Q&A: House District 10 Candidate Dinah Vargas

  • NAME: Dinah Vargas
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Photojournalist
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: South Valley, Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I’m a daughter of New Mexico and I understand the politics of the South Valley.
  • EDUCATION: West Mesa graduate and studied at the University of New Mexico
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE : DinahVargas.com

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?

Cuts will have to be made. It’s true and they know it. Let’s start at the top.

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?

End Common Core. Teach the basics and teach every student financial literacy.

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

I support no increases in a gross receipts tax.

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

No, have you been to MVD lately?

Do you believe changes should be made to the emergency powers held by a governor during a pandemic or other time of crisis. If so, do you believe such powers should be expanded or reduced and in what specific ways?

YES, such powers should be reduced. The 33 counties of New Mexico know how to serve their people best.

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

As a pro-life candidate, I oppose any effort to repeal the 1969 criminal abortion statute. The provisions in this law that are still in effect and are enforceable today, protect doctors’ consciences who do not want to perform an abortion. Instead of stripping these laws from the books they should be strictly enforced.

Do you support or oppose enacting a new state law that would allow police officers and other public officials to be sued individually by abolishing the defense of qualified immunity?

That’s a big no. The key word is “qualified immunity” which is civil not criminal, any officer breaking the law is subject to the criminal code.

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 a constitutional amendment that withdraws more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund.

What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its election laws and primary system? Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?

To participate in a primary election the voter must be part of a major party.

Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding?

It’s been proven the merit-based system has been abused. Should each legislator be required to disclose which projects he or she funded? Yes, disclosure of the projects funded by legislators is transparency.

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 steps should the state take to diversify its economy and revenue base?

I would support simplified business regulations in order to allow other entrepreneurs to do business in our state and let’s continue to support our creative artistic communities.

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?

It should be evaluated on a case by case basis for obvious water supply realities. No.

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

End catch and release.

Do you support or oppose the public’s right to inspect footage taken by cameras worn by law enforcement officers? Under what circumstances, if any, should police video be withheld from the public?

Yes, I support the right to the Inspection of Public Records (IPRA) as outlined in the New Mexico Sunshine Laws. Video that invades personal privacy should be limited.

Members of New Mexico’s business community contend some state laws and regulations need changing so the state can better compete with Texas and Arizona when it comes to attracting companies. What steps do you believe should be taken to improve New Mexico’s economic competitiveness?

Open New Mexico, reduce restrictive regulation and burdens on business so that start up capital can be lower.

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?


2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?


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?

I have never been charged or convicted of a DWI or a felony in New Mexico or any other state.