Q&A: House District 1 Brett Kokinadis
- Name: Brett Kokinadis
- Political Party: Republican
- Occupation: Small business owner, mentor, investor
- City of residence: Santa Fe
- Relevant experience: Business owner for 20 years, technology entrepreneur and tech startup enthusiast
- Education: I started my first business right after high school and haven’t stopped since
- Campaign website: IMAGINEBRETT.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?
The package was necessary for small businesses and Americans to deal with the coronavirus economic shutdown. I would have liked to see more restrictions to ensure funds went toward smaller companies, family-owned businesses, and families. Some loopholes went unchecked.
What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained?
I’ve advocated for the lifting of restrictions in New Mexico now. Small businesses can operate safer than any big-box store. We need to see the data of the economic fallout before we can make any educated decisions on what’s required.
What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
I’m not a climate change denier. We need to make better financial decisions and include energy producers as partners instead of viewing them as the enemy. Green energy is a hot topic, and I’m not against it, but I’d like to see more realistic strategies in new nuclear technologies that offer cleaner, safer and practical solutions.
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?
Everyone wants to be a good steward of the environment. The ETA is a long term disaster for New Mexico, likewise with the Green New Deal. The Governor seeks to limit new vehicle sales to fuel economies of 52 miles per gallon by 2022. We need to be realistic.
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?
There are an estimated 1.4 billion cars on the planet. We must be an energy leader, and New Mexico cannot financially support itself without oil and gas production. I support safe fracking operations, but I’m also willing to listen to input from others. U.S. oil production isn’t going away.
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?
I support protecting Chaco and will always listen to New Mexicans for any future areas of concern. There are areas we must defend, though we also must responsibly and safely benefit from New Mexico’s resources.
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 haven’t met a voter yet that doesn’t support legal immigration. The process of becoming a citizen is expensive and complicated, which we must address along with helping the Dreamers. Individuals following immigration laws have nothing to fear.
Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose should be done to increase security?
The border is improving but is not secure. We must complete improvements, including strategic barriers, technological solutions, personnel, and restore nonfunctional equipment used for inspections. The pandemic demonstrates the need to control our borders.
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?
No. I believe in the Second Amendment.
Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
We are in uncharted waters and must move forward with facts. New Mexico Small businesses are going to face massive problems due to unfairly executed shutdowns. New Mexico’s economy must responsibly open now so we may begin assessing the damage caused by the governor’s extended orders.
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?
With the pandemic, things will become more complex. The top priority is to complete the President’s U.S.-China trade deal. Current situations will likely make this an ongoing and critical effort.
Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system?
There will always need to be some kind of safety net, though, since Obamacare costs have increased as benefits decreased. We must force insurance companies to compete to reduce insurance costs.
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?
New Mexicans can agree that ending late-term abortions is the right choice. Of course, there are extraneous circumstances to consider, such as the risk of life to the mother. Tax dollars should not fund abortions, though funding organizations that provide health services should continue. Health services are essential.
What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
Congress essentially brings money, makes, or changes laws. Money is not always the answer. I’ve created advisory boards to find the real needs of professionals. We must reschedule cannabis. Medical cannabis is shown to assist in opioid addiction. Medical programs already exist across our nation breaking federal law.
Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
We need smarter people in Congress. New Mexico deserves a true representative in Washington, not career politicians like the incumbent. As a small business owner for over 20 years, I’ve fought every day to solve problems, and now I’m ready to fight for New Mexico. I’ve signed the U.S. term limit pledge because I believe people should serve and not get rich.
Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
Like many businesses that suffered from economic hardships, I had an entity that fell behind on taxes, the company entered into a repayment agreement with the IRS and honored the terms.
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.
I think there may have been a lovely day on a beautiful open New Mexico road that I might have gone a little over the speed limit, but that’s it.