Q&A: U.S. House District 3 Laura Montoya

  • Name: Laura M. Montoya
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Occupation: Sandoval County Treasurer
  • City of residence: Rio Rancho
  • Relevant experience: I have almost two decades of federal, state and local government experience. Constituent services representative, U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman; administrative assistant, State Treasurer’s Office; secretary, Committee Analyst, Journal Clerk — New Mexico Senate; enrolling and engrossing clerk, pool analyst, committee secretary for House Judiciary under Chairman Al Park, New Mexico House of Representatives; marketing outreach coordinator, Human Services Department; two-term Sandoval County Treasurer; Tax Policy, committee member…
  • Education: Robertson High School; double major in political science and psychology, Bachelor’s Degree, New Mexico Highlands University; public affairs, Master’s Degree, New Mexico Highlands University; international relations and Spanish, University of Costa Rica (Rotary Scholar); certified treasury official and certified public official, NM EDGE
  • Campaign website: LauraMontoya4NM.com

1. 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 response was delayed which created more burden and deaths. The CARES Act only assisted populations of 500,000 or more, that left everyone outside of Bernalillo County out of the same opportunities. As the vice-chair of Finance, Pensions and Intergovernmental Affairs, we are working with Congress to allow smaller counties to receive stimulus funds as well…

2. What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained?

We need to utilize the labs for development of vaccines, PPE and expertise that will assist with protecting people; tax reform; diversify the economy; and fix our trade agreements. We need a financial disaster containment audit plan and mitigate future risks and potential hazards to Americans.

3. What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment?

We have an obligation to protect our water, land and air. We need to diversify our energy utilizing solar and wind; cleanup of nuclear waste and water contamination; fund independent impact studies and water project that require for every family to have clean running water.

4. 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 believe it is a guide to direct our values toward addressing climate change, accountability for any industry that does not share those values and holds all of us to higher standard to protect our land, air and water as well as moving in the direction of carbon-free electricity.

5. 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?

My family is from the first New Mexico county to ever ban fracking. As an elected official in Sandoval County, I publicly fought against fracking; I am honored to receive the endorsement of Joe Cisneros, Questa activist and inspiration of the “Milagro Beanfield War.”

6. 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 disagree with development, especially in the communities that are poor and of color with no accountability, impact studies, protection of land or water. I agree with protecting Chaco Canyon and all other areas in New Mexico. I was endorsed by Navajo Councilman Daniel Tso, activist and protector of Chaco.

7. 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?

The system is broken. As the only candidate that toured the border, the injustice and lack of accountability for the treatment of human life is unacceptable. We need to support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, dreamers and immigrant veterans that fought for this county, and streamline the process for citizenship.

8. Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose should be done to increase security?

No but I believe we are trying to resolve issues with the wrong mind set. We need to stop drug trafficking (occurs more in planes than at the border), terrorism, unfair trade agreements, utilize technology efficiently and strengthen our economies to eliminate traffic due to safety and lack of opportunity.

9. 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, all you will do is create a black market. I think people are trying to resolve one problem by going after the consequence and affect instead of the root of mass shootings. I support universal background checks. I support removal of guns after conviction of domestic violence or any other felony.

10. Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here?

Stop relying on oil and gas revenue to stabilize the state general fund. We need to diversify our energy opportunities; add clean forms of manufacturing that do not require water; support our small businesses; strengthen tourism and the film industry; as well as technology and the trades.

11. 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?

Yes. New free trade agreements that are fair and equitable and require accountability of worker conditions and pay in any countries we buy and sell from. I support the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and Bilateral Investment Treaties.

12. Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system?

I currently cannot support it, especially after COVID-19. Putting aside the $32 trillion expense, it eliminates TRICARE which insures 9.4 million U.S. military; it does not give unions options and it hurts government sponsored insurance that many employees are thankful for. I have concern with putting everything in the government’s hands.

13. 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 support women making their own health care decisions with the expertise of their doctors and the advice and guidance from the people they trust in their lives. As an elected official, I should not be making health decisions for anyone’s life circumstances. I also support doctors’ legal right to choose what they feel comfortable with.

14. What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs?

Hold pharmaceuticals and the health industry accountable for mass distribution; support funding for cohesive wrap-around services that allow someone to get help when they ask for it, placement in an environment that they are not familiar with, teach life-skills, coping skills, mentorship, training and schooling, break the cycle.

15. Why do you want to be a member of Congress?

My public service career has always been about the people and creating policies that are fair and equitable. My education, experience and relationship building will help New Mexico progress. I will use my financial experience, policy work and passion to help New Mexico recover from this pandemic and become stronger.

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? N/A

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. I have never been arrested or convicted of a crime. In 2014, I was charged with a domestic violence misdemeanor based on false allegations from an abusive relationship. The prosecutor dismissed the case.