Q&A: House District 12 Candidate Brittney Barreras

  • NAME: Brittney Barreras
  • POLITICAL PARTY: DTS (running in HD12)
  • OCCUPATION: Sales
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: South Valley
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I was raised on Corfield Place, in the heart of District 12. My family was poor, just like our neighbors. I understand what the South Valley needs because my life is just like many of yours. We’re working hard to make ends meet each month and we’re frustrated by the lack of change on our street, in our neighborhood, in the South Valley, and in our state.
  • EDUCATION: Graduate, Valley High School

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?

In the long-term, we need to diversify our economy to avoid the boom-and-bust cycle of the oil and gas industry. In the near-term, I support repealing the tax cut provided to the wealthiest New Mexicans, so they return to paying their fair share of income taxes.

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?

Programs like PreK and K-5 Plus create better outcomes for children. Ninety percent of brain development happens by the time you are five years old. If we are to move our state up in the rankings, we have to start when children are young by funding early childhood programs.

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

We need to remove all of the loopholes in our gross receipts tax code but also ensure that we do not tax food and medicine.

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

I strongly support legalizing cannabis. Cannabis can provide thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to our economy. So many South Valley residents can use their entrepreneurial skills to gain footing in this industry as well.

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 Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has exhibited tremendous leadership, under the current emergency powers granted to her. I don’t think those powers need to be changed. What needs to be changed is that more New Mexicans follow the science–wear a mask, keep socially distant, and avoid large gatherings.

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

I strongly support repealing this outdated law. Women should make decisions about their healthcare.

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 is not a yes or no question. Right now, I believe the qualified immunity laws are too extreme. When police officers, or any other governmental employee, acts egregiously, they should be able to be held accountable.

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 strongly support withdrawing an additional 1% from the Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education.

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, like a growing number of New Mexicans, am an independent voter, although my values align with the Democratic Party. In order to support an open primary, I would need assurance that the opposing party couldn’t game the system to elect their preferred candidate in the opposing party’s primary election.

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 strongly support full transparency of funded capital outlay projects. If there were full transparency, legislators would choose to fund projects that are most deserving of funding. It would be difficult to create a statewide, merit-based system because legislators understand their district better than those who don’t live there.

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?

We need to support and advance new revenue-generating industries such as clean energy, cannabis, local food production, eco-tourism, and other industries that take advantage of New Mexico’s strengths and don’t pollute the environment.

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?

Oil and gas is a three-legged stool based on state revenue, jobs, and environmental protection. All three legs have to be addressed at the same time. The Energy Transition Act already created nation-leading clean energy targets. I hope our state beats those targets so we are 100% clean soon.

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

The best thing we can do to address crime is to create more slots for treatment and mental health.

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 strongly support the public’s right to inspect camera footage. Police video should be withheld only to protect the victim or witnesses.

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?

Competitiveness is a two-way street. Our state offers amenities that are so attractive–our culture and our environment, to name two. But corporations must also pay their fair share–namely, in corporate tax rates and oil and gas royalty fees.

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.

When I was in my young 20s, I was arrested for failing to appear at a traffic arraignment and for disorderly conduct. I was young and immature and these incidents showed poor judgment on my part. I apologized and learned immensely from them.

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