Q&A: House District 20 Candidate Michael E. Hendricks

  • NAME: Michael E. Hendricks
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Attorney, business owner
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Worked on policy, legal professional, business owner
  • EDUCATION: B.A., philosophy, University of New Mexico. JD, UNM School of Law. MBA, international business, Walden University
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: hendricks4nm.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?

What does any family or business on a budget do in a crisis? We should work to find excess expenditures and cut them. We should then work to diversify the economy through reducing crime, addressing homelessness, and cutting the regulations that are obstacles to new business recruitment and development.

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?

We must dig into the appropriations and see how that money is being used. We do not have a funding problem; we have an administration problem. We have to make sure that the funds are getting to the classrooms that need it.

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

Work to reduce the overall burden on each business/consumer. For every percent we charge in GRT, we reduce the spending power of the consumer. An 8%+ GRT reduces spending power by 8%+, which equals less spending, less money for business, and less jobs.

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

I favor allowing people to have the liberty to consume; however, there are three major obstacles. First, the federal government’s CSA preempts. Second, the legal consequences must be heightened for actions that harm others while under the influence. Third, we cannot pay for medical intervention due to abuse.

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?

Yes, our government is built to check power. We must have less unilateral power for the governor in declared, prolonged emergencies without legislative action. Also, we must clarify the law about fines for noncompliance. Lastly, we must rescind some of the powers under the emergency act.

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

No, I am not in favor of repeal. In fact, I believe that we should work more diligently to address concerns for women’s health, while also working to protect the unborn. I believe we can achieve both goals simultaneously.

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 am not in favor of stripping qualified immunity. I believe that we must have oversight and a mechanism for a vote of no confidence in leadership. There is and should be a mechanism to circumvent qualified immunity when the action is outside of the normal scope of work.

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?

Generally, I would oppose that action. We should address the administrative waste in education before taking money from future generations of New Mexicans. However, I am willing to listen to the argument as to why it is “necessary.”

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 am in favor of a semi-open primary in which a non-affiliated voter could choose a primary to vote in. However, we must have a better system with cleaner voter rolls to make sure each person is only voting in one primary, and that no ineligible voters are voting.

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 agree with the disclosure portion; however, I am not in favor of a strictly merit-based system. The system should be set up temporarily to distribute funds for capital outlay via a needs-based hybrid system with a sunset date to revert back to equal apportionment.

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?

There is no silver bullet. Long term, we should reduce crime and reform our tax code to truly diversify with non-government subsidized businesses. In the short term, if we can reduce or even eradicate taxation on retirement income, we could create an economic engine through retirees moving into the state.

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 would oppose a moratorium on fracking. The state has too many mandates at present in this arena. I am pro renewable energy as the technology advances to the point of being self-sustaining, but I am against a forced market position with government subsidies.

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

We need to address the current bail reform mechanism as it was implemented/interpreted by the Supreme Court. The idea of bail reform is good; however, we must make sure that the deterrence theory of crime prevention is not lost on the road of good intentions and equity.

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?

Generally, I am for the open access to video footage almost immediately. However, there may be limited circumstances when a witness needs to be protected and their image is on the footage. Very limited exceptions should be vetted by civilian oversight.

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?

Reduce crime — laws on release and criminal penalties need to be improved. Reform tax code — highest GRT and state taxes of any state in our region. Reduce red-tape regulations — right to work, multi-layered tax structure, reform occupational licensing. Improve education — need educated work force, better school performance for kids.

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?

I had a small tax lien from an education institution, cleared in 2009.

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, never.

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