Q&A: Senate District 17 Shannon Robinson

  • NAME: Shannon Robinson
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Attorney at Law
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: State Senator for District 17
  • EDUCATION: Graduated from University of New Mexico BA in Philosophy and
  • Journalism in 1971; Received Juris Doctor from University of New Mexico in 1974
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.facebook.com/robinsondistrict17
  • www.twitter.com/srobinsondist17

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?

Establish the Green New Deal at every opportunity in statute. People are really hurting emotionally, culturally, and financially. Bail out small businesses, tourism, hospitals, universities, students, and the unemployed. Help every type of business through the Venture Capital Fund, which I increased by $600,000,000 while I was a senator.

2. 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?

Stop the war on Charter Schools. Every child deserves an equal chance for equal financial support. Poverty equals educational inequality. Bring back the density factor that brought (a lot of money) to Albuquerque schools. Indian Tribes deserve full credit for federal subsidies. Private and Catholic Schools deserve shares of our state’s capital outlay.

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

Remove the profiteering through state granted exemptions. Eliminate the food tax. Cut gross receipts taxes back to 2% and get or economy going. Make the Schools Supplies Tax Holiday year round. Don’t tax Social Security. Limit cities and counties from taxing our people more than the state’s tax.

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

I sponsored the Medical Marijuana Bill by myself for years before it became popular. Carrying the bill accelerated an educational process toward acceptance. Remove profiteers from the marijuana industry so that the sale price becomes affordable to everybody. We’ve learned now that recreational marijuana can be legal and safe.

5. 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. The Land Grant Permanent Fund is also called The Rainy Day Fund. It is now pouring rain on our developing children. New Mexico is like Scrooge McDuck with a vault full of money while his ducklings go without. We will actually save money by cutting poverty’s costs.

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

I strongly oppose. Open primaries are a Texas law and look what’s happening there. I do not favor cross over elections. Absentee ballots and a voter’s application for an Absentee Ballot must be prepaid postage free.

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

We will repeal the anti-abortion law. New Mexico must become a haven for women who seek justice to choose their reproductive rights. Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Midwestern states are making this medical procedure a crime. We will have to create an underground railroad to help women flee this tyranny.

8. 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?

Yes to both. Senate District 17 hasn’t had any major capital projects in fifteen years. I used our citizens’ tax dollars to develop The Veterans’ Memorial, Zia and Highlands Little Leagues, soccer fields at our MidSchools, Phil Chacon Park, and weight rooms at Highland and Manzano, New Day Adolescent Center.

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

It is important to remove the influence of money from politics. I have refused all donations from corporations, lobbyists, unions, and political bigwigs. My quest for election demonstrates especially to young people that you don’t need to sell your vote for big money just to run for office.

10. 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?

I increased the Venture Capital Fund by $600,000,000 to start new manufacturing businesses. It can be used to purchase art as an investment to become again a top five art center in the country. I sponsored the film finance legislation that restarted the film industry to compete with Hollywood.

11. 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?

Yes, I will work to change the prohibition against the assisted suicide law to allow physician assisted suicide and aide-in-dying under prescribed 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?

Yes, I absolutely oppose fracking. The Green New Deal is now a necessary idea. Our planet Earth has an imminent expiration date. New Mexico has to withdraw from oil and gas dependency. Necessary carbon reductions won’t be accomplished voluntarily. Solar, wind, and geothermal energy can power our electrical needs.

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

The city can start by telling the truth about crime statistics. The city should not lie to our citizens that crime has dropped by 30%! We are surrounded by gunfire almost every night. Our cars are being stolen and houses and businesses burglarized. We need a statewide plan.

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

Behind closed doors the money flows. Make government take place in the open. When senators can operate a hundred thousand dollar slush fund for Democratic senators, they are selling votes on the Senate Floor. A senator shouldn’t beg and sell their votes to receive $33,000 for their own reelection.

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?

Yes I have had tax liens.

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No bankruptcy.

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.

My arrest record has been recorded and reported by the Albuquerque Journal previously and accurately. Since 2016 I haven’t had a ticket or arrest. In 1972 I was convicted of first-offense DWI. In 1984 I was arrested for DWI and the charge was dismissed and I was found guilty of careless driving. There are no felony arrests.