NM House District 31 candidate Bill Rehm - Albuquerque Journal

NM House District 31 candidate Bill Rehm

  • NAME: William “Bill” R. Rehm
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: N.M. State Representative since 2006; Private investigator, Traffic Crash Reconstructionist, and Police course instructor – 1994 to present; Retired Captain Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department 2000.
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: FBI National Academy graduate – December 1995; Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department awarded – the Julian Narvaez Memorial Award and “Sheriff Officer of the Quarter”; The Albuquerque Police Department awarded a “Metal of Meritorious Service”; New Mexico House of Representative since 2006, current certified Law Enforcement Instructor; current Reserve Police Officer (volunteer) Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department and NM Mounted Patrol; past AYSO Soccer Board Member, AYSO coach and coach instructor, AYSO referee and referee instructor; past Criminal Justice Instructor TVI (CNM).
  • EDUCATION: FBI National Academy graduate 1995; University of Albuquerque – Bachelor’s 1975; Highland High School – 1968.

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

Crime – court catch and release of felons. Make state safe by holding felons; swift sentence to prison, or court diversion. Economy – Nationally, New Mexico is No. 3 in oil production. Oil and gas comprise over 45% of the state budget with another $850 million in school funding. Encourage oil and gas production.

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

Past legislative session I proposed increasing the penalty for felons possessing firearms. And those using a firearm in the commission of a crime. And 3-strikes legislation to give life sentence to criminals who injured or kill three different times. We must increase mental health reporting to NICS – preventing gun purchase.

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

Second chance is for the first time offender. Repeat offender should be vigorous prosecution including jail. We must stop the court continuances that allow defense attorneys to game the system and cause DWI’s to be dismissed. Many DWI drivers are drugged driving. Again, I will introduce legislation to prohibit this.

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 ?

Oppose! This will deplete the corpus of the fund. Future – this will cause us to distribute less to the schools than today. The increase will not only go to early childhood but all 29 recipients of the fund. Recently the State budget has more than doubled for early childhood funding.

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

Oppose. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper just stated (CNN) he is receptive to repealing the law because of the unintended consequences. Increased drugged driving, truancy, emergency room visits, trafficking marijuana to other states (Colorado sued by Kansas over this), etc., see HIDTA report. The increase in revenue is not worth the unintended consequences.

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

Oppose. This will increase the universe of persons a candidate must mail. This will increase the cost of each primary election and is overly burdensome. Open primary will not preserve the purity and of the election and could lead to abuses. Already there is too much money in political races.

D o you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7.50 per hour? If so, by how much ?

Oppose. $7.50 is too low. The national minimum wage must be increased. Increasing New Mexico’s minimum wage will make the state less business competitive to other states. There are fewer employees in Santa Fe since the wage was increased and many businesses moved to the county to avoid paying higher wages.

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

Support. Employees in normal business environment are evaluated on their production. In education it is student success. For the teachers union to demand they will write the criteria for teacher evaluations is unreasonable. No one writes the criteria for their work performance. PED changes have increased graduation and student 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

Support. We must reward good employees. We want as many nationally recognized teachers as possible. So we should encourage thinking outside the box. Teacher unions have taken a socialist attitude by stating no teacher can be paid more than another teacher. Unions should encourage higher pay for any member.

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

Yes! In the mid-2000s recession, the Legislature warned higher education their yearly tuition increases would deplete the lottery scholarship. Higher Ed continued raising tuition forcing the legislature to look for other monies. We need fewer higher education satellite locations in the same town and we need higher student success.

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

Gambling is not a predictable fund. The Legislature should divide the money equally for each student and negotiate a deal with higher education institutions that this amount will cover ALL tuition and fees for each student. Higher education must tighten their belt. Look at UNM athletics as a reason why.

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 ?

Support. This is a free country. No one should be required to join or pay a fee to anyone to work. This is the same as imposing a work tax. If you want to join the union, it is your choice. Right to Work States enjoy a better economy.

Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state ?

Oppose! We are a country of federal, state, and local laws. Every country enforces their borders. Why not us ? We should enforce law. Many immigrants come to this country with their hand out, not looking for a helping hand draining our countries resources when workers are paying for the nonworking.

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

Clearly complaints could be filed during the election cycle to politically discredit a candidate. These complaints should be investigated quickly. When the complaint has been determined as “founded” or “unjustified” it should be immediately released. Other findings should not be released prior to the election – they could discredit a candidate.

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

Incident reports immediately. Videos released when the completed case is forwarded to the DA’s Office for review. Early release could jeopardize investigation. Early release could generate witnesses or change a witness story based on their video observation. Witness try to fill in blanks of what they did or didn’t see.

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. We subsidize each round trip fare by about $49 per person. It would be cheaper for the state to purchase each current rider a Prius. Have you ever owned a lemon car and just said I must sell it even though I will lose money ? We are there.

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

Support. (Federal law prevents states from imposing interstate taxes.) New Mexico collects the state portion of internet sales from companies within New Mexico but not the local sales taxes. The state and local jurisdictions are losing tax revenue. Many businesses are closing because internet sales are a lower price without sales 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 ?

New Mexico tax law is truly Swiss cheese. We must level the playing field. Those with tax exemptions and deductions continue to oppose this legislation. We should encourage new business with a tax deduction but sunset those deductions soon after the business has established itself. This would build New Mexico.

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 ?

Federally the law must be expanded to prevent the mentally ill from purchasing firearms. (Currently New Mexico reports the maximum allowed.) Next session I will introduce legislation to give a bonus to retired police officers who return to work as a school safety officer. School threats must be reported to police.

Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens ?

When I learned my prior business partner caused a $147. 00 state business tax lien (1997). The lien was immediately paid (1997) and that person was dismissed from my company.

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.


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