Q&A: House District 15 Candidate Dayan ‘Day’ Hochman-Vigil

  • NAME: Dayan “Day” Hochman-Vigil
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Attorney
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Incumbent New Mexico House District 15 representative
  • EDUCATION: B.A. Italian studies/French language (Colorado College); J.D. (University of New Mexico School of Law); LLM aviation and space law (McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law).
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.anewdayfornm.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?

In response to the pandemic and drop in oil demand, the Legislature should mandate appropriate sanding of agency budgets and explore responsible opportunities to utilize state investment funds for economic development. This will encourage revenue source diversification, while also maintaining crucial investments already made in education, public safety and health care.

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?

In addition to protecting crucial investments in education recently made, legislators must continue to work with community members and local school districts to prioritize education funding in all high-risk categories identified in the lawsuit, as well as leverage federal CARES Act funding specifically allocated to shore up education budgets.

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

New Mexico’s gross receipts tax code must be simplified and better structured through the elimination of several credits, deductions, and exemptions that do not achieve their intended purpose as originally passed. In simplifying the GRT, we will reduce its rate across the board while stabilizing and broadening our tax base.

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

Many states have already recognized the economic opportunities recreational cannabis affords. In an effort to further diversify revenue sources and stay ahead of the curve, we must proactively craft our own recreational cannabis policy so as to adequately regulate and control the industry while avoiding the pitfalls of the past.

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?

In general, the pandemic has been an unprecedented stress test of the Public Health Emergency Response Act, exposing strengths and weaknesses. In order to better enable the state and the executive to respond to future crises, the Legislature should come together to address weaknesses in a prudent and bipartisan manner.

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

As an attorney I swore to uphold and defend the Constitution. Abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court, thus rendering the 1969 abortion ban unconstitutional. Therefore, I have a duty to support the repeal of the 1969 ban, ensuring this decision remains between a woman and her health care provider.

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?

In the special legislative session, the legislature created the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission to specifically study the viability and potential ramifications of abolishing the qualified immunity defense. I have every faith in the professionalism and expertise of that committee and will take their recommendations seriously – whatever they may be.

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?

In the past legislative session, an early childhood education trust fund was created using State Investment Council funding. Unfortunately, the money directed to that fund was drastically reduced following the drop in state revenue due to the pandemic, necessitating alternative sources for those funds, such as the Land Grant Permanent Fund.

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?

As more voters reject the two-party system, it is important we preserve the democratic process for everyone. Alternative to open primaries, I support ranked-choice voting as a better way to ensure our elected officials reflect the values and preferences of all people, not just those of a particular 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?

A merit-based evaluation for capital outlay projects would be extremely helpful, however, it would warrant a time commitment beyond the 30 and/or 60-day session periods legislators are required to serve, warranting further reconsideration of the state legislative process as a whole. Additional transparency in government is always a good idea.

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?

New Mexico must leverage its ample investment funds as a top priority to spur economic development as a means to diversify our revenue sources and stabilize our budget. We must also overhaul our taxation system beginning with gross receipts tax as a means to stabilize our revenue sources.

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?

We must protect and leverage state revenue as to ensure core functions are preserved and not further impacted by the coronavirus. As we advance as a renewable energy leader, the declining price of renewables and economies of scale will ensure that the use of green energy will continue to expand.

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

In addition to supporting laws that hold criminals accountable, the Legislature must continue its criminal justice reform efforts by identifying and targeting causal factors of the recidivism crime cycle, such as unnecessary and oppressive court bureaucracy, substance abuse disorders, mental and behavioral health issues, systemic poverty and generational trauma.

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 public review of lapel footage through the process prescribed in the Inspection of Public Records Act, unless it is subject to express exemptions codified in law. Such footage should not be released if it were to violate the constitutional rights of any party, especially those pertaining to privacy.

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 must adapt the New Mexican economy to the “new normal” by identifying and leveraging emerging market and industry opportunities while also working to remove unnecessary and arbitrary regulatory barriers that prevent our business stakeholders from responding to new market needs.

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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