Q&A: U.S. Senate Mark Ronchetti
- Name: Mark Ronchetti
- Political Party: Republican
- Occupation: Former Chief Meteorologist at KRQE
- City of Residence: Albuquerque
- Relevant Experience: Former Chief Meteorologist at KRQE
- Campaign Website: markronchetti.com
What is your opinion of the coronavirus response packages passed by Congress and signed by President Trump? Is there anything you would have done differently?
I believe the president took the action necessary to help small businesses. Next, there are thousands of small businesses that didn’t get help they needed because they didn’t qualify, or big businesses who shouldn’t have taken advantage, did. We need to help small businesses get capital they need to survive.
What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained?
We need to develop a strong response to China and focus on bringing jobs of critical industries to the U.S. to protect ourselves moving forward. Prescription drugs, manufacturing, and rare-earth minerals are areas we need back in the U.S. Congress should continue economic stimulus to keep businesses on their feet.
What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
I oppose the Green New Deal and environmentalist extremism. While the atmosphere is warming and there are steps we can take to protect our environment, we can’t restrict our economy when countries like China and India continue unrestricted pollution. The financial burden would crush our middle and lower class.
What is your opinion on energy initiatives that have been introduced both on the federal and state level such as the Green New Deal and the New Mexico Energy Transition Act?
I strongly oppose the GND – it is not serious legislation. With a price tag of $93-trillion, it will crush our economy. The purpose of the GND isn’t about the environment, it is a complete restructuring of the American and NM economy with free college, guaranteed income and universal healthcare.
Fracking bans have been introduced in Congress by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and presidential candidate Joe Biden indicated in a debate he would support a ban. Where do you stand on the issue?
I strongly oppose a ban on fracking. It would completely destroy our state budget and create national security issues when we have to import more foreign oil. We’ve been fracking safely for 60 years in this country. Giving up energy independence is a terrible financial, environmental and national security decision.
What is your position on the leasing of federal land for oil, gas and mineral development? Do you agree with the removal of energy development in a 10-mile radius around Chaco archaeological sites? Are there other areas of the state that should be considered for similar treatment?
Our energy independence saves the average family $2,500 a year in energy costs. Fifty percent of our oil and gas comes from public lands, so we must continue to use federal land. We should work with those who are concerned about energy production around cultural sites to find a solution.
What are the most important actions Congress should take regarding people now living illegally in the U.S.? What about for those who want to come in?
I oppose amnesty because it incentivizes even more illegal immigration. Decriminalizing border crossing and dangling free health care encourages well-meaning families to put their families at risk by illegally entering the country. Allow them to apply in their home country and when legally approved move to the U.S.
Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose to increase security?
Our borders are not secure enough and we need a barrier, more staffing or increased air patrol for a more secure border. We are the drug superhighway into the U.S. and sanctuary cities in New Mexico exacerbate our crime problems. Congress has kicked the can down the road long enough.
Do you favor a federal ban on the sale of military style semi-automatic rifles? If so, what would you do about the millions of such weapons now legally owned by American citizens? What other, if any, gun law reforms would you support?
I completely support the Second Amendment and oppose such a ban. A law-abiding citizen who responsibly handles their guns doesn’t need the government to come knocking on their door. I support stronger penalties for criminals who commit crimes with guns in this state.
Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
Given COVID-19, we must ensure that businesses are receiving the funding they need to keep struggling workers on payroll. We need to increase and protect funding for our labs, as they provide great jobs that attract talent and innovation to our state. New Mexico should be at the forefront of national defense and scientific innovation.
Congress passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Are there any other trade initiatives you’d like to see Congress pass if you’re elected?
We need to continuously evaluate our trade relationship with China. COVID-19 has made it clear we cannot continue to export industry to China at the expense of American jobs and national security. We should be continuously reviewing our agreements with other countries to confirm we are putting the American worker first.
Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system?
I completely oppose a single payer health care system. It would be disastrous. Medicare-for-All would drive up costs, and everyday New Mexicans would be forced to give up their employer-based insurance which they like. Patients would lose their doctors and the ability to choose what insurance plan would best fit them.
Do you favor or oppose limits on late-term abortion, and do you believe tax dollars should or should not be used to fund abortions?
I absolutely oppose late term abortions. The fact that New Mexico is one of the late term abortion capitals of the country is a tragedy. I do not believe federal funds should be used to fund abortion. I support the Hyde Amendment which is currently the law of the land.
What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
Federal funds to help those struggling with opioid addiction have helped address the issue in the past few years. We must cut off illegal international and domestic supply chains. Much of that can be done by increasing checks at points of entry and securing the border away from major checkpoints.
Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
I want to fight for the state of New Mexico. Too often petty political fights in Washington take center stage and it’s the people here at home who get left behind. I want to make sure that my two girls can grow up in New Mexico where chasing the American dream is possible.
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.