Q&A: Senate District 9 John Stahlman Clark

  • NAME: John Stahlman Clark
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Owner-operator, JC Blinds
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Business owner-operator 26 years, corporate executive nine years
  • EDUCATION: BA, political science from the University of Northern Colorado
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Johnclark4nm.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?

In light of the falling oil prices and economic downturn due to COVID-19, it is imperative to restructure the budget, make cuts where necessary and reduce the rate of increases to ensure a balanced budget without raising taxes. We can’t jumpstart our economy by raising taxes.

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

Work together to find more effective ways to channel money to students and teachers, and less to school bureaucracy. School district overhead is out of control and we need to get more dollars to the classroom.

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

Stop taxing labor. We need to attract new businesses to our state, and the regressive labor tax inhibits us from competing with surrounding states and bringing in new businesses and jobs.

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

I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana; I support medical marijuana.

5. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, pre-kindergarten, 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?

I do not support a constitutional amendment that would withdraw funds from the land grant permanent fund to increase funding for early childhood services. I do support increasing early childhood services, but those funds need to come out of the baseline budget.

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

I do not support opening the states primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party. Allowing this to happen would only open up the elections to more shenanigans. It would allow excessive influence by non-party voters to determine a specific party candidate.

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

I do not support the repealing of the 1969 state law. I am pro-life.

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?

I would look at supporting a merit-based evaluation system, but not knowing the details of such an evaluation criterium I would decline at this time. Yes, transparency is the key to good government and I would support any legislation that lessens corruption. All legislators should disclose which projects they are funding.

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

Yes, I would support legislation requiring lobbyists to disclose which bills they are supporting. Again, lets shed light on this issue and lessen government corruption.

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 need to attract more businesses to NM to make our state less dependent on oil and gas. I would work with the state and local economic development departments, to make sure they have the necessary tools to attract new business. This would include tax incentive and investment.

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?

I do not support this bill at this time. The bill as written doesn’t have proper safeguards to protect life.

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?

No, I would not support a moratorium on fracking or impose additional renewable energy mandates. We all want clean air and water and we must strive to keep our state competitive with other surrounding states by not overregulating.

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

In order to improve public safety and mitigate crime, I would support increasing funding to local governments so that they can build up their police departments and place more boots on the ground in many communities combating crime, and eliminate sanctuary cities. I would also look at changing laws to make them tougher on the criminal and bring back the death penalty.

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

No, I support open and transparent government.

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?

I am a business owner, and I have never been subject to any state or federal liens.

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

I have never filed for bankruptcy.

3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunk driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state?

I have never been charged or convicted of any misdemeanors or felonies in New Mexico or any other state in the United States of America.