Q&A: House District 10 Candidate G. Andrés Romero
- NAME: G. Andrés Romero
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Teacher, Atrisco Heritage Academy High School
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Member New Mexico House of Representatives, District 10 (2015-present); vice-chair, House Education Committee (2017-2018); chair, House Education Committee (2019-present)
- EDUCATION: B.A. history and philosophy, University of New Mexico (2010); M.A. history, University of New Mexico (2015)
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: AndresRomeroForNM.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?
The Legislature cannot cut its way to solvency, the effects on New Mexicans would be dire. Instead, we should continue to invest in our tourism industry, invest in rural broadband and expand New Mexico’s career and technical training for students.
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?
As a primary sponsor of House Bill 5 (2019), we made a large initial step toward improving education in the state. We must continue to recruit new educators, provide ample career development for current educators and increase resource availability for all students across the state.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
The state will have to end the numerous exemptions in the GRT and focus on making the income tax code more progressive to place less of the tax burden on working families.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I support the legalization of recreational cannabis. In doing so, the state must also invest revenue generated from the sale to go toward various social and health programs for communities and families.
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?
I believe this pandemic has demonstrated the importance of the emergency powers currently in place. Because of these powers, the governor has been able to make New Mexico a leader in the fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
This outdated law should be repealed. It is not for the state to decide an issue that should remain between a woman and their doctor.
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?
I support ending the defense of qualified immunity. Everyone no matter their position or status should be subject to the same laws that govern everyone else.
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?
Yes, while funding has been increased, the state is still unable to provide these services to all families, in all parts of the state. In order to do so we must make this small 1% increase from the LGPF. Every family and child deserves these fundamental services.
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?
We must open primaries to all voters and enfranchise many who have been left out of a crucial part of our electoral process.
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?
I believe the meriting of particular district projects should remain with individual legislators who respond to the needs of their communities. I do definitely agree that all capital outlay appropriations made by legislators should be made public.
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?
Our transition away from oil and natural gas revenue must be supplemented with a transition into renewable resources. Again, we can expand our career technical education for students to train them with the skills they would need to help make this transition.
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?
I would support a moratorium on fracking in New Mexico. It is important the state makes this a just transition for fossil fuel workers. Climate change is a very real concern with immediate adverse effects that we must continue to fully address.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
It’s imperative we begin investing in our communities. By establishing partnerships between community resources, our schools, our business community and the courts we can provide relief for crime victims and end the cycles of crime within the state by providing new opportunities for victims and offenders alike.
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?
I fully support the public’s ability to inspect lapel camera footage. Nonetheless, there must be protections in place for victims to shield them from potential re-victimization.
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?
New Mexico must continue to bolster our career technical training for students. By partnering students with businesses we can have a ready workforce with the skills needed to grow New Mexico businesses.
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? If so, explain.