NM House District 40 candidate Barney Trujillo

  • NAME: Barney Trujillo
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: One Stop Operator – Northern Area; Local Workforce Development Board
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Chairman, Rio Arriba County Commission; Vice-Chair, LANL Coalition of Communities; Former Public relations assistant at New Mexico State Land Office; St. Michael’s High School attended New Horizons learning center and UNM continuing education multimedia development.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: barneytrujillo.com

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

Invest in our local homegrown businesses curtailing/offsetting economic leakage, which is the import of products into New Mexico that we could otherwise produce for ourselves. This would greatly benefit our rural communities. Also, workforce development. We cannot grow our local businesses or recruit out-of-state industry without a quality workforce.

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

To tackle the crime issue we have to think outside of the box and start early with kids and focus on career readiness at early ages. Also emphasize job training/education opportunities in our jails. Similar to San Quentin prison in California, where prisoners have an opportunity to learn computer coding.

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

Although we still have a high DWI rate, rates are going down I feel we need to continue current efforts staying strong with penalties.

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 ?

Being a former State Land Office employee and understanding how important the land grant permanent fund is, I usually would be opposed but the current circumstances call for such actions.

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

Yes I support. We have to regulate and tax properly, preferably at a lower tax rate, to help creative a competitive advantage from our neighboring state.

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


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

I would advocate for $10. 00 an hour.

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

Opposed. There are many variables involved and any employee can only do so much.

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 ?

Yes I support. I don’t believe unions should have that authority.

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

No, smaller institutions are critical to rural communities.

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

We can’t predict the future of lottery revenues. We can look at the idea of channeling funds from gaming compacts.

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 ?


Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state ?


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

Ethics enforcement is a great. Unfortunately sometimes also may be used politically to build perception. Being from Rio Arriba County where politics isn’t for the faint of heart, I believe complaints should be made public after there are findings from a due diligence investigation.

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

Yes, law enforcement should be accountable for actions taken ensuring both parties are equally protected.

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 ?

No, I don’t support. When time comes or even possibly now we should start to entertain a bond sale.

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

If a proper tax reform to the state would be applied, I would answer yes. There are chances we can change to a single sales state or a fixed tax rate. So this question is really up in the air until we figure our tax formula in this state.

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 ?

New Mexico needs tax reform. There has already been introduced legislation creating tax reform. Different tax structures fit different local governments.

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 ?

We need to set a standard for school security and surveillance. For all schools to stay monitored properly. Right now I don’t believe it is necessary to change our gun laws.

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. 18 years ago I made a youthful indiscretion and was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.