Q&A: House District 27 Candidate Robert S. Godshall
- NAME: Robert S. Godshall
- POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
- OCCUPATION: Retired from the Department of Homeland Security
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: 28 years federal law enforcement, small business owner, political activism in the community.
- EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science from UNM in 1979.
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.GodshallForDistrict27.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?
Right now, the state is looking at a $2 billion to $3 billion shortfall. About the only chance this state has to balance the budget is to repeal all the increased spending from the last two years and to get the state’s economy going again. Let’s attract business and not push it away with regulation and high taxes.
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?
State spending on education puts us in the middle of the pack of states but the education results we get as parents and students is at the bottom. The Legislature needs to hold the education system accountable so that all of our students receive a quality education.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
I don’t like the gross receipts tax. It’s too high, it is not applied equitably, it results in tax pyramiding, it punishes small business, and it discourages outside business from moving here. We need to broaden the tax base, make it more equitable, and maybe try a sales tax approach.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I oppose legalizing marijuana. Just because marijuana sales might generate tax revenue does not necessarily make it a good thing. Denver has a huge problem with the cartels establishing illegal grow houses there, a problem no one is talking about. I don’t think people are going to want that in their neighborhoods.
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 has taken a statewide approach implementing the same restrictions with all counties regardless of the virus impact. On the other hand, she has arbitrarily and capriciously implemented restrictions on business. This is not fair and her powers need to be limited.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
I oppose repealing the 1969 law regarding abortion. Let’s try to keep in mind that the future of our state lies in our children and it is time to start acting responsibly in our lives, beginning with the act of creating children.
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 28-year veteran of federal law enforcement, I know that officers can be suddenly placed in dangerous situations that require judgment and immediate action. They do not need to be encumbered by thoughts of potential litigation. Qualified immunity does not apply to violations of law or civil rights.
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?
These early childhood programs are not proven to be a good thing for families or society. These programs give the state the power to conduct evaluation testing of children as young as 4 and have the potential to determine their education future. I do not favor a constitutional amendment.
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?
It is clearly the purview of a political party’s members to select their candidates to run for office, so I do not support opening the state’s primary election system. If a person wants to participate in a party’s selection process, they should join a 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?
It seems the current system allows for spending that can both benefit the state and can also be seen as corrupt, so I favor as much transparency in this process as possible. It’s unfortunate, but the allocation of resources is a political process and no system is likely to be perfect.
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 think we need to look at ways to make it easier to operate a business in New Mexico by reducing regulations, changing the tax structure, and explore Right to Work legislation. We need to take better advantage of the brain power contained in our research labs and we need use our natural resources.
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 on fracking, a valuable enterprise that provides us with inexpensive energy, thousands of jobs, and significant tax revenue. I oppose government interference like renewable energy mandates because I believe that significant improvements in technology will likely change our energy future significantly.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
We need to understand that the primary function of government is to protect the citizen. Justice needs to be swift and criminals need to be segregated from society. I support legislation that will provide the courts with better guidance on establishing appropriate conditions of release when an individual is arrested.
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?
Enforcing the laws and trying to maintain order is not pretty. Successfully prosecuting a case frequently relies on painting a complex picture and video of events only provides one perspective. I do not like the idea of possibly influencing the public based on a misleading perspective.
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?
Not only do we need to attract companies, but we need to keep our best and brightest. In education, let’s reward success and discourage failure; let’s help business be flexible by reducing regulations; let’s reform the tax code by lowering rates and expanding the tax base; and make the state safer.
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.