Q&A: U.S. House District 3 Joseph Sanchez

  • Name: Joseph L. Sanchez
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Occupation: Electrical engineer
  • City of residence: Alcalde
  • Relevant experience: State Representative – District 40
  • Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico, and master’s degree in business administration from New Mexico State University.
  • Campaign website: www.josephsanchezforcongress.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 federal funding will help offset the losses in New Mexico from the crash of the oil and gas markets. However, I would have liked to have seen more done for small businesses and their employees. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and need more assistance.

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

We need to bring people back to work as soon as possible in a safe manner. We also need to ensure small businesses have the resources they need to get back on their feet and get back to business as usual and continue to support them.

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

Climate change is a huge concern for our world. We must invest heavily in technologies to mitigate CO2 emissions, and must develop a plan to transition to renewables in a realistic time frame. With my experience and background, I will be a leader in Congress in this area.

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 voted for the ETA as a state representative — it offered a timely transition to renewables. My biggest issue was the loss of jobs. The act addressed this issue. We need to make substantial efforts to help people with job transition to minimize the financial impact on workers.

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?

I support responsible extraction. This means we must ensure that water and cultural sites must always be protected. At the same time, our state and country must incorporate new technologies to mitigate the environmental concerns.

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?

Oil and gas is critical to the state of New Mexico. We are living with realities of sole reliance at this moment. I support protecting water and cultural resources anywhere in the state, if data shows a 10-mile radius is required to do that for Chaco, we must enforce that.

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?

Thus far, Congress has failed on immigration. I support expanding the worker visa program exponentially so that immigrants who want to work in the United States can do so legally without fear. Undocumented immigrants provide a needed workforce for many jobs in the United States.

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

Our borders are not secure enough, and more funding needs to go toward technologies and staffing to ensure they are secured. Congress creating a working immigration and worker visa plan would help border security. I will advocate for common sense reforms when elected.

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?

I fully support the Second Amendment. The focus should be on more mental health resources and education for responsible gun ownership. We also need to pay closer attention to societal factors such as bullying, shaming and other behaviors that contribute to violence.

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

Education is a cornerstone to any economy. I supported the creation of the Early Childhood Department. As a member of Congress, I will work with local industry and educators to develop programs to train, hire, and retain a local workforce. We need to emphasize the trades and certificate programs.

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?

Congress has the power to approve or deny trade agreements that are negotiated by the president. Free trade agreements and other initiatives should be closely scrutinized and analyzed before any decisions are made. Anything that is approved should support our economy and our workforce.

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

I support improving the Affordable Care Act and maintaining provisions such as the coverage of pre-existing conditions. I also support robust Medicare and Medicaid programs, including expansions to assist those most in need.

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 oppose late term abortion with medical exceptions. I do not support taxpayer dollars funding abortions.

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

We need to put more emphasis on prevention and education at earlier ages while holding opioid manufacturers accountable. Treatment resources must be accessible. As a member of Congress, I will work to create opportunity for the district. Economic opportunity is a big part of the solution.

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

I want to be part of the solution to the many issues our state and country are currently facing. I believe Congress can help empower people. Growing up in Alcalde, New Mexico, I know firsthand the challenges rural and impoverished America faces, challenges such as education, health care, and economic opportunity.

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? No.

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. Approximately ten years ago, I failed to appear in connection with a routine traffic citation in Santa Fe. I was subsequently charged with failing to appear. After appearing on this charge, the matter was resolved, and charges dismissed.