NM House District candidate Mark Boslough - Albuquerque Journal

NM House District candidate Mark Boslough

  • NAME: Mark B. Boslough
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Scientist
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque (unincorporated Sandia Heights)
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Served on many education, community, and science boards and committees (see campaign website)
  • EDUCATION: BS in Physics (Colorado State University, 1977); Ph.D. in Applied Physics (California Institute of Technology, 1983)
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.boslough.us

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

Improve education and attract businesses. These are two reasons I am running. Our kids are as bright and talented as anywhere, but their opportunities are limited by underfunded schools and lack of employment opportunities. Better education will yield a better workforce and attract more companies. These effects reinforce one another.

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

1) Treat addiction and mental illness, which correlate with unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and the desperation that leads to crime. 2) Reform our justice system which lets off too many violent criminals and incarcerates too many individuals convicted of petty drug offenses and other victimless crimes.

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

Our current DWI policy does not work. DWI offenders are a risk to themselves and to others and must be monitored and physically prevented from having access to a vehicle when under the influence. Convicted DWI offenders should get extended probation and frequent random blood alcohol tests with zero-tolerance consequences.

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 ?

Early childhood programs are no panacea but help kids and their families. They should be funded. However, it would be irresponsible to change the law to draw down the Permanent Fund. If we amend the constitution after every transient uptick in markets we will need to rename it the Not-So-Permanent-Fund.

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

Support with conditions. Any time a governmental entity taxes the sale of a product, it has an interest in allowing that product to be promoted. Strict regulation and restrictions on advertising and promotion of potentially harmful or unhealthy substances or activities should be a condition of legalization.

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

Support. However, open primaries with standard voting allows fringe candidates to undermine party interests and can exacerbate polarization and partisanship. I support an open primary combining California-style top-two with Maine-style ranked-choice (instant runoff) voting to help cooperative moderates represent centrist majorities. (Note: NM now has three major parties).

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

We must ensure livable wages. Per capita income in Los Alamos is nearly quadruple that of McKinley County. Geographically-scaled minimums would mean workers can afford to live in expensive cities but small-town businesses could still make payroll and stay open. Minimum wages should be indexed to automatically increase with inflation.

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

Oppose. The consensus among education experts is that standardized tests do not reliably measure what students are learning. This is particularly true where poverty rates are high or the culture does not historically value education. Demographics are much more important, especially for middle grades. Teacher evaluations shouldn’t depend on demographics.

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’d support if evaluations were reliable indicators of performance. I cofounded the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education, which looked into this and concluded that there’s no scientific basis to support the current evaluation system. I believe that unions lack the power to block bonuses. They negotiate agreements.

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

Too many. This redundancy leads to too many boards of regents and administrators, more infrastructure, and mission creep. It inflates the bureaucracy and dilutes the reason for their existence: higher education. We should maintain excellence by exploiting economies of scale which means fewer administrators and more educators.

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

Lotteries aren’t free money. It’s effectively a regressive tax that hurts our economy. It’s hypocritical to fund education by promoting a “get-rich-quick” gambling scheme that selectively exploits the least educated. The state should be promoting education and hard work – not improbable luck – as the best path to economic success.

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 ?

Opposed. The term “right-to-work state” is misleading, implying that people do not have the right to work in other states. They do, but businesses also have the right to set the terms of employment. “Right-to-work” states remove the right of companies and unions to engage in certain free-market contractual agreements.

Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state ?

“Sanctuary state” is an undefined and confusing term. I’m in favor of a police policy that prohibits officers from forcing crime witnesses to prove citizenship because that would discourage them from coming forward, but I oppose any prohibition on deportation of convicted criminals who are undocumented immigrants.

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

New Mexico is one of only eight states without an ethics commission, even though our state has a history of corruption and mismanagement by public officials and employees. The creation of this important body should not be held up by secrecy requirements. Whistleblowers should be able to make public statements.

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

I tend to favor public disclosure, but this isn’t a simple question. Privacy issues are at play. Innocent witnesses may be captured on video. In cases of deadly force, public trust depends on transparency and videos should be released as a matter of due process under most circumstances.

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 ?

Yes. The Belen to Santa Fe corridor is the busiest in New Mexico. The Rail Runner is key component of our transportation infrastructure and is safer and more efficient than automobiles which already depend on heavy federal subsidies. We need modern infrastructure to attract businesses and investment from wealthier states.

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

Yes. It is unfair to New Mexico businesses for out-of-state companies to undercut their prices by avoiding this tax.

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 ?

Yes. Exemptions and deductions are de facto subsidies that are subject to abuse because they are hidden in the tax code. Honest and transparent subsidies should be payments, not deductions. The benefit and effect on the budget would be the same, but they would get the scrutiny they deserve.

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 ?

I’ve used guns professionally and recreationally. I respect the Second Amendment and regulation it prescribes. This should include universal background checks, red flag laws, permits to carry, liability insurance, and closing gun-show loopholes. I will resist the NRA’s current effort to erode Constitutional private property rights of businesses and homeowners.

Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens ? No.

Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding ? No.

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. As a teenager in Colorado I was arrested once and charged with possession of marijuana and illegal fireworks. Charges were dropped. I’ve held a security clearance my entire professional life, which required periodic reinvestigations, drug tests, and polygraph exams.

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