Q&A: House District 27 Marian Matthews

  • NAME: Marian Matthews
  • OCCUPATION: Retired
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Current State Representative HD27; Retired lawyer, child advocate, criminal prosecutor, educator, entrepreneur, deputy attorney general to then AG Tom Udall
  • EDUCATION: BA Political Science, Missouri State University; JD University of New Mexico
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: marianmatthewsforhd27.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?

Everything must be on the table: revenues, expenditures, federal funds, permanent funds, while protecting priorities, like health care, education, job development; Focus on economy recovery, rebuilding local small businesses, closing holes in the safety net.

  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?

The legislature enacted substantial funding increases for public education, including culturally relevant instructional materials and new teacher mentorship, both addressing the court ruling. Economic fallout from the pandemic will impact more funding, but did jumpstart more and better use of technology. We must still seek improved outcomes for our kids.

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

The code is too complex, with rates adversely impacting lower-income people and business. The original idea: tax everything but at a low rate is now a patchwork of deductions, exemptions, and high rates. We need an overall overhaul to achieve structural change and good tax policy.

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

Legalization must protect children from possession, address situations like driving under the influence, and tax-structure must discourage a black market. I don’t support destroying lives by criminally prosecuting recreational marijuana, but, as with alcohol, there must be rules, including ensuring those who depend on medical marijuana are part of the discussion.

  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 the people’s right to vote on this important question. I would vote in favor of such an amendment with appropriate safeguards, criteria, and controls to assure responsible management and decision-making. Adequate and guaranteed funding for our children’s future is essential for them and for our society.

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

While I support better voter turnout in all our elections, I am concerned open primaries may increase the role of money in campaigns.

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

I support. The 1969 statute empowers two members of the hospital medical staff to decide whether a woman is entitled to an abortion, effectively muting the woman’s voice, turning this very personal decision over to strangers, and at odds with the majority of New Mexicans who support safe and legal abortion.

  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?

Yes and yes. Most capital outlay should be determined by a nonpartisan body that identifies critical statewide and/or regional infrastructure needs. Most capital outlay should serve to meet those needs and by doing so provide the infrastructure needed for economic development and vitality. The current system fosters silo-thinking.

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

While I strongly support transparency, this “disclosure” might be more confusing than helpful. Bills are modified throughout the legislative process, often causing the positions of lobbyists (and legislators) to change. Would lobbyists have to continually update their disclosures?

  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?

Actually plan for diversification; reform the capital outlay process to provide critical infrastructure and economic development; through a public/private partnership, identify areas of opportunity and how to develop them; reduce silo-thinking with regional approaches; expand rural opportunities: LEDA funding, rural development hubs; charge the same severance rates as Texas

  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?

Yes with appropriate protections.

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?

I support a moratorium on drilling horizontal fracking wells near Rio Rancho in the Albuquerque basin which has highly fractured geology that creates a high risk of groundwater contamination. I would like to see state buildings powered by alternative energy sources and use water catchment systems.

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

Protect our first responders with adequate services/treatment, such as the PTSD bill I sponsored this year. Entire criminal justice system needs better resources including police, DA, public defenders, judges, anti-recidivism programs, probation/parole, gun-safety policies, and behavioral health services. We can protect society, while also helping those who need it.

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

Oppose unless required for recognized open meeting exceptions such as discussion of pending litigation.

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