Q&A Senate District 20 Rebecca Stair

  • NAME: Rebecca Stair
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democrat
  • OCCUPATION: Filmmaker and teacher
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque NM
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE : Producer & location manager. Over 65 film & TV projects in NM and beyond. Satisfied clients include Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, ABC, Discovery, Amazon, Netflix, Coen brothers, Ridley Scott, Tommy Lee Jones, Seth MacFarlane and Andrew Stanton
  • Events Producer. Father Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
  • English teacher. Bosque School, ABQ and National Cathedral School, Washington DC
  • Elected several times to the boards of Location Managers Guild International and IATSE 480
  • EDUCATION: 2002 Georgetown University, Washington DC Graduate study in linguistics
  • 2000 Amherst College, Amherst MA BA, English, cum laude. Concentration in
  • Native American literature. 1996 National Cathedral School, Washington DC Diploma, cum laude
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.StairforSenate.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?

1) Trim the budget. Retain foundationals like healthcare, education and infrastructure.

2) Streamline expenditures to eliminate waste and stretch our existing dollars further.

3) Refresh the tax structure to remove stale breaks and implement innovative incentives.

4) Authorize a transfer from the Permanent Fund to fund costs incurred by COVID-19.

2. 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 former teacher, I know that in today’s fast-changing world, we must teach the next generation not what to think but how to think. Doing this requires alternative, stable funding, properly paid and supported educators, auxiliary infrastructure like safe school buildings and highspeed internet, and some flexibility in curricula.

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

To create diverse and therefore resilient, dependable state income, we should consider:

– Reforming GRT to help our small businesses compete. Level the playing field between NM and out-of-state companies.

– Taxing the destructive and incentivizing the healthful.

– Diversifying NM’s revenue and support new and existing/growing industries.

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

Yes, but it must benefit New Mexicans. This means the bill should: monitor grower water use; prevent addiction; support NM businesses, not outside mega-corporations; tax appropriately to avoid black markets; correct past prejudice; fund foundationals like education and public safety; update banking so cannabis dollars circulate within NM.

5. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and childcare 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. But beyond this, our state’s entire undergirding fiscal scaffold, including the constitution, is over a century old. With our crashing oil market, stagnant economy and neglected foundations revealed by COVID-19, it’s time to re-examine our state’s entire monetary system, and craft a more stable, resilient and equitable fiscal structure.

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

Oppose, with mixed feelings. I appreciate the transparency of open primaries but they have the potential to imperil quality candidates on both sides. I wholeheartedly support any change that helps more voters vote more easily, such as making voting day a holiday or weekend, rank-choice voting, and campaign finance reform.

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

Support. A strong majority of New Mexicans believe abortion must remain safe and legal, regardless of their own moral views on abortion. I am proud to be one of them. I stand against government intrusion into the most private healthcare decisions of women and families.

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?

Yes. Discretionary capital outlay should be:

1) Transparent. Disclose every dollar and completion status.

2) Centralized. Legislators need an efficient method to triage needs statewide and coordinate cross-district.

3) Prioritized. Some projects are more urgent than others.

Here, a State Bank could save money and recirculate dollars into NM.

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

Nowadays, trust in government is low. To avoid even the appearance of bias, we must increase transparency throughout:

– Lobbyists disclose advocacy and wear nametags

– More livestreamed committee meetings, including interim.

– Upgrade capital outlay process.

– Paid legislative staff, so legislative analysis is neither rushed nor unilateral.

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?

1) Temporarily support low-hanging economic sectors like we’ve supported film:

– Solar & wind (not just electrifying NM but designing, manufacturing and recycling)

– Space & aviation

– Outdoor recreation

– Regenerative agriculture

2) Upgrade tax structure

3) Invest in 21st century infrastructure like rural broadband and climate-change-resilient cities.

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?

Support. I witnessed my terminally ill grandmother request aid-in-dying and be denied because it was illegal there at the time. So she starved herself to death.

The freedom to die means the freedom to truly live.

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?

COVID-19 has essentially halted fracking already. So let’s help NM families with healthcare, training in renewables, and investments in outdoor recreation, restorative agriculture and solar & wind. I support a carbon tax that’s fair to historically disadvantaged communities, and a new business category, “noncarbon,” that rewards businesses for low emissions.

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

Expecting police to stop crime is like expecting the ER to stop disease. We must together address crime’s root causes and support families, schools and teachers, jobs and training, mental health, tougher and gentler sentencing, more productive inmate jail time (mandatory drug treatment), common-sense gun reform, our police.

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

Committees should be public unless there’s a need otherwise. Some states have posted budget drafts online, to crowdsource community ideas.

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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