Q&A: House District 39 candidate Rudy Martinez
- NAME: Rodolpho “Rudy” S. Martinez
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Retired
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Silver City
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Have served nine year as New Mexico state representative at the end of this term. I have also served as a local government elected official for 16 years: Chairman of the Grant County Commission, eight years as mayor of the City of Bayard and eight years City of Bayard Council member.
- EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts from Western New Mexico Univerity; graduate of Cobre High School
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: rudymartineznm.com
What are the top two things you would do to improve the economy in New Mexico?
Invest in our educational system to create a trained workforce, which will attract new businesses to the state. Expand the primary care residency programs across New Mexico. Health care is one of the fastest growing job creators, not only in our state but across the nation.
What are the top two things you would propose to address the state’s high crime rate?
1) Provide additional funding for law enforcement agencies to expand training for their officers and provide up-to-date equipment, particularly in rural communities. 2) Education has a positive impact on children, which reduces the likelihood of being involved in criminal activity. Quality education is a critical public safety investment.
New Mexico now spends about $300 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 a constitutional amendment to invest more money from the LGPF into early childhood education. An increase in funding for early childhood services has been proven to have positive outcomes when students are provided learning opportunities at an early age. This is an investment in our future.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I support legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales. As we have seen in states that have legalized recreational use, it has led to an increase in state revenues that can be used to support education and treatment programs.
Do you support or oppose raising New Mexico’s minimum wage, currently $7.50 per hour? If so, by how much?
I support raising New Mexico’s minimum wage. I would support an increase to between $10.50 and $15.00 per hour. Those communities that have raised the minimum wage have seen a more stable workforce. Employees now have a better quality of life for themselves and their families.
What steps would you propose taking to ensure the future solvency of New Mexico’s two public retirement systems? Would you support making state workers and teachers pay more into the pension funds?
I would propose that New Mexico meet its obligation and provide enough funding to keep the pension funds solvent. State employees and teachers are currently paying their fair contribution into the pension fund. I do not support requiring them to pay more.
Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
I support opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party. These voters are taxpayers and residents of New Mexico and should be able to exercise their right to vote in any election.
Do you support or oppose appealing a state judge’s recent decision that said New Mexico has fallen short of meeting its constitutional requirement to provide a sufficient education to all students? And what percentage of the state budget, in your opinion, should go toward K-12 public schools?
I oppose the appeal. Currently, about 44 percent of the state’s budget goes to the Public Education Department (PED). PED must hold school districts accountable for how local budgets are being spent, and must not allow any federal funds to revert.
Do you support or oppose the current policy of including student test scores as part of teacher evaluations? If you support the policy, what percentage of the evaluation should the test scores account for? If you do not support using test scores, what should the teacher evaluations be based on?
I do not support the current policy of including student test scores as part of the teacher evaluations. Teacher evaluations should be based on teacher performance, not on unfair outcomes influenced by unrelated factors, like poverty, adverse childhood experiences, etc.
Do you support or oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide in order to allow aid-in-dying under certain medical circumstances?
I oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide.
How should the state’s lottery scholarship program be kept solvent into the future?
The state lottery should increase the number of prize winners in order to attract better player participation. The more participation, the more revenue for the scholarship lottery. This will ensure student opportunity to attend higher education programs.
Do you favor making New Mexico a sanctuary state?
Yes. Local law enforcement doesn’t have the resources to enforce federal immigration law, and such efforts undermine local trust in their community police. If immigrants are scared, they won’t report crimes, which hinders effective prosecution.
Do you believe the initial police incident reports and videos of arrests and crime scenes should be public?
Typically, police incident reports appear in local newspaper blotters. Videos of certain arrests and crime scenes are shown over television news channels. Lapel videos are a valuable tool for public transparency, but certain crime scenes should not be made public until all evidence is collected.
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 am in favor of eliminating certain GRT exemptions and deductions, including those that haven’t been used recently or have become obsolete. But I also support a more comprehensive analysis of which tax exemptions and deductions are achieving their goals, and which are just unnecessary giveaways.
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 changing New Mexico gun laws, such as requiring background checks to ensure that those who don’t meet the required standards are not allowed to purchase guns. We must also provide a better system of behavioral health availability for those who need such services.
In light of recent cuts, would you support or oppose increasing funding for the University of New Mexico athletics program, even if that meant possibly reducing funding for other institutions?
I will not support increasing funding for the University of New Mexico athletics program when it requires reduced funding for other institutions.
Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
No. In the spirit of full disclosure, however, the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (NMTRD) is currently remedying a mistake it made with filings from a consulting company that I closed in 2014. I have provided NMTRD with proof of full payment and the error in the record should be fixed soon.
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.