Q&A: Senate District 20 Martin Hickey

  • NAME: Dr. Martin Hickey
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Retired physician; chairman of the board, True Health New Mexico
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Founding CEO, New Mexico Health Connections and True Health New Mexico; former CEO and chief medical officer, Lovelace Health Systems; associate professor of medicine, medical director of the faculty practice, administrator for managed care services, rural health director, UNM Medical Center; internist and director of rural health, Albuquerque Veterans Administration; internist, medical director, diabetes coordinator, Indian Health Services, Navajo Nation; board of directors, beWell, State Based Exchange; board of directors, New Mexico Medical Insurance Board (high-risk pool); board of directors, United Way Campaign; former chair, New Mexico Hospital Association
  • EDUCATION: Masters of Science in Preventive and Administrative Medicine, University of Wisconsin; primary care internal medicine residency, University of Rochester; D., Rush Medical College; A., Social and Behavioral Health, Johns Hopkins University
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: https://www.martinhickeyforsd20.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?

We must diversify the state’s revenue by bringing more fairness to the tax code and doubling down on economic development and investment that takes advantage of New Mexico’s strengths: outdoor recreation, wind and solar power, retirement, tech entrepreneurism, hemp and cannabis.

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?

Early education, K-12, and higher education must be fully funded. Teachers should be compensated at the national average of $60,000, and they should have access to aggressive, proactive training. The most significant factor in a student’s success is the quality of her teacher. Outdated administrative costs should be eliminated.

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

It’s a mess with inconsistent judicial interpretation and application. The current code costs New Mexico small businesses lost revenue compared to out-of-state businesses, which then costs the state a stronger tax base. The current code discourages entrepreneurship as well.

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

Support, both for its economic and criminal justice impact. As a physician, I know the war on drugs has been an abject failure, and those who use will continue to use. Let’s keep low-level users out of the prison system so the law enforcement can focus on violent criminals.

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?

Support. As in health care, study after study shows that investing in early childhood is critical for long-term success. Eighty percent of 3-4 year-olds should be enrolled in high-quality, full-day Pre-K. Health costs will decrease, education and incomes will increase. The spiral will go up instead of down.

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

Support. As party affiliation decreases, more and more voters are disenfranchised from the primary election process.

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

Support. We must repeal this unjust law immediately.

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?

Support. A merit-based system for capital outlay and full disclosure of projects funded will use state dollars most efficiently toward real community needs.

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

Support. Full transparency is always beneficial to the deliberative process of democracy.

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?

We must bring more fairness to the current tax code, which will increase revenue to the state budget. We should also stimulate new industries and businesses that New Mexico is ideal for, which will result in better paying jobs and substantially attract and generate entrepreneurial start-ups.

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?

Strongly support. These decisions should be made by individuals; their families and loved ones; and if desired, in consultation with hospice and medical professionals.

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?

We must stop climate change. But a fracking moratorium would cause a billion dollar blow to public schools and enormous job loss. A better approach is the Energy Transition Act, which achieves nation-leading renewable energy goals while providing economic transition funding to communities dependent on fossil fuels.

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

We must attack the root causes: poverty, lack of behavioral health and substance abuse support, poor access to health care and limited education. Addressing these will help reduce low level and nonviolent criminal activity. For repeat offenders and violent criminals, we need to look at serious, more punitive measures.

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

Oppose. Especially in this time of potential budget cuts. We have to balance the 2021 budget, difficult as that is.  All should have the opportunity to hear the debates, and provide comment and insight when allowed.

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.