Q&A: U.S. House District 3 John Blair
- Name: John Blair
- Political Party: Democratic
- Occupation: Former New Mexico deputy secretary of state, President Obama appointee at U.S. Department of the Interior, legislative director to then-U.S. Rep Martin Heinrich, and legislative aide to U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman
- City of residence: Santa Fe
- Relevant experience: Intergovernmental and external affairs director, U.S. Department of the Interior under President Obama; chief of staff, U.S. Representative Dan Kildee; legislative director and communications director, U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich; legislative aide, U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman; deputy secretary of state, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver; judicial clerk, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Edward L. Chávez; chief of staff, State Auditor Hector Balderas…
- Education: Santa Fe High School; Kansas University, B.A. in communication studies and political science; University of New Mexico School of Law, J.D.
- Campaign website: www.johnblairfornewmexico.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’d fight for even more oversight to ensure stimulus spending was going directly to help actual small businesses and into the pockets of furloughed workers instead of just lining the pockets of millionaires and billionaires and multinational corporations.
What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained?
I’d ensure unemployed New Mexicans have the financial resources for food, prescriptions, and their rent or mortgage, and provide financial support to help small businesses sustain and flourish. I’d push for a New Deal-style public works program that puts Americans back to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.
What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?
Climate change is the most pressing threat facing our planet. Congress must pass encompassing legislation that transforms our energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and industrial system, while promoting smart investments and creating good jobs. We should incentivize clean energy the same way the federal government has for years incentivized fossil fuels.
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 support both measures but they’re a start to the solution — not the conclusion. I support transitioning to 100% clean energy in the next 30 years. I support achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions and oppose efforts to undermine the Clean Air Act and Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to cut carbon and other pollution.
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?
To take the necessary steps to truly combat the climate crisis we have to stop leasing federal lands for fossil fuel development, including fracking. I’d push to incentivize renewable energy development on those federal lands to help jump-start a 21st century clean energy economy and create good jobs.
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?
We have to stop leasing federal lands for fossil fuel development. I’d push to incentivize renewable energy development on those federal lands. I support the 10-mile radius around Chaco. I’d work with the tribes and other interested parties to determine what other archaeological and cultural sites need similar protection.
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 support real comprehensive immigration reform that protects our communities while allowing asylum for families and children who need it. We must protect Dreamers and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, and include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and any child brought here who claims this country as their home going forward.
Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose should be done to increase security?
Trump’s border policy is neither smart, secure nor humane. Separating families is cruel and makes our border less safe. Building a border wall using funds diverted from essential military programs isn’t the answer. I’d invest in and utilize new technology to screen cargo and legal transit across the border.
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?
We have to get the weapons of war off our streets. I support common sense regulations like universal background checks, closing domestic abuser loopholes, gun buyback programs and fully funding gun violence research to better understand the causes and impacts of gun violence. I’ll stand up to the National Rifle Association.
Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?
There’s no one magic industry that’ll strengthen our economy to the extent needed. We must build out a multitude of industries in a multi-prong approach that diminishes the state’s reliance on fossil fuels; including greater investments in our outdoor economy, tourism, high-tech and tech transfer, and our TV and film industries.
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?
I fully support international trade agreements as they help New Mexico small businesses thrive. However, to earn my support, any agreement must look out for the interests of working New Mexicans and include meaningful labor, climate and environmental protections.
Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system?
Health care is a universal right. Congressional Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare, which would threaten coverage for those with preexisting conditions. I’ll vigilantly defend Obamacare and support legislation that gives states needed resources to implement it successfully. I’ll lower the prescription drug costs and ensure access to care for seniors.
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’m a proud feminist and will be a champion of reproductive freedom in Congress. Every woman should have complete control over her own body and medical decisions. We must repeal the Hyde Amendment and bring an end to the global gag rule.
What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?
We must dramatically expand federal funding for prevention, treatment and recovery, and hold big pharma accountable for its role in the crisis. I’d vigilantly defend Obamacare and ensure that New Mexico has the necessary federal funds to expand mental health programs. I also support legalizing marijuana.
Why do you want to be a member of Congress?
Having served in the Obama administration, it’s been particularly painful to watch the unending damage Trump is doing to our country. As the only candidate in this race with experience working on Capitol Hill and for President Obama, I’m best equipped to hit the ground running in Congress.
Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
I have never had a tax lien filed against me or any entity associated with me. More than a decade ago a tenant failed to pay a water bill, which I discovered upon selling the property and promptly resolved.
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.