Q&A: House District 45 Lisa Martinez

  • NAME: Lisa Dawn Martinez
  • OCCUPATION: Designer and Contractor, former State and City Agency and Department Director
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Former State of New Mexico Construction Industries
  • Division Director 2003-2010; Former Chief Building Official City of Rio Rancho 2018-2019; Former City of Santa Fe Director of Planning and Land Use Department (2014-2018); IT Department Director (2013-2014),   Recreation   Division   Director   (2012-2013).
  • EDUCATION: University of New Mexico (B.A. in Architecture 1987); University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning (M.A. in Architecture 1990).
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: https://lisamartinez2020.com/

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’re in a health and economic emergency. Our Land Grant Permanent Fund exists for such emergencies, and is well-funded for at least the next two years. We can then revisit the budget depending on revenues, as I fear higher taxes and drastic spending cuts now could exacerbate the economic crisis.

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?

I’m tired of NM’s humiliating low ranks in education. Our children and their schools are NM’s most important investment. Our school district long-championed the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit. We must include the school boards’, teachers’, and superintendents’ voices in our decision-making. Legislators must follow their lead. Special Education funding is also critical.

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

GRT is the life-blood of funding our municipalities. As a former Director of Santa Fe city agencies, I know how critical GRT is to fund roads, infrastructure and economic investment. GRT distribution is a significant challenge, and must be addressed as soon as possible.

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

Yes, I support this. We must look to other states, like Colorado, and learn from their implementation, and regulate it as carefully and safely as possible, working closely with health and public safety experts and officials. Tax revenues could help fund health care needs, early childhood programs, and education.

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?

If the amendment is necessary, I’m open to it, especially in the current economy. Studies have long indicated that early investments and interventions in childhood can make huge differences. I’ve seen this first-hand. My sister was in Head Start in a poor, rural NM community. Today she’s a successful attorney.

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

I am open to unaffiliated voters participating in primary elections, in one party of their choice per election cycle. I believe this could improve candidate quality and selection, and increase voter participation. Registered party members, however, should remain eligible to participate only in the party indicated on their voter registration.

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

I support repeal of this law. This is a health care issue first and foremost, and these procedures should be safe and available to women. Women’s reproductive choices are a fundamental right. I trust NM’s women to make the best decisions for their own lives in consultation with their doctors.

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?

Throughout this questionnaire I have supported transparency in government. I have not seen a detailed proposal as to how this would work if implemented, but I am very open to putting more sunshine on state funding decisions, and would be supportive of measures doing so.

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

I support transparency in public-decision making and always have. This is a sensible reform and I support it.

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 diversify to protect our economic stability and increase our environmental stewardship. NM has outstanding opportunities to expand our solar and wind energy natural resources, which will create energy, jobs, and revenue for our state, while fighting the existential threat of global warming.

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 support changing this law. NM should study other states that have responsibly implemented these kinds of medically-appropriate, end-of-life decision-making laws, and adopt best practices in consultation with physicians and other medical experts.

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 implementing rigorous fracking regulatory initiatives, including protecting ecologically-sensitive lands and water supplies from these activities, banning certain chemicals, and requiring mitigation. We must incentivize and grow our renewables portfolio, especially wind and solar. As a former agency director, I’ve developed energy efficiency regulations and can get this done.

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

Sadly, NM is a ‘leader’ in property and violent crime. We must balance criminal justice reform needs with public safety, including rehabilitation and mental health services for minor drug offenses, while focusing on repeat and/or violent offenders. I’ll focus on opioid abuse, and human trafficking, which harms many vulnerable women.

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

I strongly support as much sunshine as possible in the legislative process, as it encourages more public confidence and engagement. If elected, I’ll push my Leadership on this issue. I’ve been around the Roundhouse long enough to know that more transparency is needed if we are to improve NM.

Personal background

Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?


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


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