Land commissioner candidate George Munoz
- NAME: George Munoz
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Small business owner, general contractor, real estate developer, farmer and rancher
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Gallup
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I’m a small business owner who employs more than 25 people and has deep experience in contract and lease negotiation. I’ve served the State of New Mexico for over 10 years and I’ve passed legislation increasing education funding to support teachers and students making schools safer and reforming our state pension system saving the state over one billion dollars.
- EDUCATION: Gallup High School, University of Arizona, Agribusiness Management
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE : munozfornm.com
1. What would be your top priorities as land commissioner?
I would do everything in my power to stabilize and increase funding for public education. I would start with an aggressive expansion of renewable energy projects. I would also work with the New Mexico Legislature to create a coherent energy policy that leverages wind, solar, and transmission and energy storage to create new revenue streams for New Mexico.
2. What steps, if any, would you take to boost revenue for public schools and other beneficiaries of the state land trust?
I will make sure we have a permanent revenue stream for New Mexico’s schools that is not dependent on any one industry. We can stabilize our education funding and invest more in early childhood education with the expansion of renewables. We have the land — we have the wind, and we have the sun; what we don’t have is the leadership to make New Mexico the renewable capital of the county.
3. What steps, if any, would you take to protect the environment and promote outdoor recreation?
For far too long we have thought that one person in the land office can determine what’s best for New Mexico and no one person is an expert on all of the issues in the land office. That’s why, I will establish advisory boards and recruit people with professional and practical expertise from around the state to advise and make policy recommendations to the agency. I would begin by creating an environmental advisory board related to how the State Land Office manages our public lands. It will include members of the community and include ranchers, landowners, outdoors enthusiasts like hikers, hunters, and conservationists, and members of the energy industry to help our agency manage state lands equitably.
When it comes to promotion, I passed Legislation to promote and increase funding for the New Mexico Chile industry and I would do the same with the outdoor recreation industry to promote the Land of Enchantment.
4. What would be your approach to overseeing state investments and investment strategy as a member of the State Investment Council?
First of all, we need more transparency on our investments. With that as my guiding star, I would advocate for growing the fund at a rate of return that would make the permanent fund grow at a stable rate without the high risk, low returns and high fees cost. I will work to insure that the money New Mexico invests have the best return possible for the people of New Mexico.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. 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.