2nd Congressional District candidate Gavin Clarkson

  • NAME: Dr. Gavin Clarkson
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Business and Law Professor, on leave from NMSU
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy and Economic Development — Indian Affairs in the Trump Administration until the end of 2017. In that position, I managed a multi-billion dollar energy portfolio and supervised the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and the Office of Self-Governance. Licensed investment Banker with FINRA Series 7, 24, and 66 securities license. National security clearance.
  • EDUCATION: BA & MBA, Rice University; Doctorate in Technology and Operations Management, Harvard Business School; J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.gavinclarkson.com

On the topic of Immigration:


1. Please give your position on DACA.

I do not support a path to citizenship, except for those who choose to honorably serve in the military. President Trump offered residency for all 1.8 million who qualify, not just the roughly 800,000 who applied, but Democrats are refusing to surrender the issue as a political wedge.

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?

Deportation should be for those here illegally who have committed additional crimes. I oppose amnesty. I believe in the rule of law and fairness for legal immigrants who followed the rules. I am willing to consider a path to residency for those who will not burden our social welfare systems.


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 support not just the wall, but a high-tech wall, which will promote economic development in southern New Mexico. The wall needs high-tech monitoring equipment like motion detectors, infrared, and ground penetrating radar, all of which will need to be monitored at command stations linked by high-speed optic fiber lines.


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

I would end chain-migration and the visa lottery. Merit-based work permits give folks everything they might want economically, except for the one thing that Democrats really seem to care about, which is naturalizing new voters.

On the topic of 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?

No. “Assault-style” is a nebulous term. Leftists seem to think it’s any gun that looks scary. Americans have every right to own weapons to defend themselves, their families, and their property.

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

I’d support concealed carry in the classroom for select teachers and administrators

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

No. (The) 2nd Amendment doesn’t grant us the right to defend our persons, properties, and families. God did that by making us in His image. 2nd Amendment simply protects what Justice Scalia called a “pre-political right,” which is deeply ingrained in natural law. Self-defense is an inalienable right of human nature.

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

After 9/11, we didn’t go on a nationwide hunt to ban box cutters. Instead we made it harder to get them onto planes. Likewise with schools, we need to harden soft targets. Local school systems should be able to allow concealed carry in the classroom for teachers with proper training.

On the topic of foreign policy:


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

President Trump seems to have the right instincts here. We need to enforce international norms and keep beating back ISIS, but we need to stay out of this civil war, which has become a regional quagmire for Iran and Russia. Let them sink their blood and treasure into it.

2. In Afghanistan?

Get out. Restoring constitutional checks and balances means Congress must reassert its exclusive powers over the extended deployment of our armed services. Congress should debate our continued presence in Afghanistan, which was supposed to have ended under the last administration.

3. In Mexico?

Cut a better deal on NAFTA. Free trade is only free if it’s truly fair. The energy industry must be free to export from New Mexico into Mexico.

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?

While these actions are warranted, I agree with President Trump that having a better relationship with Russia should be our goal. Renewing the Cold War is not in our best interest.

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

Only if there is incontrovertible evidence that an attack on the United States is imminent. The President should be able to make that call if it is a matter of urgent necessity, but otherwise the Constitutions clearly entrusts the war power to Congress.

On the economy:


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

Most of what goes on in Washington, D.C. nowadays was never intended by the Framers to occur at the federal level. A simple dividing line is the 10th Amendment. Whatever is not an enumerated power of the Constitution is best left in the hands of the States and the people.

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

Strategic deterrence is the use of threats to convince another party to either refrain from initiating some course of action or to cease a course of action. President Trump’s tough stance on NAFTA and his actions against China clearly demonstrate that credible threat, and China is already making concessions.




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 oppose partial birth abortion, taxpayer funded abortions, and would vote to cut off any and all funding for Planned Parenthood. I will advocate for legislation that protects the unborn at all ages and stages of life, including fetal pain legislation and significant restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks.


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

Local drug courts combining punitive powers with medical treatment and rehabilitative programs seem to offer the best hope of dealing with a crisis that federal policy has exacerbated through crony subsidies, making pain a “vital sign,” mandating abuse-deterrent formulas, outlawing generics, prohibiting maintenance therapy, and over-regulating Medication Assisted Treatment options.


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

Oppose. Government interventions in healthcare have failed to arrest rapidly rising healthcare costs and have actually accelerated them. Healthcare was already a government-dominated sector of the economy long before Obamacare came along. Without free-market price signals, there is no way to use resources well or productively.


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

I support the repeal of Obamacare, medical liability reform, allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines, health savings accounts, personal liberty and choice in the selection of insurance plans, and allowing young healthy individuals to purchase high-deductible catastrophic coverage.

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

Continuing to roll back regulations, civil service reforms, cutting taxes, eliminating dual taxation on job creators in the energy sector, and pursuing American Energy Dominance are high priorities I share with the president and hope to have the chance to advance in Congress.

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

Absolutely not.

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

Article I, Section 8 explicitly delegates specific powers to Congress. Altogether, the Constitution lists 30 to 35 (depending how they are counted), education is mentioned nowhere in the entire document. My position, and I think the position of our nation’s Founding Fathers, is local control of local schools.


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

Because I believe I have the ideas and energy to empower New Mexico. I’m the only candidate with specific plans to bring $2B to New Mexico (without costing taxpayers a dime) and eliminate $1 billion a day in government waste. New Mexico needs a battle-tested swamp warrior in Congress.

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?



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

I filed Chapter 7 in 2012 after massive commercial real estate losses due to the great recession of 2008 and the anemic Obama non-recovery. This information was all fully disclosed on my federal background check and did not prevent me from obtaining a national security clearance.

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.