1st Congressional District candidate Debra Haaland

  • NAME: Debra Haaland
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Community Organizer
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Former small business owner, Chair of the Laguna Development Corporation Board, Tribal administrator, Activist, 2012 Obama Native American Vote Director, 2014 Dem Lt. Governor Nominee, Democratic Party Chair 2015-2017
  • EDUCATION: B.A. in English from UNM, and J.D. from UNM School of Law.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: debforcongress.com

IMMIGRATION

1. Please give your position on DACA.

As a Native American woman, my family has experienced the brutality of government-backed family separation – I will always stand up for keeping families together and opposing inhumane deportations. DACA must be protected and expanded into a permanent solution for children who immigrated to the US with their families and have essentially known no other country. I’m proud to be supported by one of NM’s leading DREAMers, Cindy Nava.

2. .Do you favor amnesty, a path to citizenship or worker permits for most or all of the people now living illegally in the U.S.? Who do you think, if anyone, should be deported?

I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship and work permits for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in America. I oppose Trump’s plan to tear families apart. I do believe that people who commit violent felonies should be deported, in accordance with due process and the law.

3. Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose should be done to increase their security? Do you support Trump’s proposal to build a $25 billion wall?

I will fight tirelessly against Trump’s racist and astronomically expensive wall, extreme enforcement measures, and for-profit detention centers that are abusive and inhumane. Immigration policy must recognize this country’s dependency on, and exploitation of, immigrant labor, and treat with dignity and humanity those who work and build their families here. We need comprehensive immigration reform and rational border security policies

4. What’s your position on skills-based immigration vs. family-based?

Trump’s proposal to cut family-based visas is an assault on women and immigrant communities of color, and strips protections for refugee children and asylum seekers. I am adamantly opposed to cutting family visas. Reducing family immigration will disproportionately hurt women and children; two-thirds of women immigrants obtain legal status through family-based immigration. A good comprehensive immigration reform plan will include both family and skills-based visa opportunities.

 

SCHOOL SAFETY AND GUN CONTROL

1. Do you favor a federal ban on the sale of assault-style weapons? If so, what would you do about the millions of the assault-style weapons now legally owned by American citizens?

Our children’s lives are more important than any companies’ right to earn a profit on guns. We must ban assault weapons, and correspondingly enact widespread gun buyback programs, with no questions asked, like New Orleans recently did. We must ban bump stocks, military-grade weapons, and large-capacity magazines – whose only purpose is to kill people; and restrict the purchase of guns to those 18 and older.

2. What other, if any, gun law changes would you support?

It’s essential to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers and we need a better tracking system to ensure this. More than half the women murdered in the US are killed by an intimate partner with a gun. I support closing the gun show and online loopholes so unlicensed dealers are subject to background checks. I support anti-gun trafficking legislation, particularly given the weak NM gun laws.

3. Would you favor a repeal of the 2nd amendment?

I have a different interpretation of the 2nd Amendment than the NRA or Republicans. Our founding fathers simply couldn’t have imagined the assault weapons available in stores today. I believe the right to bear arms is not unlimited. When the assault rifle ban was implemented, such as in Australia, such crimes declined.

4. While much of the discussion on school safety centers on gun control, what other measures would you support to make schools safer?

We should not arm teachers. We need to make schools stronger by increasing spending on mental health support and bullying prevention programs; helping students, feel safer at schools by making them strong wrap-around institutions with well-paid teachers and faculty who can deliver more public and community services, along with bonuses for difficult-to-staff school assignments.

 

FOREIGN POLICY

1. What do you propose the U.S. do with regards to Syria?

The President’s violence-first foreign policy agenda is dangerous and unconstitutional. The chemical attack inflicted by the Syrian regime upon its own innocent people, including women and children, is heinous. I believe in a diplomacy-first foreign policy, violence must be a last resort. We must exhaust diplomatic options with Syria, and only then the President should consult with Congress to hold a vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

2. In Afghanistan?

The United States should do what is necessary to provide support for Afghanistan to maintain safety and security for its citizens — with a focus on support for schools and hospitals, not violence. For decades, the political, religious and military quagmire there has cost too many lives and billions of taxpayer dollars. I favor an annual comprehensive review of the United States mission, its goals and objectives.

3. In Mexico?

Mexico remains one of our closest allies. We must maintain our partnerships with Mexico including essential social, cultural and economic ties. Trump’s efforts to demonize Mexico and Mexicans are an embarrassment to our nation. Trump’s proposed border wall is an outrageous boondoggle and a shameful waste of taxpayer money. NAFTA must be renegotiated to better protect labor, environment, and investor protections.

4. Relations with Russia are said to be at their worst in many years after allegations of Russian meddling in our elections, the Trump administration’s decision to sell weapons to Ukraine and the recent expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats. Do you approve of these actions? What would your posture be towards Russia?

Russia interfered in the 2016 election in order to destabilize our political system, our democracy, and American unity. Russia’s aggression in Crimea and Ukraine, stifling of the free press, and prohibiting peaceful protest or any political opposition to the Putin regime is a clear indication of dictatorial and oppressive actions that Americans oppose.

I’d maintain an arms-length relationship with our adversary in the interest of pursuing peace around the world.

5. If talks fail, would you support a pre-emptive strike on North Korea to degrade its nuclear capabilities and missile delivery systems?

The Iran Deal shows that diplomacy works. A pre-emptive strike against unpredictable North Korea would lead to World War III, putting millions of South Koreans and Americans in imminent danger and enraging China. We have no way to guarantee that such a strike would achieve its military or political objectives; pre-emptive wars like the one we undertook in Iraq have untold human and economic consequences that we cannot foresee.

 

ECONOMY

1. How would you make New Mexico less dependent on federal spending?

New Mexico can lead the renewable energy era with massive solar and wind investments. We must move to 100% renewable energy. Wind and solar investments would create thousands of jobs for hard-working New Mexicans. Albuquerque can be the leader in hi-tech for the country. We must diversify our economy; renewable energy research, development and manufacturing, support for small businesses and development of a high-tech sector are all essential.

2. Do you support or oppose President Trump’s imposition of higher tariffs on China? Why or why not?

I do not support Trump’s trade war with China. Trump is lying to the American people on trade — tariffs on China will not create American jobs. The stock market, trading partners and our allies have already weighed in negatively. China’s predictable response by imposing tariffs on U.S. goods is wreaking havoc on farmers and manufacturers around the country. It’s simply a bad idea.

 

OTHER

1. Do you favor or oppose limits on late-term abortion, and do you believe tax dollars should or should not be used to fund abortions?

I am a fierce champion of Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights, and am proud of my endorsement from Planned Parenthood Action Fund. I oppose all restrictions on public funding that limit women’s ability to access contraception or abortion. Women should be able to make their own decisions about their health and whether to start a family, with the counsel of their families, faith and healthcare providers, not politicians.

2. What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction?

We need Medicare For All so everyone has access to affordable health care. We must fully fund addiction counseling and treatment centers; encourage pharmaceutical manufacturers to create a profit model that is less reliant on addictive opioids; and legalize cannabis on a federal level or allow for regulation on a state-by-state basis. Cannabis has been proven effective for the treatment of pain and anxiety rather than opioid treatment.

3. Do you favor or oppose a national single day payer health system? Explain.

Health care is a right, not a privilege. We need Medicare For All, guaranteed health care for everyone. The corporate healthcare system is broken; a few massive corporations make billions providing substandard care. Public healthcare is more affordable — we cut out the profits and much of the paperwork — it is efficient, and it is far more consistent and humane. It’s unacceptable that GoFundMe has become America’s emergency fund.

4. What would you do to rein in health care costs?

I will stand up to Big Pharma. Americans pay outrageous costs for prescription drugs and many hard-working people have to forgo life-saving medications — or rent and even food – because of pharma costs. I support the safe and affordable importation of drugs from Canada. We should leverage the federal government’s purchasing power for Medicare – letting them aggressively negotiate lower prescription drug prices with drug companies, saving millions annually.

5. If elected, are there any issues you could work with President Trump on, and would you be willing to do so?

I will not normalize the Trump’s horrific behavior in demonizing immigrants, harming women, and whipping up violence against black and brown people across America. But I would work together on any issue that would help New Mexico move to a renewable energy economy, fix our broken healthcare system, advance campaign finance reform, balance our tax system to insure that every American and corporation pays their fair share.

6. If you had to decide today, would you vote to impeach President Trump?

I am deeply concerned with the actions of this President. In Congress, I will be a powerful voice against his reckless actions and policies and fight to ensure the rest of us have a voice in Washington. Should Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Trump’s campaign and administration unearth evidence of impeachable offenses, I would weigh the evidence available and strongly consider impeachment.

7. Should the federal government play a role in setting education policy for the nation’s public schools? Explain your answer.

I believe the federal government should be focused on fully funding public schools across America so that every child can reach their full potential regardless of zip code, income, skin color, or ethnic background. I oppose private school vouchers. Educator pay must be increased and classrooms must be safe and updated. Public schools should be protected from tax cuts and guaranteed a minimum level of funding necessary to provide a quality education.

8. Why do you want to be a member of Congress?

Congress has never heard a voice like mine. I would be the first Native American woman elected to Congress. As a single mother who struggled through poverty to graduate law school and become a leader in our community. My story is your story. I will be a fierce advocate for hard working families;fighting climate change while providing jobs, providing Medicare for All, and getting big money out of politics.

 

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No

3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.

Over 35 years ago, I had two DWI convictions. I have not consumed alcohol since. It was a hard lesson, but one I took to heart and was part of my life’s journey that has led me to where I am today. I am proud of my personal and professional accomplishments. I am fortunate to be surrounded by the unconditional love of family and friends.

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