Q&A: House District 40 Roger Montoya

  • NAME: Roger Montoya
  • OCCUPATION: Consultant, Moving Arts Española and Rio Arriba County
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Co-Founder of Moving Arts Española (2008); Co-Founder of Española Pathways Shelter (2019); Co-Founder of La Tierra Montessori School of the Arts and Sciences (2011); Founded ‘Arts in the Schools’ program for the Española Public Schools (2002)
  • EDUCATION: Long Beach City College, AA; attended California State Long Beach
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: https://rogermontoyafornm.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 look at strategies to include tax reform, emergency loans for small businesses and workers, and closing corporate loopholes. We must continue investments to support: small businesses, renewable energy infrastructure, the cannabis industry, food production, and the film industry. We cannot afford deeper cuts to healthcare and education.

  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? 

As a legislator, I will work to increase funding for education from pre-k to post-secondary education for all students, including tribal and low-income communities, where the need is greater. Specifically, we need our schools to provide intensive trauma-informed and early childhood development programs.

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

New Mexico’s regressive tax system puts a higher tax burden on low-income families. Closing corporate loopholes in the GRT tax system is important. I do not support reinstating the food and medicine tax.

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

Yes, I support the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana—and it makes sense to do so now, especially when we could use the additional revenue for the state.

  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? 

Support. New Mexico has a long way to go to meet the educational needs in our state. Quality early childhood education is a good investment in New Mexico’s future.

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

I support legislation that increases voter participation.

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

I do not believe politicians should interfere with a woman’s personal healthcare decision, and it’s time we repeal this antiquated state law.

  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, the public should have full access to how their money is spent.

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

I support transparency in government.

  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? 

We should build on our economic strengths in renewable energy, water sustainability, value-added agriculture, smart grid technology and rural health and medical sciences. We need to build support for our local, small businesses.

  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? 

Support. These are deeply difficult and personal healthcare decisions that should not be determined through government interference.

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 believe we must transition to renewable energy as quickly as possible to address climate change. The 2019 Energy Transition Act is a good framework for helping us reach our renewable energy goals.

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

I support expanding successful jail diversion programs, like the Rio Arriba Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program that prioritize treatment over incarceration for low-level drug users. There’s enormous public benefit to people coming off drugs and returning to productive members of society.

  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 oppose this practice and support full transparency in the legislative process.

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.