Q&A: House District 13 Candidate Patricia Roybal Caballero

  • NAME: Patricia Roybal Caballero
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Retired community and economic planner and developer. Current University of New Mexico adjunct professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies Department and Community and Regional Planning Department, School of Architecture and Planning
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Incumbent, elected 2012. 45 years community, economic, housing, business planner and developer; community and labor organizer; non-profit CEO/CFO/executive director
  • EDUCATION: B.A. sociology and political science, M.A. community and regional planning, M.A. public administration, Ph.D. in progress, Chicana and Chicano studies
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: patricia4nm.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?

First, we need to know what federal relief will be coming and plan accordingly. My priorities are to protect the advances that we’ve made in education and to support the local businesses and workers that have been dramatically affected. This crisis underscores the importance of continuing efforts to diversify revenue.

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?

Public education must be adequately funded to mitigate long-standing disparities. We must deliver cultural and language relevant education from early childhood to higher education. We need to hold public and higher education accountable with more measurable outcomes and the systems in place to accommodate expedient changes as needed.

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

It must be reviewed, evaluated and updated again. Our review process should be aligned with determinants planned in our economic development strategies as well as in our overall tax and revenue planning strategies.

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

I support legalizing recreational marijuana use and support taxing its sales as part of our work to diversify our revenue streams and create jobs.

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?

We have seen how important the governor’s emergency powers have been in effectively managing this pandemic and I fully support her response. Considering the process moving forward, I believe we should look at adding greater oversight while powers are enacted.

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

I support it. The personal discussion of abortion belongs solely with the woman, her family, her medical providers, and her faith, but most certainly not in government.

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 strongly support reform in this area to ensure that individuals are held responsible if they violate the rights of a New Mexican. I look forward to the continued discussion about how best to achieve this in our state’s legal system.

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, we must comply with the Yazzie/Martinez court order. A comprehensive education begins with early childhood and incorporates the support services needed to lift children out of cycles of poverty into cycles of opportunity. Investing in our youth is a direct investment in the future success of our state.

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 oppose it. I believe primary elections are in place to select the nominee for their party. Voters of that party should be the ones deciding who to put forward in a general election by electing candidates that best represent their values and principles.

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 disclosure rules. Public servants need to be transparent and accountable with these infrastructure allocations. Regarding the evaluation process, some measures already exist. We must ensure that infrastructure investments are made fairly, but we should be cautious to not add unnecessary layers of bureaucracy that would disadvantage some communities.

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 pursue investments in a renewable energy portfolio, growing our high-tech sector, supporting research and development initiatives, and further developing our health and wellness, hemp, manufacturing, and value added agriculture industries. I would also pursue more proactive trade relations with existing and new partners, starting with agricultural products.

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?

The pandemic is again showing the perils of our dependence on extraction industries for our budget. I support the fastest feasible transition to a more stable revenue picture and clean energy future. I was a proud sponsor of the Energy Transition Act and continue to advocate for community solar programs.

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

We have to address crime from every direction and make sure our sentencing laws are appropriate. We must address root causes like poverty and behavioral health issues, support proven intervention programs, support and adequately equip first responders, and support community policing training to build cooperation between communities and police forces.

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. Information and transparency are key in the pursuit of justice and public trust. Circumstances where video should be withheld are those that identify a minor or to protect the privacy of a victim according to their wishes.

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?

Laws of concern to the business community should be heard and reviewed by the legislature. The same is true for workers and environmental organizations. I believe we should pursue the steps I discuss above to expand industry and renew our focus on technical job training programs.

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

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