Q&A: U.S. House District 3 Valerie Plame

  • Name: Valerie Plame
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Occupation: Former covert CIA operations officer
  • City of residence: Santa Fe
  • Relevant experience: Managed top-secret covert programs designed to keep terrorists and rogue nation-states from acquiring nuclear weapons; was responsible for decision making at senior levels, recruiting foreign assets, managing multi-million dollar budgets, and briefing U.S. policy-makers.
  • Education: Penn State University; graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and the College of Europe
  • Campaign website: ValeriePlameforCongress.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? Our priority should be keeping families safe and healthy and providing economic support for New Mexicans and small businesses. The current COVID-19 response gave more relief to corporations than the working class. We need to hold Congress accountable, expand testing access, stabilize our economy and reopen responsibly.

1. What actions to restore the economy, if any, do you feel Congress should take once the outbreak has been contained? To feel safe, we need free, accessible, and reliable COVID-19 testing. Congress must expand financial support for families, the unemployed, and small businesses. Congress should raise the minimum wage, protect workers, expand broadband and cell coverage, and ensure economic opportunity for all New Mexicans.

2. What is your position regarding climate change? What actions should Congress take, if any, regarding the environment? In the CIA, I fought nuclear threats; the outcomes of climate change are equally threatening to our future. I support the Green New Deal and rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. We should protect native lands, bring more green jobs to New Mexico, and be a leader in renewable energy.

3. 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? Both initiatives must pass to protect our environment and build a green economy. The Green New Deal and the ETA, which calls for New Mexico’s electricity to be 50% renewable by 2030 and 100% by 2045, are essential for addressing our climate crisis and building a green economy.

4. 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? Fracking is dangerous and incompatible with a healthy and safe environment. At a minimum, we must reimplement the Obama Administration’s 2015 fracking rules that the Trump administration repealed while quickly pivoting away from fracking. To do this, New Mexico must aggressively become a leader in clean energy technology.

5. 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 communities have seen adverse effects of mining in destroyed landscapes and contaminated water sources. We should reexamine the archaic 1872 Mining Act. Any mines on federal lands must consider our environmental health and cultural treasures, which is why I oppose mining near Chaco archeological sites.

6. 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? New Mexico’s strength is our diversity, and we can be an example when it comes to creating a path to citizenship for immigrants and Dreamers. We should restore our global leadership position by committing to fundamental human rights and protections for those fleeing disasters and violence abroad.

7. Do you believe the borders are secure enough? If not, what do you propose should be done to increase security? We should be a shining beacon to those coming here for a better life, which is the spirit of the American Dream. We need humane border security, which means ending travel bans, giving the legal system the resources to process asylum cases, and ending discriminatory practices from ICE.

8. 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? My heart grieves every time I hear of yet another mass shooting. It’s time to meaningfully address the gun violence epidemic. We must ban the sale of assault rifles, implement universal background checks and red flag laws and close loopholes in gun purchasing legislation.

9.  Federal spending plays an important role in New Mexico’s economy. What should be done to increase other economic drivers here? We can lead green energy job creation through our National Laboratories, building partnerships with startups and private enterprises. Rural areas need expanded broadband to create jobs. This will decrease our dependence on oil and gas industries. Expanded educational opportunities make us ready for the economy of tomorrow.

10. 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? Trade is essential to New Mexico’s prosperity. Forty percent of our exports go to Mexico and trade accounts for more than 15,000 jobs in our economy. I support strengthening these trade agreements. Any trade agreements must strengthen labor rights and increase monopoly protections from price gouging from drug companies.

11. Do you favor or oppose a national single payer health system? The pandemic exposed health care inequities, which is why I support universal health care coverage. We must protect and ensure quality coverage and affordable prescriptions for everyone, expanded access for native communities and veterans, reduced premiums, while ultimately moving toward a single-payer system.

12. 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? Personal decisions regarding abortion should be between a woman and her health care provider. Laws and the government should have no place in these decisions. We should allocate public funds toward essential health care services, including abortion, wellness exams, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, birth control and contraceptive education.

13. What should be done at the federal level to address the crisis of opioid addiction? Any other drugs? Pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists must be held accountable for their role in creating this epidemic, and finance this solution. We need a holistic approach, which includes expanding treatment access, including for those who are incarcerated. We should legalize marijuana. Those addicted to drugs of any kind should receive the health care they need.

14. Why do you want to be a member of Congress? I’ve served my country my whole life. My CIA career was cut short by partisan politics, I know what it is like to feel betrayed by your government. The Trump administration has betrayed us, and I’ll never stop fighting to build a fairer and more equitable America in Congress.

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. No