Q&A: Senate District 30 Pamela Cordova

  • NAME: Pamela Cordova
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democrat
  • OCCUPATION: Retired Educator
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Rio Communities, New Mexico
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Twenty-five years as a high school teacher, teaching English and special education; two terms as the president of the New Mexico Federation of Democratic Women.
  • EDUCATION: B.A., English, Eastern New Mexico University; Master’s, Organizational Management, University of Phoenix
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: pamcordovaforsenate.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 increase revenue, including from capital gains and from those with the highest incomes, and ensure that budget cuts don’t shortchange future economic development, education, or our public health. We may also need to defer non-critical capital projects.

  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?

School funding as part of the state budget shrunk during the Martinez Administration from 50% to around 43%—so it’s no wonder underfunded schools underperform. We need to raise more revenue for education through a more equitable tax system, starting by repealing the 2013 corporate tax give-away.

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

Changes should never include bringing back the food tax or the tax on medicine. I support comprehensive reform that would close loopholes, and a tax expenditure budget law to evaluate all the tax exemptions to the GRT.

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

I support legalizing recreational marijuana, with strong regulation and taxation. I believe our limited law enforcement resources can be better spent addressing more serious criminal behavior. New Mexico will benefit from the millions of dollars in tax revenue to our general fund at a time we most need it.

  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?

I support an amendment to draw an additional 1% per year from the Land Grant Permanent Fund, to fund early childhood education. Studies show a high public return in early investments in childhood programs including a more educated workforce, less crime, and a stronger economy.

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

Open primaries tend to increase voter participation which is something I support.

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

I support the repeal of our 1969 abortion ban because women should be trusted to make their own healthcare decisions—not politicians.

  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 a capital outlay system that prioritizes projects that are the most essential, and where local financial resources are most scarce. Contrary to Sen. Sanchez, who has voted to hide how he’s spending millions in taxpayer money, I support requiring legislators to disclose this information.

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

Support.  I believe industry lobbyists wield too much influence and power in Santa Fe over elected leaders who should work in the public interest.  Already, there’s almost one oil and gas lobbyist (90) for every legislator (112).

  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?

Our state government should provide more support for small businesses that contribute to economic innovation and that provide well paying and lasting jobs. I also believe our state investment funds should support emerging New Mexico-based businesses in growing sectors like food and hemp production, tourism, film, and healthcare.

  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 these are difficult and personal decisions between individuals, their families and doctors that should be free from government interference.

  1. 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?

I support our state’s transition towards renewable energy and recent efforts to regulate emissions from natural gas wells, which protect public health and conserve finite and valuable resources. Fracking methods should be regulated, and chemical additives be disclosed and tested for their health effects in order to preserve public safety.

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

We must ensure that behavioral health services and drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation are available to every New Mexican regardless of income or geography. We also need to assist local law enforcement in targeting repeat, violent offenders that account for the majority of violent crime.

  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 believe that all of our legislative committees should conduct their meetings in public, and make committee agendas, minutes, and actions a matter of public record.

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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