Q&A: House District 70 Anita Gonzales

  • NAME: Anita Gonzales
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Statewide Program Coordinator, NM MESA
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Las Vegas
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Career STEM Educator that has worked with students, agencies, school districts, higher education institutions and industry partners across the state.
  • EDUCATION: New Mexico Highlands University-MBA, Concentration in Sports Administration; New Mexico Highlands University-BA, Human Performance & Sport-Leisure Services; Texas A&M University-College of Agriculture: RPTS
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.anita4newmexico.com

  1. What steps should the Legislature take to ensure New Mexico has a balanced budget amid falling oil prices and an economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak?

To increase our revenue and balance our budget without serious budget cuts, we need to prioritize investing in other industries in order to see an improved diversification in revenues.  Long term, we need to create a workforce through education that is attractive to business and prioritize tax reform.

  1. What more, if anything, should the Legislature do to address a court ruling that found New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students?

Investment in education should always remain a priority.  This includes support of the Early Childhood Trust Fund and continuing to work towards access and equity in education. As evidence with the current pandemic, further strides need to be made to ensure equitable infrastructure and access to resources and technology.

  1. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?

By closing loopholes and exemption, we can work towards favoring small businesses, eliminating tax pyramiding, and creating a simpler and more transparent system.  It is important to have a progressive system that ensures a climb in the higher income brackets and not in our middle and lower income tax brackets.

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

I support legalizing recreational marijuana and believe it can greatly benefit our state’s need for revenue diversification. Other policies will have to be made in tandem if legalization occurs, but I think it will be a beneficial change.

  1. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and child care assistance, and created a new early childhood trust fund. 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?

Yes, I support the recently created Early Childhood Trust Fund and consider it a funding priority.  It is a monumental step to ensuring that our youth are cared for starting with prenatal attention.

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

I would support a system where unaffiliated voters would be able to select a party primary to vote in.  This would eliminate voters in one party from affecting another party’s nomination, but would allow a voice in a primary election for all voters.

  1. Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?

I support getting rid of this ban as a strong majority of New Mexicans believe abortion must remain safe and legal, regardless of their own moral views on abortion. A decision about abortion is personal.  This healthcare decision needs to remain between a woman and her health care provider.

  1. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding? Should each legislator be required to disclose which projects he or she funded?

I support transparency in capital outlay as taxpayers deserve information on how and why their money is spent.  My hesitation with a merit based system is “merit” can be subjective and I think it is important for each district to have equal representation in capital outlay funding.

  1. Do you support or oppose requiring lobbyists to disclose which bills they advocate for or against?

Support. Many people around the state are not able to go to the Legislative session, so the more transparency in the process we can provide, the better.

  1. New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What are the things you would do to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?

Diversification is critical.  I think we need to invest in other areas of industry that have immediate potential for grown such as alternative energy, agriculture, tourism, marijuana legalization, aerospace and defense, distribution and transportation, manufacturing, digital media and film, and federal government support.

  1. 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 believe it is a very personal decision, and one the government should not be involved in, in most cases. I support humane end of life options for adults under certain medical conditions.

12: Would you support or oppose a moratorium on fracking? And should the state impose additional renewable energy mandates as a way to address climate change concerns?

This is a challenge because of our revenue dependence.  I do not support additional fracking without additional investigation into the long term effects of the proposed area. I think we should continue to strive and work with all of our industry leaders for progressive reforms to address climate change.

  1. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?

They should be in support of public safety and law-enforcement while being an advocate for criminal justice reform.  Funding is needed to support officers and training. Reform needs to consider the impacts of mass incarceration and acknowledge the role that behavioral health and substance abuse programs have in crime prevention.

  1. Do you support or oppose the practice of legislative budget-writing committees holding closed-door meetings during the crafting of state spending bills?

I understand that crafting may be more effective with less input, but transparency is critical in restoring trust among public officials and working towards the common good of our citizens.

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? No
  2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding? No
  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. No
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