Q&A: House District 21 Candidate Paul Ryan McKenney

  • NAME: Paul Ryan McKenney
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Libertarian
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Mexico
  • EDUCATION: Bachelor’s in business from Eastern New Mexico University

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?

Dramatically cut spending.

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?

End the state Public Education Department and institute universal fully-funded vouchers.

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

I will support any legislation that decreases the GRT (gross receipts tax).

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

I support legalizing it and only applying whatever the current GRT is to it. No sin tax.

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 governor should have a limited time that they can exercise emergency powers before the Legislature has to vote on it.

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


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 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?

No, I do not support government involvement in 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?

If political parties primaries are paid for with tax dollars they should be open to all voters regardless of party affiliation.

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?

Government should be completely transparent and constituents should know what projects their legislators supported.

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 should spend less and tax less. Government needs to stop interfering with the economy and allow it to grow.

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 don’t know enough about fracking to make an informed decision on that at the current time. I oppose the government forcing more expensive energy on poor people.

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

They should strike at the root of the problem and end the war on drugs. Give people that are engaged in that commerce a legal way to settle their disputes.

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?

All law enforcement should wear cameras and the public should have complete access to all footage taken in real time (or as close as possible) without exception.

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?

A huge step in the right direction is to improve the education of New Mexico’s children by giving them educational opportunity with universal fully-funded school vouchers.

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?


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


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.

In 2009 I was accused of assault in Maryland. Those charges have been expunged.