NM House District 41 candidate Debbie Rodella

  • NAME: Debbie A. Rodella
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Retired
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Española (La Mesilla)
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: State Representative 1993 to present
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor’s Degree, Business Administration, College of Santa Fe; Associate degrees in Accounting & Business, Northern New Mexico Community College.
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: debbierodella.com (under construction).

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

Education and workforce development; support for apprenticeship and internship programs. Improve infrastructure; I was co-sponsor of HB 38 Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure.

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

I voted for the 8. 5% raise for our state police officers, correction and probation officers; 17.6% increase for DA’s office in the second judicial district to curb crime. Drug addiction leads to crime. I support investing more in education, prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and treatment facilities.

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

Throughout the years, we have passed legislation, which I supported to reduce DWIs. We have come a long way. This past session I so-sponsored HB 35 Liquor Excise Tax Distributions which will provide funding for education and prevention programs.

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 early childhood education and have voted FOR the constitutional amendment every time.

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

Undecided. My constituents are evenly split. I do support medical marijuana and I do support de-criminalization.

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

I am not convinced that we should open up primaries at this time. My district has one of the highest election voter turnouts in the State.

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

Support. I was the primary sponsor of HB 442 in 2017, pocket-vetoed by the Governor. HB 442 was a compromise/consensus bill to raise minimum wage to $9. 25. Would not have affected municipalities with a higher minimum wage and would not have prevented an increase above $9.25.

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

I oppose basing any percentage of a teacher’s performance evaluation on student test scores. I don’t believe test scores should be used as an evaluation tool to measure performance. What would we be asking teachers to do, teach our children how to take a test ?

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 increased pay for all our teachers and I voted FOR the 2. 5% raise for teachers this past session. I would support merit raises for those teachers that excel; however, I don’t believe the current evaluation system is fair.

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

No, I don’t believe that 32 state institutions of higher education are too many. Higher education should be available to as many New Mexicans as possible, especially in rural areas. I don’t think we can compromise the value of education by using an “efficiency” standard.

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

I support the Legislative Lottery Scholarship and the opportunities it affords our students. Increased sales of lottery tickets would certainly help with solvency. As much as I dislike the idea of changing eligibility requirements, it may be our only alternative to maintain solvency.

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 oppose making New Mexico a right-to-work state and have always voted against right-to-work bills. The issue regarding nonunion employees not having to pay union fees as a condition of employment is currently pending before the United States Supreme Court.

Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state ?

I believe New Mexico is already a sanctuary state.

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

Ethics reform is important. It is equally important to have a process in place where complaints can be screened and vetted as to their validity prior to becoming public. Otherwise, making public a frivolous, unsubstantiated complaint can ruin a person’s life.

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

I believe in transparency and accountability; however, making these initial reports and videos public could interfere with law enforcement’s ability to fully complete their investigations and could hamper the prosecution or defense of a case. I strongly believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty and cases should not be tried in the media.

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 support public transportation and I support seeking federal funding for the necessary safety upgrades.

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

I voted for imposing a gross receipts tax on all internet sales to help our local and small businesses compete with online 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 ?

Yes. I’ve voted in favor of legislation to eliminate exemptions and deductions that are in the books and are not being utilized. I would also be willing to consider eliminating some deductions and exemptions to lower the base rate. However, when considering tax reform, I do not support re-imposition of the food tax.

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 ?

Priority – student safety – voted for SB 239 funding to make schools safer. Pro-Second Amendment. Support improved information sharing between government entities to keep guns out of the hands of persons who pose a danger to themselves or others; support keeping guns away from those convicted of domestic violence (SB 259).

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. No.