Q&A: House District 23 Candidate Daymon Ely

  • NAME: Daymon Ely
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Attorney
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: House representative since 2017; also served on the Sandoval County Commission and as its chair
  • EDUCATION: B.A. at Arizona State University; J.D. at Arizona State University
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: daymonfornmhd23.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?

It is critical that we diversify our economy as quickly as possible while receiving relief from the federal government. Our workers and small businesses must have the resources they need to stay afloat and generate revenue. However, we should expect significant cuts.

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?

I agree with the court’s decision. I am in favor of investing additional interest/revenue from the Land Grant Permanent Fund while not touching the principal.

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

I support real, substantial changes to the tax code. But this will take time in order to minimize negative impact on the budget. In the meantime, we have to get rid of certain exemptions which will then broaden the base and reduce taxes for everyone.

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

I support legalizing marijuana which will bring desperately needed revenue into the state while at the same time more effectively using our taxpayer dollars to address law enforcement concerns (particularly driving while impaired) and resources to educate the public on the dangers of marijuana.

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. The governor should have the power to mandate certain orders in the time of emergencies, but the legislature needs to be involved in oversight and to make sure we properly exercise our authority over appropriations.

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

I support repealing this outdated law. New Mexicans have been clear in their respect for a woman’s personal decision and keeping that decision between a woman and her doctor, without government interference.

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 support eliminating this defense, however, the public should know that there is currently no defense of qualified immunity in state courts. It only applies in federal courts which we have no ability to control.

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 support this but there must be a plan to handle this money effectively. Studies have shown that early childhood education increases non-cognitive skills (perseverance, the ability to work with others, long-term benefits and more) which can improve the lives of these citizens for generations.

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 have sponsored (and will continue to sponsor) an open primary system that allows non-major party voters to vote in a primary without re-registering. Voters who are not registered to a major party still pay taxes to fund these elections and should be included in them.

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?

Yes and yes. Efficient use of tax dollars requires that we prioritize spending without regard to politics. Transparency in government is critical to the process and the public has a right to know where their money is going.

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 are several immediate steps we can take to build that foundation including internet for all New Mexicans, supporting small businesses by promoting the recently enacted Small Business Recovery Act, making stronger investments in alternative energy and encouraging businesses to move to New Mexico.

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 do not support a moratorium, but fracking should not happen along watersheds or in populated areas. We must encourage solar and wind investments. We should be the leader in both industries. I will push for policies which help both the production of these alternative energies and their uses.

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

I believe in a bipartisan approach to this issue. We should invest in community policing, better data programs, more thoughtful incarceration programs, and a system where repeat offenders are off the streets while rehabilitating those who we can. This is truly an area where Democrats and Republicans are coming together.

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 do support it in certain circumstances. Any restrictions on releasing the videos should be carefully watched and limited in both time and scope.

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?

I want to work with the business community to hear their thoughts – but we can immediately invest in infrastructure, rural broadband and bring in new supply chains to the state. I was proud to sponsor the Small Business Recovery Act, something that I hope small businesses take advantage of.

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.


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