NM House District 33 candidate Guenevere McMahon
- NAME: Guenevere Ruth McMahon
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Costume designer
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Mesilla
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Nonprofit, grant writing, community relations, teaching, public speaking
- EDUCATION: BA in Government and Master of Public Administration, both from New Mexico State University
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: gueneveremcmahon.com
What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico ?
1. The Border Port at Santa Teresa and related industrial parks are now responsible for 53% of NM’s exports and have over $1B in private investment. Continued investment in infrastructure benefits the state. 2. Identify pathways to vocational jobs for non college bound students, which allows them to stay and invest in New Mexico.
What are the top two things you would propose to address the state’s high crime rate ?
1. Early childhood education, including home visits can provide structure and allow responsiveness to adverse childhood events early on, which increases the likelihood that children will not commit crimes as adults. 2. Jail diversion and rehabilitation for drug addicts will also have a strong effect on crime reduction.
How would you address the state’s high DWI rate ?
1. New Mexico must get tougher on repeat offenders. It’s inexcusable that people are picked up over and over again for the same offense and then released to once again become a menace. 2. Greater access to public transportation or free transportation, particularly in rural areas, can also help prevent people driving under the influence.
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 ?
Ninety percent of New Mexico’s early childhood education providers are private or faith-based. LGPF beneficiaries are limited to public schools. A better solution is to streamline and combine funding sources currently in competition with each other, such as state pre-K programs that currently compete with Head Start, causing loss of federal dollars.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales ?
Yes, if first: New Mexico decriminalized marijuana use and releases people currently incarcerated for use-related offenses; law enforcement is given adequate time and resources to train officers to detect drivers under the influence of marijuana; a massive public health campaign is undertaken to educate teens and young adults about the risks of marijuana use.
Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party ?
I support a shift to an open primary system.
Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7. 50 per hour? If so, by how much ?
Nonpartisan studies have shown that the Earned Income Tax Credit is a better tool for helping workers who earn minimum wage and that raising minimum wage results in students losing entry level jobs. In reality, raising the minimum wage creates higher prices that negate the buying power of low wage earners.
Do you support or oppose basing any percentage of a teacher’s performance evaluation on student test scores ? Explain.
I do not support basing teacher evaluations on student test scores because a teacher can’t control a number of the variables that affect test performance such as students whose families don’t have enough food, or are abusive, or homeless, or any number of factors that impact test performance.
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 do not support merit bonuses, as it takes a social mission to educate and turns it into a corporatized product. Children and their education are not a product. Unions should be able to negotiate and bargain and that should include refusing to accept merit bonuses as a valid tool.
Do you think having 32 state institutions of higher education is too many? What would you propose to make higher education more efficient ?
Yes. There is tremendous redundancy in our current higher education system, particularly at a time when enrollment is falling and technology makes distance learning and internet classes accessible and valid tools.
How should the state’s lottery scholarship program be kept solvent into the future ?
I support funneling unclaimed prize money into the scholarship fund rather than going back into the prize monies. Still, this is a shaky structure to start with, and is has not lived up to the promises made when New Mexico instituted the lottery and tied it to scholarships.
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 ?
“Right-to-work” is a misnomer for union-busting. The 40-hour work week and many other aspects that we take for granted in our working lives were paid for with the blood of unions and their members, and I do not support any efforts to weaken those unions.
Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state ?
Yes. Particularly here in southern New Mexico, we understand that our relationship with Mexico isn’t just neighborly, it’s familial. The U.S. is founded on the principle of welcoming immigrants seeking a better life, and our current system of separating families and incarcerating children is immoral and un-American.
If an Ethics Commission is approved by voters, at what point do you think ethics complaints should become public ?
Once an investigation determines the complaint has merit and there is meaningful evidence that the violation occurred, it should be made public. This is a subject I am very interested in discussing further and in greater detail, and am open to other viewpoints.
Do you believe the initial police incident reports and videos of arrests and crime scenes should be public ?
It would require a careful, thoughtful process to create standards and benchmarks for what would facilitate transparency without compromising safety and/or privacy, as well as careful consideration of both content and 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 ?
Popularity, unfortunately, is not the same as viability. In addition, the Rail Runner serves a select, very specific population, so the burden for it should rest there, not on the entire state.
Do you favor imposing a gross receipts tax on all 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 ?
The past legislative session included an attempt to eliminate exemptions for nonprofits, which I very much disagree with. Streamlining the tax code is always desirable, but penalizing nonprofits who are doing community service is not the right approach.
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 support universal background checks, laws preventing convicted domestic abusers from buying firearms, and a ban on military style weapons. I support safe and gun-free zones and believe that municipalities should have the ability to create gun-free zones. I also strongly support the implementation of a gun violence restraining order or extreme threat restraining order.
Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens ?
Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding ?
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.