NM House District 13 candidate Robert Atencio

  • NAME: Robert “Bobby” Atencio
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Director of Stadium Operations at Albuquerque Isotopes
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Retired APD, Inaugural Chairman of the Southwest Community Policing Council, General Contractor
  • EDUCATION: St. Francis Xavier, University of Albuquerque; Wayland Baptist University; Albuquerque Police Department.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: AtencioforNM.com

What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico ?

Improving our economy in New Mexico starts with ensuring our students, schools and teachers have the resources they need to learn and succeed so we have a solid foundation for the future. Secondly, I would work with schools, universities, technical institutions and the business community to create work placement opportunities.

What are the top two things you would propose to address the state’s high crime rate ?

We need to have advocates in the legislature who have the experience and background in bringing the community and law enforcement together to strengthen our community. I will work neighborhoods to create neighborhood associations and work with law enforcement to bring back community policing to our neighborhoods.

How would you address the state’s high DWI rate ?

Identify funding for more law enforcement officers to address the DWI issue and community based initiatives to address to address the high DWI rate.

New Mexico now spends about $270 million a year for early childhood programs, such as home visiting, pre-kindergarten and child care assistance. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services ?

I support allocating money from the land grant, but will seek other generated money to ensure its proper funding.

Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales ?

Yes, I support legalizing recreational marijuana use and taxing sales to provide more money for the state.

Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party ?

I support allowing voters to vote who are not affiliated with either political or major political party. Everyone should have a voting opportunity.

Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7. 50 per hour? If so, by how much ?

I am in support of raising the minimum wage to a rate that would make New Mexico competitive with our surrounding states and allow our residents to be able to provide for their families.

Do you support or oppose basing any percentage of a teacher’s performance evaluation on student test scores ? Explain.

No, I do not support basing any percentage of teacher’s performance on student test scores, because many students are great classroom learners but poor test takers.

Do you support merit bonuses for teachers who do well on their evaluations? Do you believe unions should have the authority to block such bonuses ?

I support increasing all teachers pay across the board to make teachers salary competitive in surrounding states.

Do you think having 32 state institutions of higher education is too many? What would you propose to make higher education more efficient ?

I believe as long as the educational institutions provide an education it can give students the opportunity to create more jobs in New Mexico,

How should the state’s lottery scholarship program be kept solvent into the future ?

The lottery scholarship should be moved to a needs based scholarship based on family income.

Do you support or oppose making New Mexico a so-called right-to-work state, by changing state labor laws so that nonunion employees would not have to pay union fees as a condition of employment ?

I am opposed to making New Mexico a right to work state.

Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state ?

I believe all law abiding residents of New Mexico should not live in fear because of their immigration status.

If an Ethics Commission is approved by voters, at what point do you think ethics complaints should become public ?

I am in support of an Independent Ethics Commission and complaints should be made public once the commission has gathered overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing.

Do you believe the initial police incident reports and videos of arrests and crime scenes should be public ?

I am in support of incident reports and videos being made public.

The state faces balloon payments on its Rail Runner debt in 2025 and 2026, a federal requirement for tens of millions of dollars in safety upgrades for the train, and declining ridership. On the other hand, the train is popular with the commuters who rely on it, and the Rail Runner may seek federal funding for the safety changes. Do you support continuing operation of the Rail Runner ?

I am in support of keeping the Rail Runner operational.

Do you favor imposing a gross receipts tax on all internet sales ?

I support New Mexico imposing a gross receipts tax on internet sales.

New Mexico has more than 100 exemptions and deductions in its gross receipts tax system. Would you favor eliminating some or all of them as part of an attempt to lower the base rate? If so, which ones? If not, why ?

As long as its conducive to moving New Mexico forward.

What would you support to make New Mexico schools safer? Would that include changing New Mexico’s gun laws? If so, what specific changes to the gun laws would you support ?

Hire retired APD officers to fill the school resource officer positions and not penalize their PERA and pay them a set salary. Provide resources that will address mental health issues and raise awareness on bullying. These resources will also be easily accessible to families of our communities to keep them safe and educated.

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

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

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. No.