Q&A: Senate District 41 Gregg Fulfer

  • NAME: Gregg Fulfer
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Rancher, Oil & Gas Producer
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Served as Lea County Commissioner for nearly 10 years over 6 of those years as Chairman. Served on the NM EIB board for 8 years, and the NM Economic Development Board for 3+ years. Owed and operated Fulfer Electric and sold it in 2006. Owned and operate Fulfer Oil and Cattle co., been in business for 36 years.
  • EDUCATION: B. S. Electrical Engineering, New Mexico State University, 1984; Jal High School, 1979
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.greggfulfer.com

1. What steps should the Legislature take to ensure New Mexico has a balanced budget amid falling oil prices and an economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak?

Be realistic about the essential budget items government should fund. One thing the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted is the risk associated with continuous creation of new government programs. When we see what real—life and death—needs are, it exposes the foolishness of making college “free.” It provides perspective.

2. What more, if anything, should the Legislature do to address a court ruling that found New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students?

Education policy and funding are not the role of the judiciary. They are the legislature’s responsibility. The court has overstepped its legal bounds on this issue and, as the representative body of the people, the Legislature should use constitutional and statutory means of reassuming control of public education.

3. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?

Our gross receipts taxes are high enough and they are certainly invasive enough—we impose gross receipts taxes on services that very few states tax. In working to rebuild our economy, we must ensure that our tax structure encourages investment in New Mexico and does not scare businesses away.

4. Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?

Oppose. Employers often see the effects of recreational marijuana on the readiness of a workforce, with employees believing they are functioning at a high level—while actually unable to focus on tasks at hand. New Mexico already has great difficulty retaining a dependable work force. Recreational marijuana does not help.

5. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and child care assistance, and created a new early childhood trust fund. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services?

I oppose raiding the permanent fund because it is, in effect, the “virtual” repository of all the assets, including minerals and natural resources, belonging to all New Mexicans. Natural resources are depletable. Eventually, the fund will be all that remains. That’s why the fund’s corpus should never be depleted.

6. Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?

Oppose. People join political parties because of the philosophy those parties advocate. Republicans should be able to choose their candidates without interference by people who don’t actually believe in the same principles they espouse. So should Democrats. Voters wanting to nominate a party’s candidates are free to join that party.

7. Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?

I believe in and support the right-to-life for the unborn and oppose abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

8. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding? Should each legislator be required to disclose which projects he or she funded?

There should be complete transparency with regard to capital outlay and each legislator’s projects. I believe in open government, allowing voters and taxpayers to see what and by whom projects are funded. I don’t know what a “merit-based” system would look like, but I’m willing to hear proposals for one.

9. Do you support or oppose requiring lobbyists to disclose which bills they advocate for or against?

I believe in open, transparent government, with the public fully informed as to the actions of the legislature, who is supporting what, and how much is being expended and by whom to advocate for or against the measures that come before the legislature for votes and the governor for signatures.

10. New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What are the things you would do to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?

We should take advantage of our position as the nation’s number three producer of petroleum, using it to become a manufacturer of petroleum-based products, such as asphalt, rather than shipping our oil to other states. We need more refineries and manufacturing facilities, providing New Mexicans jobs, rather than jobs elsewhere.

11. Do you support or oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide in order to allow aid-in-dying under certain medical circumstances?

No. I believe in the sanctity of human life. Human beings should not be placed in the position of playing “God,” nor should the government.

12. Would you support or oppose a moratorium on fracking? And should the state impose additional renewable energy mandates as a way to address climate change concerns?

No. Without fracking, New Mexico would not have had a $2 billion surplus that we had at the end of 2018. Without that surplus we would be in vastly worse financial trouble than we are today. Renewable energy is fine where it makes economic sense, not subsidized by the taxpayer.

13. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?

We should create a public corruption unit to look into government corruption. Left unmonitored, it is possible for local governments to take advantage of county or municipal funds or powers and end up taking resources from an unsuspecting citizenry and secretly enriching the very few people in control.

14. Do you support or oppose the practice of legislative budget-writing committees holding closed-door meetings during the crafting of state spending bills?

Most of the budget-writing process takes place year-round, with the Legislative Finance Committee preparing thousands of pages of documents. Some of that may not be seen simply because of the logistical requirements involved. However, the finalization of the process, amendments, debate, and votes should all be open to the public.

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.