Q&A: House District 14 Miguel P. García
- NAME: Miguel P. García
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Retired APS Spanish Language Arts Teacher; Organic Farmer; Author
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Ranchos de Atrisco
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: New Mexico State Representative, 1997 to present, serving the District 14 communities and neighborhoods of Alamosa, Atrisco, Armijo, Barelas, Five Points, South Broadway, Sky View West and West Central neighborhoods south of Central SW. Co-Chair and founder of the Legislative Land Grant Interim Committee, 2003 to present. Chairman of the Labor & Human Resources Committee, 2005 to 2014. Chairman of the Local Government, Land Grants, & Cultural Affairs Committee, 2017 to present. Member of the Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee, 2017 to present. Member of the Legislative Health and Human Services Interim Committee, the Legislative Investments and Pensions Oversight Committee, and the Legislative Disabilities Concerns Sub-Committee. Twenty-three years as a community and civil rights leader in Atrisco and the South Valley prior to being elected in 1996.
- EDUCATION: M.A. Degree in Elementary Education, Spanish Immersion focus, University of New Mexico, 1993. B.A. Degree in Secondary Education, Spanish and History majors, Eastern New Mexico University, 1973.
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: N/A
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 corona virus outbreak?
Establish a Marshall Plan for a post coronavirus pandemic that rebuilds our economy, public institutions, health delivery systems, and that develops a Catastrophic Disaster Response Commission that year-round builds networks and infrastructures of medical professionals and first responders in preparation of health, natural and manmade disasters in the future.
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?
The Court should have oversight monitors observing the progress of the four student groups that the Yazzie Martinez lawsuit contested that there were constitutional violations in providing these students with a sufficient public education. These student populations are economically disadvantaged students, Native Americans, English learners and students with disabilities.
3. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
Create a staggered tax for New Mexico-owned small business start-ups, with 50 or less employees, starting at 2.125% and growing the rate 1% yearly for four years fixating it at the current 5.125%. Eliminate exemptions and deductions for businesses that have never grown since the break was given.
4. Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I support it but do not see it as a priority that merits immediate attention. More thought needs to be given on keeping recreational marijuana from falling into the hands of our youth and children. Educators are concerned of parents being high in taking or picking up their child at school.
5. 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?
Yes, I support a constitutional amendment that asks the voters to approve or disapprove withdrawing funds from our Land Grant Permanent Fund to provide a dedicated revenue stream for our much needed early childhood services throughout our fine State. This investment in our children will pay off a thousand fold.
6. Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
I support opening our State’s primary elections to Independent voters and voters of minor parties not Democratic or Republican. The process is structured. These new primary voters get to vote one election ballot only, either Democratic or Republican, but not both. Inclusion and a participatory process are true American values.
7. Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
Repealing restrictive abortion laws can reduce the risk of unsafe abortions and therefore reduce the risks of maternal mortality. For this reason, I support repealing the feudal and archaic 1969 state law.
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?
Capital outlay provides poor districts like mine with resources to address “bread-and-butter” infrastructure needs that would otherwise be overlooked. I choose “bread-and-butter” over “merit-based” any time. It should be the prerogative of the legislator to disclose or not disclose what projects were approved for funding.
9. Do you support or oppose requiring lobbyists to disclose which bills they advocate for or against?
In my tenure as a legislator, we have made good progress in being transparent with the business of the legislature and bringing sunshine to the functions of state government. Having lobbyists disclose which bills they advocate for or against is a step in the right direction.
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?
New Mexico has a higher per capita of scientists and high-tech companies due in part to our national labs and research universities. We need to expand the technology transfer from our labs and universities into the private sector and incentivize these start-ups to grow and prosper in New Mexico.
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?
This issue requires much thought and dialogue from all concerned, both in support and in opposition. At this point in the debate, I am not comfortable in supporting this reform.
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?
Hydraulically fractured horizontal wells have brought prosperity to the oil and gas industry. This process combines dangerous chemicals with large amounts of water and releases methane into the environment. Methane has a global warming potential 84 times of carbon dioxide. A moratorium is most appropriate. Yes, to second question.
13. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
This past legislative session, I introduced HB 73 which creates an injectable opioid treatment program in a clinical setting staffed with professionals. This program will eliminate the tossing of syringes in public, and would eliminate the need for substance users to engage in crime in order to maintain their addiction.
14. Do you support or oppose the practice of legislative budget-writing committees holding closed-door meetings during the crafting of state spending bills?
I can’t speak for the state Senate, but the House Appropriation & Finance Committee has always been transparent and open in their deliberations in crafting a budget bill.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
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 arrests for drunk driving or felony. In 1971, while a sophomore at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales, NM, I was arrested for a “sit-in” at the President’s Office. Chicano students were demanding an end to discriminatory hiring practices of native Indo-Hispanos. In 1971, ENMU had approximately 110 professors. Only one was Chicano. Within the administration and departments, no Chicanos or Chicanas were to be found as deans, directors, or supervisors, with a smattering of Chicanas in the clerical field. On the other hand, upwards of 90% of the janitorial and maintenance positions were held by Chicanos.