Q&A: House District 15 Candidate Ali Ennenga

  • NAME: Ali Ennenga
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Notary signing agent, self-employed
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Paralegal, 18 years; educator, 7 years
  • EDUCATION: B.S. criminal justice administration, M.A. education

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?

Legislators should repeal the Energy Transition Act, allowing oil and gas to increase production to restore economic growth in that industry. The ETA will significantly raise taxes, in addition to destroying oil and gas revenue. New Mexicans cannot afford tax increases with the economic turmoil that will follow COVID-19.

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?

It’s not that more should be done, it’s what should be done differently. The PED needs to be audited, as well as school boards. Steps should be taken to ensure that money follows the student, teachers are paid on merit, and monies going to education are transparent and distributed properly.

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

GRT needs to be analyzed and reformed. It is bad for economic growth, self-entrepreneurs, and the service industries. This is a tax that increases the income tax for entrepreneurs, is not passed on to the buyer, violates the principle of horizontal equity, and is tax pyramiding at its worst.

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

Can we trust the current state government to establish a program that will benefit the state without harm to the work force or the citizens? We do not need to put a Band-Aid on a wound that needs triage. Fix the economy before we implement another bad decision.

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?

The emergency powers currently enacted are too broad and over-burdensome for our citizens. Checks and balances, are clearly needed to ensure that any governor does not have limitless power in a pandemic. The people elected legislators to approve government spending, and the governor should not have a blank check.

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

The current Legislature is not abiding by the law as it is. How can we trust the current Legislature to abide by the new laws they enact, if they are disobeying the laws on record? So, in effect – this law has been disregarded for years without the proper legislative process.

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 protects officials from being personally liable for constitutional violations. If an officer or public official is found by the court to have violated clearly established law, then they should be denied qualified immunity and the victim should be allowed to sue the officer or public official personally.

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 do not support the withdrawal of money from the Permanent Fund for early childhood programs. The current Legislature is throwing good money after bad. We need to first raise New Mexico’s K-12 programs from 50th in the Nation. We can then talk about early 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?

This election cycle is proving to have many voter and voter fraud issues that are difficult to overcome with only my views or ideas. I believe that constituents of all parties should have a voice in deciding fair and balanced election laws. I welcome constituents’ thoughts and ideas for a solution.

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?

Capital outlay is taxpayer money and should be monitored and spent within a set deadline. Unspent capital outlay funds should not ever be earmarked for other “pet projects.” The system needs transparency so that taxpayers can easily see where their taxes are being spent.

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?

The Legislature would need to reform the GRT, provide minimal subsidies as incentives to industries that provide a solid revenue, reduce onerous regulations, and limit the influence of dark money organizations. We need to further prepare and build a viable workforce to create a business-friendly 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?

More regulations on any industry can prevent the productivity of our state. There is little evidence that fracking is dangerous to the environment and, alternatively that green energy is completely safe. I am in favor of any industry that improves the economic structure of the state.

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

The answer is in addressing mental health first, then addressing homelessness, the drug crisis, human trafficking, and cleaning up the criminal code. The current crime bills on record need to be analyzed and reformed to improve the criminal code, not make it more burdensome on law abiding citizens.

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 believe total transparency is key to keeping our state, local, and county governments accountable. Therefore, the public has the right to inspect all footage, undoctored and unfettered, through the proper procedure and law. However, privacy protections must be respected to protect victims of crime in ongoing investigations.

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?

We are a sinking island and the five states around us are in the top 10 for starting a business. Our focus should be on creating an economic engine which will have a beneficial corporate tax structure, a positive regulatory climate, embrace innovation, and provide a vibrant work force.

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?

Yes, I was a subject to a personal tax lien back in the 90s. It was a tax lien related to my former spouse and was paid immediately.

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

Yes, in 1990; it was related to my former spouse.

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. My profession requires a clean background.

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