Q&A: House District 23 Candidate Ellis McMath

  • NAME: Ellis McMath
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
  • OCCUPATION: Concealed carry firearms instructor
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Albuquerque reserve police officer, Navy veteran, New Mexico State University commercial pilot, FAA air traffic controller, founder and director of a non-profit organization
  • EDUCATION: Eastern New Mexico University, Seven Bar Flight School, Navy Whidbey Island Flight School, FAA Air Traffic Controller Academy, Albuquerque Bible College, Albuquerque Police Academy, Rio Grande High School
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: EllisMcMath.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?

Over the past two years, the Legislature increased state spending by an incredible 20%. Now Republicans and Democrats need to work together to reduce government spending without squandering our surplus. I will put New Mexico’s prosperity and its taxpayers first with responsible budgeting.

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?

Educational Freedom = Wiser Kids. Money should follow our children not institutions. Vouchers should be issued to parents allowing them to choose public, charter, private or home school options. Additionally, testing requirements should be reformed.

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

Stop the tax on Social Security and respect our elderly. High gross receipt taxes unfairly burden low income families. Get rid of tax exemptions for groups that receive special treatment, thereby lowering taxes for all, allowing us more personal freedom.

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

I currently oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use. I welcome data on any increased health cost, effects on work productivity, criminal activity, and mental health. If legalized, it should be taxed at the same level as alcohol.

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

Our state has suffered more from lost income, suicides, overdoses, alcoholism, family abuse and depression than the virus. Governor mandates closing restaurants, business, tourism and houses of worship should be limited to no more than 45 days without legislative approval.

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

I oppose repealing the current NM law 40A-5-3(1969) that protects life. Human life should be valued.

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?

As a retired APD Reserve Police Officer I understand the work they do. It is difficult. Correct and quick decisions are required of them. The officers I have worked with are outstanding individuals. Recruitment of good people is necessary for our safety. I oppose abolishing their protections.

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?

The permanent fund was established in 1912 the same year we became a state. Its main purpose was to provide long term funding for schools from oil and gas revenues. The permanent fund should be used as the founders intended. I oppose tapping the 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?

Currently undecided. I am willing to listen to voters’ concerns, and I welcome further research on the pros and cons of this issue.

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?

In the interest of open government, taxpayers should know where their money is spent. Legislators should disclose their funded projects. However, I oppose a merit-based evaluation system. Each legislator should be allowed discretion in identifying and funding capital outlay for their districts.

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?

I would look to our neighboring states. I would research the laws, regulations, and tax codes in Texas and Arizona that seem to foster a more business friendly atmosphere. I would promote legislation that would ensure New Mexico is a business-friendly 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 oppose a moratorium on fracking.

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

The “catch-and-release” system needs reform. Judges are limited in their ability to incarcerate due to laws that benefit law attorneys. Drug and alcohol addiction play a major role in crime. For those who have committed a crime, I would support mandatory recovery programs that have proven successful in other states.

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?

As a retired APD Reserve Police Officer I know that often the video can be misleading resulting in inaccurate judgments. Often the video will contain information, if released to the public, will compromise the solving of a crime. However, for the most part, they should be available to the public.

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?

Increased regulations, massive paperwork, government oversight, increased taxes and unrealistic minimum wage increases burden New Mexico businesses. Over regulation and increased taxes lead to cost being passed on to the consumers. It is my opinion that we should not increase taxes or burdens on small business during this time of recovery.

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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