NM House District 40 candidate Joseph Sanchez

  • Name: Joseph Louis Sanchez
  • Political Party: Democrat
  • Occupation: Electrical Engineer
  • City of Residence: Alcalde
  • Relevant Experience: I bring over 15 years of executive management and technical experience in the energy sector and in the construction and operation of nuclear facilities for waste and research operations. My professional work includes: engineering manager, Engineering Services Division at LANL; electrical engineer in support of LANL construction and operation programs; CEO of Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative, Inc. (JMEC). I have represented JMEC in state and local initiatives with other power providers for provision of power service under jurisdiction of the state Public Regulation Commission. I have been responsible for all aspects of the operation of JMEC, including but not limited to business services, member services, engineering services and line operations. I am a registered professional engineer in New Mexico.
  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico and two master’s degrees, one in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico and one in Business Administration, from New Mexico State University.
  • Campaign Website: josephsanchezfornm.com

Issue questions:
1. What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico?

Support the Office of the State Engineer/Interstate Stream Commission effort to help the 16 Regional Water Planning regions update their water plans. Without adequate water infrastructure, NM can’t address the many other water needs. We need to expand broadband infrastructure to rural areas for both education purposes and economic development.

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

Prioritize funding for important public safety initiatives to improve safety and security, particularly in prevention, treatment and enforcement to end the drug cycle of the heroin and opioid issue, a massive driver for crime. We must ensure we take measures, like appropriate compensation, to attract law enforcement officers.

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

Unfortunately, we haven’t had the resources, staff, training or logistical support to effectively prosecute these cases. I’m concerned about the high percentage of DWI cases that get dismissed. The DWI problem is repeat offenders. We need to improve prevention and treatment. Need to investigate other approaches

4. 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?

Quality Pre-K is one of the best investments we can make in our future by increasing distributions from our Permanent School Fund – a sensible investment to help the economy now and ensure every child has the best opportunity. This investment should include a safeguard to ensure the viability of the fund.

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

I fully support medical use and am open to supporting recreational marijuana if the pros outweigh the cons. We can look at other states with similar demographics and their impact with recreational marijuana.

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

They have a constitutional right to vote. Unaffiliated voters are a large voting bloc, however should pick one primary to vote in—they can’t vote in both. For transparency purposes the primary they choose should become public information, to bring more clarity to the voting patterns of these non-party people.

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

I support a raise for the minimum wage in New Mexico. The number determined should not have a negative impact on our small businesses. Basic economics tells us when money moves, the economy moves.

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

The evaluation system is too flawed to be the basis of compensation. While there is no doubt an element of unfairness to the bonuses in that not every teacher – for various reasons – is rated as exemplary, it’s the evaluation system we’ve got to work on.

9. 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?

Every classroom should have a well-educated, professional teacher, and our school systems should recruit, prepare, and retain qualified teachers. They should be compensated adequately. The concept of merit pay could lead to subjective forms of evaluating teachers. I know over-testing, lack of funding, crowded classrooms and unfair evaluations strain students and teachers.

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

Smaller schools give the individual boards independence to respond to their community’s specific needs and are important to their communities. A need to call for a review of the state’s higher education system could improve possibly by looking into partnership among institutions.

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

I support enacting reforms to generate more revenue by using money from other state funds, but it will require a good deal of political coordination.

12. 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.

13. Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state?


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

I would support the creation of a state ethics commission that publicly releases complaints and holds open hearings if there were adequate processes in place to prevent abuses.

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

Claiming the incident report is part of an investigation shuts the public out of basic information and unless noticed and challenged can contribute to a culture of unnecessary police privacy.

16. 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 currently support the continued operation, but down the road we need to look at the financial impact to our state’s budget.

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


18. 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?

I would reform the gross receipts tax to encourage business growth and expansion.

19. What would you support to make New Mexico schools safer? Would that include changing New Mexico’ gun laws? If so, what specific changes to the gun laws would you support?

We need to give schools the resources to identify red flags that may not easily be identified with students that have potential issues. Also limit gun access for people with permanent protective orders from domestic violence incidents.

Personal Background
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.

I failed to appear in connection with a citation for failing to wear a seat belt. I was subsequently charged with failing to appear. After appearing on this charge, the matter was resolved, and charges dismissed.