Q&A: House District 12 Candidate Art De La Cruz
- NAME: Art De La Cruz
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Small business owner and PERA retiree
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 46 years of government experience as an employee, official, and as an elected official (county commissioner).
- EDUCATION: Master of Management with an emphasis in human relations and organizational behavior, University of Phoenix; Bachelor of University Studies, University of New Mexico
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook: Art De La Cruz for State Representative
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?
Create a balanced budget by a combination of cutting expenditures to nonessential services, and rearrange expenditures. Long term, plan for and aggressively recruit new out-of-state businesses to New Mexico, thereby bringing in new revenue and creating jobs.
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?
The governor, working with the legislature, can create an ad hoc group composed of state Department of Education leadership, parents, teachers, businesses, and the media to identify and implement national best practices. The work of creating a great education system must be done in the open and be inclusive.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
Reinitiate the tax on groceries to be used exclusively for feeding children during school and outside of school hours and who are considered at-risk for food insecurity.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I support the legalization of recreational marijuana use with the tax derived to primarily support our educational system.
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?
Under the current national and state crisis conditions, I believe the emergency powers currently granted are sufficient.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
I support repealing this law simply because it is moot in that the question of abortion is a federally settled issue.
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?
Qualified immunity, a court-created doctrine at the federal level, can’t be undone. We can create a state cause of action to improve accountability/transparency and holding officers/public officials accountable for violating civil rights. In crafting legislation, include law enforcement and others. Insurance should be available so police families don’t suffer.
In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and childcare 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 support using a greater portion of the interest earnings from this fund for childhood programs.
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?
I support opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party.
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 support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends some of its capital outlay funding; however, I also believe legislators know their district’s needs, and working with their local governments, can effectively decide on some local projects. Legislators should be required to disclose the projects she or he funded.
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?
Incentivize, to a greater extent, wind and solar projects and their use. Aggressively recruit new out-of-state businesses to New Mexico, thereby bringing in new revenue and creating jobs.
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 support a moratorium on fracking in environmentally sensitive and cultural areas. Greater incentivize wind and solar projects and their use. The state should impose additional renewable energy mandates. State, county and local governments should lead the way via mandate moving aggressively toward renewable energy use in all government-owned buildings.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
The Legislature should create/foster more employment opportunities that provide a living wage for our residents. Expand the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship to all higher education programs. Identify funding for the creation of annual summer youth employment programs. I do not believe that policing and incarceration alone will reduce crime.
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 support the public’s right to inspect footage taken by cameras worn by law enforcement officers.
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?
A complete assessment should be undertaken by the state comparing our taxes/inducements against other states’ to determine our possible shortcomings. New Mexico’s Facebook, was front-loaded with inducements, and is the only significant data center in New Mexico because, unlike surrounding states, we presently charge gross receipts tax on data center equipment.
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.