual path that is responsible — I cannot support an “absolute moratorium” on new gas development. We rely on extractive industries for a major portion of the state budget — while I am committed to the essential transition away from oil and gas — we must be realistic thoughtful and collaborative in arriving at these goals.

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

I fully believe that community solar must be made accessible and flexible enough to be realized in multiple applications, schools ,community centers, private homes, mobile homes etc. in place of gas plant investments. Our citizens are hungry to finally see this happen in real time.

 

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

I do not. This technology will never be erased — we have made sure of this as humans. While it is part of our world - I will seek legislation and advocacy to seriously limit or end this dangerous technology from active use.

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

I do not. The amount of natural gas, clean water and the new carbon emissions as a by product, (in this unproven industry), make me more than uncomfortable. When political leaders are distracted by billions of dollars to push these industries with a promise of creating hundreds of jobs — I cannot support it morally or legislatively.

  • 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, economic justice is linked to climate justice. The corporate giants will always attempt to maximize profits and control this localized notion of justice. I’d like to see the smallest communities and stakeholders claiming a proportional control of their own economic futures.

  • 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?

I firmly believe that each of us must take personal responsibility for our own actions / projects and any unintended or intended consequences that emerge from such work. This core value must be applied to any and all entities large and small to be regulated with appropriate oversight. Accountability matters and must be enforced. Corporate voices come with lawyers and power— I will be a soldier on the front lines to this end.

  • 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?

Those most disproportionately impacted by both of these pressing issues are the poorest among us. We must forecast and prepare to combat these symptoms proactively. I support the investment in renewable energy systems, water purification ,education and technology in appropriate ways to mitigate hard ship and the spread of dis —ease . We can do this and create training and jobs for these communities if we plan well and insist on equitable solutions.

  • 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?

For 35 years, I have lived in Rio Arriba County RAC and served with many environmental and social change organizations-health councils and along side community champions fighting for just action and equitable policies. One example is the initiation of the first ever homeless shelter in RAC which I led in late 2018. Today , the non profit is burgeoning, and just acquired a large shopping center where three long term tenants make the operations sustainable and the services effective.

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

Lobbiest’s are too powerful- the fact that our NM legislative body is not yet professionalized— we become dependent on these forces to become elected and stay in office. This is dangerous on many levels. We end up with a body that does not reflect the demographic of NM.

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

Diversifying our portfolio is the standard answer—the NM Land Grant permanent fund is potentially a source for the needed ‘scale of investment’ in the infrastructure for the generation of green energy, transmission and storage. This would require a constitutional amendment.

GRT requires more population…
When broad band and infrastructure equity are realized for rural and tribal areas ; water, waste water, electricity and roads and bridges — we can begin build the capacity for economic development, the social of determinants of heath will improve— healthcare care access, education and the dev.of industries that allow for entrepreneurial/distance work and training. Cannabis, Film industry, Tech Transfer and more could contribute to increased revenue.

  • 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/

No

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